Arizona guard KJ Lewis, a projected top-20 pick in the 2025 NBA draft, announced Friday he is returning to the Wildcats for his sophomore season.

Lewis entered the NBA draft after the season but declined an invitation to this month’s G League Elite Camp, an early sign he plans to return to college.

A 6-foot-4 guard, Lewis is ranked No. 19 in ESPN’s 2025 NBA Draft rankings. He came off the bench last season for Arizona but showed glimpses of the talent NBA evaluators were so interested in. He had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over UCLA; 15 points and 6 boards in the Pac-12 Tournament against USC; And had three double-figure scoring games in a five-game stretch in late January and early February.

Lewis averaged 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds on the season.

With Pele Larsson leaving for the NBA and Keelan Boswell transferring to Illinois, Lewis is expected to move into the starting lineup for the 2024-25 season. Which players accompany Lewis on the perimeter will be determined by whether star guard Caleb Love chooses to remain in the NBA draft or return to Tucson for his final season. An All-American last season, Love’s decision could go either way.

Coach Tommy Lloyd prepared for potential departures by adding Campbell transfer Anthony Dell’Orso and ESPN 100 recruits Jason Sannon and Jamari Phillips, but the return of Love should make Arizona a surefire preseason top-10 team.

The Wildcats are set to play fellow preseason top-20 teams Gonzaga and Indiana at Battle 4 Atlantis and will also host preseason top-10 team Duke in November.


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