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Arizona’s Nico Mannion to declare for 2020 NBA Draft


LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 29: Arizona Wildcats guard Nico Mannion (1) drives to the basket during the game between the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins on February 29, 2020, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA.(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Following Arizona’s regular season-ending loss to Washington, Wildcats head coach Sean Miller confirmed freshman point guard Nico Mannion will declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

Arizona is expected to return to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence. That will give Mannion a handful more games to improve his draft stock.

Mannion has played in and started 30 of Arizona’s 31 games this season. He’s averaged 14.1 points and 5.4 assists per game. Mannion is currently ranked in the 10-14 range as a lower-end lottery pick in this year’s draft class.

The 6-foot-3 Mannion holds both United State and Italian citizenship. He was born in Italy while his father, former NBA player Pace Mannion, was playing in Italy. As such, Mannion has played for the Italian National Team on the international level. At the age of 17, he debuted for the senior team during 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

In his freshman season with the Wildcats, Mannion has shot 39% from the field. It’s worry about his jumper that keeps Mannion from being higher in draft rankings. If he can prove that he can reliably hit shots and impress in workouts, Mannion is a player who could rise up draft boards.

A handful of teams that project to have lottery picks have a need at point guard, including the Knicks, Pistons and Suns.