Terry Armstrong

Terry Armstrong’s decision to turn pro leaves the UA with only two wing players 6-5 or taller.

Terry Armstrong, a former Arizona Wildcats signee for the 2019 recruiting class, is expected to play professionally overseas in Australia's National Basketball League, per draft analyst Jonathan Givony on ESPN's The Jump. Armstrong will sign with the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the 2019-20 season. 

"The NBL is one of the most competitive leagues in the world," Armstrong told ESPN. "Australia has a rabid fan base and a proven track record of putting players in the NBA. In addition, there is a strong focus on development and a season which consists of 32 games which lends itself to more developmental rigor. I'll have a chance to train with some of the best professional coaches and trainers in the world, so that is a very attractive situation for me."

Originally from Michigan, the former 6-foot-6-inch four-star prospect spent last season at Scottsdale Bella Vista Prep and signed with the Wildcats for next season. In June, the soon-to-be UA freshman decided to play professionally, although it was unclear if Armstrong would play overseas or make a G League roster before the 2020 NBA Draft. 

“He just decided that he’d rather go pro over going to school,” Armstrong's guardian Tim Jones told the Star via text message in June. 

With Armstrong now a part of Australia's NBL, he is the third potential first-round pick to play in the league. In May, five-star recruit R.J. Hampton announced on ESPN that he would forego college and instead play for the New Zealand Breakers. LaMelo Ball will play for the Illawarra Hawks. Armstrong, Ball and Hampton are the latest to join the NBL's Next Stars program, which could be another NBA pipeline for highly-ranked high school prospects. 

The NBL has nine teams and South East Melbourne is an expansion franchise for the 2019-20 season. The NBL season stretches between October and March. 

"We're very excited to have Terry Armstrong coming to join our newest team, the South East Melbourne Phoenix," NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger told ESPN. "I think he will be a great fit, complementing their roster nicely both in terms of skill set and culture. His physicality and his basketball IQ will stand him in good stead in a competition like the NBL."

Contact sports content producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports

Sports producer

Justin Spears is an award-winning sports journalist and Tucson native. He can be reached at jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports.