Landing Duke transfer Chase Jeter of Las Vegas ‘a big win’ for Arizona Wildcats


L.E. Baskow

UNLV guard Uche Ofoegbu (2) fights to get off a shot under the basket with Duke forward/center Chase Jeter (2) and others defending during their game at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Wed, May 17, 2017 (12:18 p.m.)

While still filling out its roster for next season, Arizona pulled in some much-needed frontcourt help Tuesday for 2018-19 with the addition of Duke transfer Chase Jeter.

A five-star recruit out of Las Vegas in 2015, Jeter never caught traction in the Blue Devils' rotation and suffered from a disk injury last season as a sophomore.

But after getting a chance to further rehab and gain strength as a Wildcat redshirt next season, Jeter will have a chance to help a frontcourt that will lose Dusan Ristic, DeAndre Ayton, Keanu Pinder and Talbott Denny in 2018.

Already this spring, the Wildcats have lost two players who could have had eligibility in 2018-19, too: Freshman Lauri Markkanen and sophomore forward Chance Comanche, who have both declared for the NBA Draft.

While Jeter did not return a message from the Star on Tuesday, he said in a Duke news release in March that he wanted to transfer to a school closer to his Las Vegas home. He also considered UNLV, Oregon, Gonzaga, Cal and UCLA, among others.

"I have loved my time at Duke, getting a world-class education and competing alongside my brothers every day," Jeter said in the Duke statement. "After careful consideration, I decided it would be best for me to transfer to a school closer to home. I've made long-lasting relationships here and I want to thank my teammates and coaches for the support they've given me over the last two years."

While the 6-foot-10 Jeter played a significant role early last season in part because of teammates' injuries, he wound up averaging just 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds over 16 games played. As a freshman in 2015-16, Jeter averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds while playing just 7.9 minutes a game.

But Jeter is only 19, suggesting there is still room for him to reach his potential.

"He was caught in a logjam at Duke and lost confidence splitting time with several other posts," said analyst Josh Gershon, whose site ranked Jeter No. 15 in the class of 2015. "He didn't have the luxury of playing with a true point guard, which also hurt him. ... He'll be able to sit out for the season and regain his confidence, while getting stronger.

"For Arizona to be able to bring him in at a position that as of now lacks serious depth is a big win for Sean Miller."

While Jeter visited Arizona the weekend of May 5 along with Pitt transfer forward Cam Johnson -- who is also still considering the Wildcats -- Jeter also had a previous relationship with Miller. The UA coach recruited Jeter out of Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School and served as an assistant coach for the USA Basketball 2014 U18 team that included Jeter on its roster.

Miller was not available for comment and the UA did not issue a release about Jeter, likely because the school has not yet received signed scholarship papers that makes Jeter's addition official.

But Jeter posted to Instagram an edited photo of himself wearing a No. 4 Arizona road jersey.

"I'm heading to Tucson ... #BearDown," Jeter wrote.

Arizona brought in T.J. McConnell from Duquesne in 2012, Ryan Anderson from Boston College in 2014 and Dylan Smith from UNC Asheville in 2016.

As with Anderson, who suffered a shoulder injury in 2013, Jeter will also be able to use the redshirt year to fully rehab his injury.

By 2018-19, Jeter will have a chance to make an impact in a frontcourt that will lose Ristic and Ayton after next season. Ristic will be a senior and Ayton has said he will play only his freshman season for UA before turning pro.

Arizona now has one scholarship remaining for 2017-18 and two if wing Rawle Alkins stays in the NBA Draft pool.

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