Brandon Ashley likely returning to Arizona next season

Christian Petersen

The Wildcats sophomore was leaning toward leaving for the NBA after this season, but a foot injury likely has him heading back to Tuscon for another year.

Injured Arizona Wildcats forward Brandon Ashley will likely return to school next year, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

Ashley had been unsure about his future in Tuscon prior to a season-ending foot injury, but now he's almost certain not to make the jump to the NBA just yet:

"I wasn't 100 percent (about coming back) before the injury," Ashley told ESPN.com. "But I've thought about it, and there's a very, very, very strong chance I'll be back at the University of Arizona next year."

Ashley suffered the injury in a loss to the California Golden Bears on Saturday, Arizona's first loss of the season. Ashley was a key component of the Wildcats' impressive frontcourt, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds on the season.

With Ashley playing well on one of the top teams in the country, his NBA draft stock was on the rise. Goodman says several NBA executives had Ashley projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick.

But the injury complicated things a bit, and it appears the sophomore wants to return to school next year and attempt to boost his draft position on an Arizona squad that should be strong once again. With Aaron Gordon likely going pro, Ashley will take on a larger role and have an excellent chance at impressing scouts.

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