Versatile big Henri Veesaar joins Arizona program from overseas
After a report from Eurohoops last week that Estonian forward Henri Veesaar had committed to Arizona and coach Tommy Lloyd, the program announced on Wednesday he has officially signed his national letter of intent and will join the program this offseason.
The 6-foot-10 center played in the Real Madrid youth program for the last three seasons. Last year, he averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 boards a night while shooting 67% from the field and 35% from the 3-point line. He played a little more than 23 minutes a night.
“Henri is a skilled player that can play inside and outside and gives us length and a presence around the basket on the defensive end,” Lloyd said in a statement from the program. “He has been very well coached with the Real Madrid youth program the last few years and played against some of the top teams in Europe. We are excited for Henri and his outstanding family to join our program and we can’t wait for him to arrive on campus later this summer.”
His addition is a major get for Arizona as it looks to retool the frontcourt in the wake of Christian Koloko’s departure.
Last year, at the age of 17, he played in FIBA’s U18 European Challengers event and averaged 16.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 2.6 assists. He was widely viewed as one of the best players at that event and one of the top European prospects to come overseas this cycle. Veesaar also played with the Estonian senior national team last year, making him the youngest Estonian player to ever see action in a FIBA qualifier.
“I believe in Coach Lloyd’s philosophy and how he coaches,” Veesaar told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “I’ve had my eyes on playing college basketball for some time now, and I believe that Arizona is a great fit to make a jump between youth and professional sport.”
Veesaar hails from Tallin, Estonia, which is approximately 120 miles north of current Wildcat Kerr Kriisa’s hometown of Tartu, Estonia.
In the frontcourt, he’ll give another versatile big man for Lloyd to work with in his rotation. The Wildcats are expected to return potential starters in Oumar Ballo and Azuolas Tubelis. Arizona is also in on Washington State transfer center big Efe Abogidi. Veesaar, while possessing a 7-foot-2 wingspan, can step outside and play the 4 spot as well as the 5.
He joins Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year Dylan Anderson (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Filip Borvicanin (Serbia) in the Wildcats’ 2022 signing class.