Top international basketball prospect Kerr Kriisa has committed to the Arizona Wildcats, he told ESPN on Saturday.
“What stood out to me about Arizona was the coaching staff and my belief that this place is best for my development,” Kriisa told ESPN.
The Estonian-born Kriisa, 19, is considered the top European recruit committing to the college route. He possesses significant experience at the international level both against professionals and with his national team. He played on an amateur contract this season, mostly in the second division, but a rash of injuries forced Lithuanian team Zalgiris to promote him to their senior team, where he made his EuroLeague debut in October.
Kriisa was also one of the top players in the Lithuanian NKL this season, averaging 14.8 points and 6.0 assists in 25 minutes while shooting 39% from 3-point range and 84% from the free throw line.
Having made three appearances for the Estonian junior national teams at the FIBA U16 and U18 European Championships, he debuted with the senior national team in February as part of the FIBA European qualifying window, playing 18 minutes against Italy, a rarity for a teenager, and dishing out five assists.
“Year after year, I started to follow college basketball more closely and realized I could be effective there also,” Kriisa told ESPN. “It’s a completely different style of basketball, but I believe it can be good for me to challenge myself.”
Kriisa joins an Arizona team that lost seven of its top eight players and 85% of its scoring from last season, making him a key commitment in the team’s rebuilding efforts.
“It’s better to go without expectations,” Kriisa told ESPN. “I go there and start from zero and have to start proving once again in every practice that I deserve to be there with this great group of players.”
Kriisa was named MVP of the Adidas Next Generational Tournament in Kaunas in 2019, which earned him a late invite to the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. He proved to be one of the top prospects in attendance, particularly impressing with the defense he played against projected lottery pick Killian Hayes.