Could there a mass exodus of talent from the Arizona basketball program? A series of Wildcats have submitted their name in the transfer portal after their season ended in the Sweet 16 at the hands of the Clemson Tigers. One of those players who is looking for greener grass is center Oumar Ballo. Ballo has played great for Arizona during his time there. The former Gonzaga Bulldog just averaged a double-double (12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game) along with menacing rim protection.

Kylan Boswell and Dylan Anderson are two other Wildcat players who have entered the transfer portal. Losing them would sting, but not as much as losing Ballo would. Motiejus Krivas was the only other center on their roster to play more than 10 minutes a game last year. Ballo held down Arizona's frontcourt. If he leaves, other teams would be very happy to have him. A couple of programs that could become Oumar Ballo destinations include the Connecticut Huskies and Baylor Bears.

Connecticut Huskies

UConn has had a bit of everything over the past two seasons. They've had lights-out shooters in Jordan Hawkins and Cam Spencer. Stephon Castle and Andre Jackson Jr. have provided excellent perimeter defense and unique offensive contributions despite neither being outstanding with their jumper. Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan have blocked out the moon defensively in the paint. Alex Karaban is the perfect three-and-D glue guy. And Tristen Newton pulled every string to a tee for head coach Danny Hurley.

Clingan, Castle, and Spencer are likely off to the NBA next year and Karaban could join them. The Huskies do have replacements for Castle and Spencer coming in the form of Ahmad Nowell and Isaiah Abraham. Jaylin Stewart, Jayden Stewart, and Soloman Ball were all top 100 recruits this season, according to ESPN, but neither had big roles on this championship team while acclimating to the program.

The Huskies have reinforcements coming on the perimeter, but not on the interior. UConn shaped their defense around Clingan and his presence around the rim. It was a big reason why they had the fourth-best defense in all of college basketball according to KenPom. The Huskies could play a similar style with Ballo.

UConn can find a replacement for Clingan, and Ballo can not only find playing time at the best men's basketball program at the moment but potentially boost his draft stock too. The fit is there for both sides. This pairing would help all parties and make sense for everyone.

Baylor Bears

Arizona Wildcats center Oumar Ballo (11) reacts in the first half against the Clemson Tigers in the semifinals of the West Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at Arena.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears are in a similar spot to UConn. Yves Missi is not the player nor the prospect that Clingan is, but he has already declared for the 2024 NBA Draft. He is pegged by many to be a first-round pick, though he still has skills he needs to refine.

Baylor is losing their starting center, but they also are a team that doesn't have many options currently to replace him with. Josh Ojianwuna is 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds, but he only played about 15 minutes per game. He doesn't have much experience as a starter and is entering his third collegiate season.

With news that Scott Drew is staying at Baylor and the Bears bringing in three ESPN top 100 recruits, they are poised to be very competitive once again in 2025. But, they are going to revamp their frontcourt somehow. They could really do that if they can find a way to bring Oumar Ballo to Waco.

Creighton Blue Jays

Creighton is another program that could afford to find another big man. Similarly to UConn, the Blue Jays structured much of their defense around funneling drivers into rim protector Ryan Kalkbrenner. It worked in large part. Creighton had the 24th-best defense in the country this season per KenPom. They also made an Elite 8 last season and a Sweet 16 this year.

The Blue Jays didn't play many big men outside of Kalkbrenner this year. Fredrick King was the only other big to get burn, but he only played 6.4 minutes per game. He was productive when he did get out there though. On a per-40-minute basis, King put up 16 points and 13.5 rebounds.

But, he's barely played entering his third season of college basketball. Perhaps head coach Greg McDermott projects a big bump in playing time for him, but it can't hurt to have options. Ballo would be a great option.