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Former Gonzaga center Oumar Ballo transferring to Arizona

UPDATED: Mon., April 19, 2021

Gonzaga Bulldogs center Oumar Ballo blocks Pacific Tigers guard Pierre Crockrell II during the first half of a Jan. 23 game at McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs center Oumar Ballo blocks Pacific Tigers guard Pierre Crockrell II during the first half of a Jan. 23 game at McCarthey Athletic Center. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Former Gonzaga center Oumar Ballo announced Monday night that he has committed to Arizona.

Ballo will be reunited with new Wildcats head coach Tommy Lloyd, the former Zag assistant who recruited Ballo to Gonzaga. Ballo will be eligible immediately under the NCAA’s new one-time transfer rule.

The 7-foot, 260-pound Ballo entered the transfer portal eight days ago. He played 149 minutes in 24 game appearances, but he fell out of the rotation in the second half of his redshirt freshman season.

Ballo, slowed by a thumb injury in late January, saw double-digit minutes in only game in the last 2½ months of the season.

Ballo, a native of Mali, was considered a top international prospect and ranked 78th in the 2019 class by 247sports. He was required by the NCAA to take an academic redshirt year in 2020.

Ballo could have a chance at more playing time with the Wildcats, but he’ll have to compete against 6-11 Azuolas Tubelis, 6-11 Jordan Brown and 7-1 Christian Koloko. The three Wildcats combined for 51 starts last season and nearly 27 points per game.

Ballo thanked Gonzaga’s staff for the opportunity to play “at the highest level of competition” in an Instagram post. He also thanked the Spokane community and his former GU teammates “for making these two years an amazing experience.”

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