Kaleb Tarczewski has big goals in mind in return to Arizona

Seven-foot Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski will return for his senior season after watching teammates Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley and Stanley Johnson leave early for the NBA.

Tarczewski told ESPN on Friday it was not a difficult decision to stay in school despite being projected as a possible first-round pick in June.

"When you take your pride out of it and look at what's best for me, it wasn't hard at all," Tarczewski said. "I have an opportunity to be the winningest player here, get my degree and get another year or growth and development. It's a no-brainer."

Tarczewski averaged 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and is considered one of the top defensive big men in the nation. He's on track to become the first men's basketball player to graduate from Arizona's business school and is 18 victories shy of becoming the winningest player in the history of the program.

"That's crazy to me," Tarczewski said, "especially when you look at all the great players that have played here."

Tarczewski also said that the opportunity to try and conclude his career with a Final Four berth was key in his decision-making process. He went to the Sweet 16 as a freshman and lost to Wisconsin each of the past two years in the Elite Eight.

"It left a bad taste in my mouth, being so close yet so far," Tarczewski said. "It's everyone's goal to play in the NBA, but the goal in college is to get to the Final Four. People might look at that we don't have as much talent, and that we're going to drop off next season. But I'm confident that we're going to have a great team next season with the guys we have coming back and the freshmen we have coming in."

Arizona will add four top 100 players -- three that are ranked in the top 40 by ESPN. The Wildcats will also return a bunch of role players off last season's squad -- Gabe York, Elliott Pitts, Dusan Ristic and Parker Jackson-Cartwright -- and will add Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson and junior college guard Kadeem Allen.

"I'm also excited for the chance to be a leader next season," Tarczewski said. "I also don't feel as though I've played my best basketball. I haven't proven myself, and this is a great opportunity for me to expand my role."

"I've been here for three years. I'm almost considered a dinosaur in college basketball," he added. "But for me, it's about the end game. The most important thing for me is the journey and how you get to where you want to be. I'm happy to be in the position I'm in now -- and I can't wait for next year."