With the start of practices being less than 24 hours away, college basketball coaches would be best served if they know who will be available for the first official practices of the new season. That wasn’t the case for Arizona head coach Sean Miller, who had yet to hear from the NCAA regarding the status of forward Zach Peters.
Peters began his collegiate career at Kansas but wasn’t in Lawrence for long, as he decided last November that he wanted to transfer. In the immediate aftermath of that decision Peters signed a release that stated he would not transfer for medical reasons. According to a story written by Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star, it turns out that said agreement resulted in Peters’ case taking longer than expected. Thursday evening Arizona announced that the NCAA has ruled that Peters is eligible to play immediately, adding even more depth to a team that didn’t lack for front court options.
“Today’s news from the NCAA is very exciting for Zach and his family, as well as our basketball program,” Miller said in the release. “There was a lot of effort and cooperation that went into this waiver process. We’d like to thank the NCAA, the University of Kansas and many members of the Arizona Athletics family for their tireless efforts to make this a reality.
“To this point, Zach has participated with us and we’re still in the process of him returning to full competition and contact,” Miller added. “Zach has made tremendous progress in his time at Arizona, and we’re optimistic that with continued improvement, that time will come in the near future.”
Concussions have been an issue for Peters, as according to the Daily Star he’d suffered five in a two-year period, and that led to Kansas having him sign the aforementioned waiver. With the NCAA deeming him eligible to compete, the next question to be answered is when Peters will be cleared to take part in full contact drills.
The Wildcats, who lost two starters (Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill) from last season’s Sweet 16 team, return sophomores Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski and add McDonald’s All-Americans Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to the front court rotation. They’ll also have the services of 6-foot-10 redshirt junior Matt Korcheck, who redshirted last season.
Arizona, the favorites to win the Pac-12 in the eyes of many, doesn’t lack for options in the paint and that should ultimately help Peters as he continues to work towards a return to full contact.