Ever since starting guard James Akinjo left Arizona Basketball after the coaching change, the team has been looking for someone that can potentially replace him. The hope is that Kerr Kriisa, a former top-100 recruit that was limited to just eight games this past season due to eligibility issues with the NCAA.
Kriisa is very talented but a quick look at the roster shows that he’s the only true point guard on the roster. The Wildcats have been after several free agent guards, including five-star prospect out of high school TyTy Washington, along with a few transfer portal targets. However, they haven’t been able to land anyone yet to add depth to the backcourt.
Justin Kier spent four seasons at George Mason before transferring to the Georgia Bulldogs a year ago. The 6’4 guard started all 25 games he played, averaging 9.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 2.4 apg on 39% shooting from the field, and 37% from three-point range on four attempts. His production overall was inconsistent but did show that he can have some big scoring nights, including a season-high 25 points in overtime against LSU.
Kier also showed that he can create plays for others, including racking up at least five assists in four of the first seven games of the season. He can create his own shot and is a capable passer at the shooting guard position, while also being a solid shooter.
Not only does Kier add a proven performer to the lineup, but he’s also now the only upperclassmen on the current roster. His experience and leadership will be sorely needed on a team that has a first-year head coach in Tommy Lloyd and plenty of underclassmen that’ll be part of the rotation. With Utah shooting guard transfer Pelle Larsson already around, that’ll be another ball-handler that can take pressure off of Kriisa in the backcourt on offense.
If Justin Kier can be a double-digit scorer in his final season along with a few assists, he’ll be an asset for Arizona next season. He’s a downgrade from Akinjo but the Wildcats need a veteran playmaker that is capable of playing at the power conference level. He won’t be all-conference good but if he helps out Kriisa in the backcourt, the Wildcats will benefit.