Arizona big man Ballo entering transfer portal

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Arizona star center Oumar Ballo entered the transfer portal Monday, becoming arguably the most sought-after big man in the portal.

Ballo released a statement via social media announcing his decision.

“I would like to thank my coaches, teammates, friends and family for their ongoing support to make me the best player and person I can be,” Ballo wrote. “I especially would like to thank coach Lloyd for the impact he has had on my life — Arizona is in great hands.

“With that being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal as a graduate student for my final year of eligibility.”

A 7-foot center from Mali, Ballo has been one of the most dominant big men in the country over the past two seasons. He began his career at Gonzaga, then followed Tommy Lloyd from Spokane to Arizona when Lloyd became the head coach of the Wildcats.

In 2022-23, Ballo had a breakout campaign, averaging 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, shooting nearly 65% from the field. This past season, he was a double-double machine, averaging 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds, shooting nearly 66% from the floor.

Ballo tallied 20 double-doubles, including a stretch of nine consecutive games. His Arizona career ended with a 15-point, 15-rebound performance in the Wildcats’ Sweet 16 loss to Clemson.

Ballo earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in each of the past two seasons.

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