Serbian 7-footer Dusan Ristic formally announced he will play for the Arizona Wildcats today, before his game for Sunrise Christian Academy this afternoon.
The move was widely expected since Ristic had been partially persuaded to leave Serbia by the Wildcats, according to Sunrise coach Kyle Lindsted. Ristic then arrived this season to play at Sunrise and earn a high school degree.
Lindsted said UA associate head coach Joe Pasternack had established an early relationship with Ristic, who eventually took to the idea of following a U.S. path toward the NBA instead of signing a long-term pro deal at home.
Ristic then took in the Wildcats' Pac-12-clinching win over Stanford last weekend. Lindsted said before the visit that Ristic had been talking with Arizona "pretty exclusively" and would decide afterward if he would play for the Wildcats or open his recruitment to other schools.
“I don’t know all the details but I know (Arizona) had been recruiting him even when he was over there,” Lindsted said. “They kind of convinced him that he should come to the States instead of staying there.”
Ristic is 7-feet and about 240 pounds, Lindsted said, with good hands and feet.
“He’s going to have to work on becoming more physical, stronger and more athletic but he’s got a great feel and touch for the ball,” Lindsted said. “He’s got some things to work on but he’s got a lot of skills.
“He can play away from the basket but he’s actually real skilled on the block and offensively he’s really good. He’s just got to get more explosive, but that’s me being real picky.”
Ristic was projected as a first round NBA pick in 2015 according to Draft Express before he was dropped last week because, Draft Express president Jonathan Givony said, Ristic is likely to spend more than one year in college.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” Givony said. “He’s only 18 years old.”