Yet Another Update

Given what I wrote on April 14 here about the state of recruiting at Arizona in Sean Miller’s first 100 days, and here on April 16 about the people jonesing for Lamont “Momo” Jones, I politely remind everyone that I said it here first:

1. Arizona does not need a point guard in the 2009 class.
2. Jones will not sign with Arizona.

The story out of LA today (courtesy of the LA Times) is that Jones has signed a LOI with USC. This, therefore, erases him from availability for Arizona.

However, up until that point, there was still a large group of people that thought Arizona had a chance to land Jones. The reality is this: Jones wants playing time. At USC, he gets 30-35 a game. At Arizona, he gets 10-15 behind Nic Wise. And quite honestly, if you’re a recruit that has some issues with wanting playing time, do you sit behind an All Pac-10 PG or do you go to the school where you will get your minutes? Nevermind that USC will end up 4th or 5th in the Pac-10 this year, you’ll still get your minutes!

Given Arizona has Wise, Judkins, and Lavender, there’s absolutely no need for a PG in this class. Now, the 2010 class, on the other hand, has Doron Lamb available, and he was already recruited by Miller at Xavier (Miller even offered him a scholarship). Lamb has Arizona very high on his list since in 2010, Arizona will be needing a PG – assuming that neither Lavender nor Judkins makes a huge impact next year as Wise’s understudy.

The last point – for those who have been drooling over a (VERY REMOTE) possibility of landing recruit Lance Stephenson, Stephenson DID add one more school to his final list, but it’s not Arizona. Stephenson has narrowed his choices to three – Kansas (the frontrunner), St. Johns, and … get this … Maryland.

Now, a new face on the scene is actually an old one for Miller and Company, namely Kevin Parrom. Parrom was released from his LOI with Xavier and says Arizona is high on his list, but that he’s going to completely start over with the recruiting process.

Why do I mention Parrom? Because he is a 6-6 SG, a position I’ve stated multiple times that will be the final recruit in this year’s recruiting class. If Miller lands Parrom after Natyazhko (C), Johnson (PF), Hill (SF), and hopefully Famous (PF/C), that would easily vault Arizona’s recruiting class into the top 50 in the nation, and definitely give UCLA something to think about for the upcoming 2009 season.

Victor Rudd to Tempe Normal

As I posted here and here over this past week, Victor Rudd was most likely not going to sign his LOI with Arizona, for multiple reasons.

And, of course, with all the schools previously recruiting Rudd now backing off – including UNLV, which was going after him so hard it looked like Lon Kruger had a woody for Rudd – the only school left still interested was Tempe Normal. Rudd may not even be eligible in his first semester academically, given that there’s still questions surrounding his eligibility after his quit his prep team and headed back to CA.

Tempe Normal has reverted to previous form – it can’t compete with Arizona for the recruits (see “Natyazhko, Kyryl”), so it has to take chances on questionable characters (both academically and mentally – see “Smith, Hedake”).

Rudd, as gifted a player as he is, was never a Miller-type player, and he was definitely not an Arizona-type player.

This also means that what I wrote here two days ago is more and more relevant. Now that Rudd is out of the picture, Jarrid Famous does not have to worry about Arizona possibly recruiting another power forward.

The intrigue is now there for Arizona fans, with the possibility of a lineup that could feature 3 out of the following 4 on the floor at any point in the game – S. Hill, Horne, Natyazhko, and Famous – or even all four if Hill slides over to PG to give Wise a breather. Hill’s ball-handling skills are one of his strong points, and a point-forward position for Hill is not out of the question if it’s necessary.

There is a growing bandwagon for a player named Lamont “Momo” Jones from Oak Hill Academy. While Jones is definitely talented, USC currently has the upper hand – though they would be two players over the NCAA-mandated limit of 13 scholarships. Of course, this is USC we’re talking about, and Tim Floyd will have no problem revoking a pair from some of his end-of-the bench players, I’m sure, especially given that one of the other incoming freshman for the Trojans is hometown and 5-star recruit Renardo Sidney.

And, as people like to conveniently forget, Arizona already has a glut of PGs. While Garland Judkins is certainly the one player in the hot seat that could be asked to leave the team, that would completely depend on Jones committing to Arizona first, and Jones won’t likely commit to Arizona without some assurance he’ll get significant playing time – which will be a hard sell given eventual NBA draftee Nic Wise’s ability to spread the ball around and control the tempo.

So, I’ll say here first that Jones will most likely not sign with Arizona.

I still believe that the fourth player will be a shooting guard, and yet another group voicing their opinions is hot for 6-6/195 Lance Stephenson. Unfortunately, Stephenson looks to be headed for Kansas – though some early reports (most likely fan-sites) are saying St. Johns is a slam dunk. Either way, Stephenson seems to be a one-and-done player anyway, and Arizona is not really a legitimate option for him if he’s serious about playing one year and then headed to the NBA draft since he’ll need an offense that will revolve around him – not really a Miller strong point.

2009 Recruiting update

There are just over a dozen unsigned recruits left that are interested in Arizona’s remaining two or three scholarships.

Allocating one scholarship to Jarrid Famous is a no-brainer. This leaves a baker’s dozen recruits for one or two scholarships.

Here’s the list:

Point guard:
Anthony Cousin – from South Kent (CT) – 5-11/175 – 2 stars
Jerome Harris – from Chicago (IL) – 6-3/175 – not rated
Lamont Jones – from Mouth of Wilson (VA) – 5-11/170 – 3 stars
Xavier Thames – from Elk Grove (CA) – 6-3/177 – 3 stars

Shooting guard:
Jordan Block – from Rancho Cucamonga (CA) – 6-3/180 – not rated – JUCO prospect
Teandre Hubbard – from San Francisco (CA) – 6-1/no weight listed – not rated
Maurice Jackson – Mesa (AZ) – 6-3/175 – not rated – JUCO prospect
Nick Markovich – from Chandler (AZ) – 6-3/180 – 3 stars
Tahj Tate – from Marietta (GA) – 6-3/185 – 3 stars

Small forward:
Matt Salter – from Oak Park (IL) – 6-2/170 – not rated

Power forward:
Tevin Baskin – from Stamford (CT) – 6-7/190 – 3 stars
Anthony Harris – from Sterling (CO) – 6-7/225 – not rated – JUCO prospect
Victor Rudd – from Henderson (NV) – 6-7/200 – 3 stars

Now, one can weed out who’s really going to be looked at hard just by process of elimination.

  1. Assuming Nic Wise returns for his senior year, the PG position has Wise, Judkins, and Lavender available. Arizona has historically never carried four PGs on its roster – in fact most colleges don’t do this – so most likely a PG will not be signed.
  2. The depth on the Arizona roster does not run more than one deep in the SG category (Fogg, then Z. Johnson).
  3. The depth on the Arizona roster does not run more than one deep in the SF category, and even that is tenuous (S. Hill, Shumpert – walk-on last season, scholarship is on a year-to-year basis)
  4. Arizona has a capable PF already (Horne), and a committment from another (T. Johnson), along with the possibility of a PF/C committment (Famous), so it’s unlikely that a 4th PF will be signed, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

That eliminates 4 recruits for sure. No other mid-sized SFs are available that are interested in Arizona (Salter at 6-2 is undersized), so realistically that’s a 5th that’s eliminated.

If there were a need for yet another PF, Arizona is high on Victor Rudd’s list and the feeling is sort of mutual, so the other two (Baskin, Harris) will be eliminated. That’s #6 and #7 gone.

With a sophmore and a junior in the fold for the SG position, it’s unlikely that Miller will go the JUCO route for SG. That eliminates two more (Block, Jackson).

So, that leaves us with the following recruits –

Shooting guard:
Teandre Hubbard – from San Fransisco (CA) – 6-1/no weight listed – not rated
Nick Markovich – from Chandler (AZ) – 6-3/180 – 3 stars
Tahj Tate – from Marietta (GA) – 6-3/185 – 3 stars

Power forward:
Victor Rudd – from Henderson (NV) – 6-7/200 – 3 stars

Victor Rudd is the odd man out, because his signing depends on several things. If Shumpert retains his scholarship for another year, and if Famous does not sign with the UA, that would mean a scholarship is available and there’s a need for a PF. Rudd will then step in a fill that need. However, if Famous signs, that pretty much closes the door on Rudd.

Now, if Shumpert does NOT retain his scholarship and Famous signs, a SF position is needed. Now Horne could slide over to the SF and allow Famous and Natyazhko to be on the floor at the same time, allowing Rudd to possibly sign as the backup PF.

Either way, we still need a SG, and if Miller has a choice between unrated Hubbard at 6-1, and two 6-3 guys, he would probably choose between the two 6-3 guys.

A dark horse that has been gaining momentum is Chase Adams, a 6-3/180 SG from Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, AZ) who briefly attended the Air Force Academy but left before the 2008-09 season began due to other issues. He would be available as well – he was a 2-star recruit prior to his signing, and he currently is attending the U of A as a student anyway. Miller is known to like a strong work ethic, and Adams’ roundabout return to Arizona and subsequent attendance as a student would fit right in with Miller’s game plan.

My money is on either Markovich or Adams as the signee for SG, since Tate, being from Marietta, GA, is already drawing interest from the Univ of Georgia, along with several other Southern schools (Clemson, South Carolina, Virginia) and will most likely stay close to home.

It’s True – Solomon Hill will be a Wildcat

Breaking news from the Tucson Citizen – Hill text messaged the Citizen staff and informed them that he will sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the University of Arizona.

With Chris Mack’s hiring at Xavier, most likely Reggie Geary will be retained as an assistant coach, which means that JUCO recruit Tremayne Johnson (a power forward) will most likely get a scholarship.

This puts Sean Miller’s recruiting class into one of the top in the Pac-10 already – a center, a small forward, and a power forward, of which two of the three are four star recruits – and he still has at least two, possibly three, scholarships left.

Next on the agenda, convince Jarrid Famous on Friday to sign a LOI, and find a shooting guard to add to the mix.

Comments from miffed ASU fans

Sean Miller hasn’t been the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats a full month yet, but already his impact is felt up at Tempe Normal School.

Recruit Kyryl Natyazhko, who was considering Pitt and that Teachers College in Tempe, has decided to commit to the U of A. Natyazhko is considered the 9th best center in the nation according to Rivals.com.

Mysteriously, “now” word comes from Sun Devil fans – quoting a Pitt bulletin board, no less – that Natyazhko may be ineligible because he’s either too old or may have played professional ball in Europe. Funny how the two slighted schools are the ones bringing this to light now, but when they were recruiting the kid, there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. Sour grapes, really.

Natyazhko’s signing has also created a domino effect – Solomon Hill, who already had decommitted once from Arizona and gave a verbal to USC, decommitted from USC and has recommitted to Arizona. (Tim Floyd has to be kicking himself – he’s already losing three players early to the NBA draft and now he’s losing Hill… why did he turn down the Arizona job again? Oh, right, so he can be offered the LSU job next season.)

Now, with Natyazhko and Hill in the fold, the number one JC player in the nation, Jarrid Famous, has Arizona in his sights as his destination.

Couple these recruits with already on-board Tremayne Johnson (another JC player), and you have an Arizona team that will compete for the Pac-10 title next year.

Tempe Normal fans are understandably miffed. Some comments from the azcentral.com boards:

sndvlALUM: (Obviously a Sun Devil fan)

“Well we have our 7 footer [Ruslan Pateev] and boateng….. Good to know UA gets at least 1 recruit this year.”

JayWalker2121: (Arizona fan)

“Did i just see someone mention Boateng? hahaha. “

makebrownau09: (ASU fan)

“This is painful but we will be just fine”

DaleGribble: (ASU fan)

“How will we be just fine? Glasser gonna start dropping 40 a game?”

ludog (Arizona fan) said it best:

“come on, was it really THAT tough a decision…??? gee, packed arena, national tv against the best teams in the country, 25 years of basketball excellence…..or, playing in a morgue against the likes of IUPUI with 4,000 fans looking on while your team scores 45 points and ‘fights’ to make the NIT…not to mention having to wear those HIDEOUS puke and rust uni’s for 4 years!!!”

And a parting shot from Catfutbol (Arizona fan):

“ASU better get moving… Grand Canyon splashed with Russ Pennell and they could be the new hot college team in the valley to watch…”

Now, if you’re keeping track, Rivals.com has rated the recruits coming in for the 2009 class for ASU and Arizona. This is “so far”, since the official signing begins on Wednesday April 15, and you can expect at least one or two more signings for Arizona, as they have 4 to 5 scholarships available. (5 if walk-on DJ Shumpert’s scholarship is not renewed.)

ASU’s class:
Trent Lockett (SG) 6-5, 195 from Minnetonka, MN. Rated 4 stars. 18th best SG in the nation.
Ruslan Pateev (C) 7-0, 240 from Montverde, FL. Rated 3 stars. Not listed in best of nation listings.
Demetrius Walker (SG) 6-4, 200 from Phoenix, AZ. Rated 3 stars. 25th best SG in the nation.

ASU has one player considering them:
Brandon Thompson (SG) 6-2, 185 from San Antonio, TX. Not rated. ASU’s competition is Texas Tech, with Thompson leaning heavily toward TT because of the glut of SG’s in the 2009 class for ASU.

Arizona’s class:
Solomon Hill (SF) 6-6, 195 from Los Angeles, CA. Rated 4 stars. 3rd best SF in the nation.
Tremayne Johnson (PF) 6-7, 200 from Los Angeles, CA. JUCO player. Not rated. Not listed in best of nation listings.
Kyryl Natyazhko (C) 6-10, 250 from Bradenton, FL. Rated 4 stars. 9th best C in the nation.

Arizona also has two players “considering” the Cats:
Victor Rudd (PF) 6-7, 200 from Henderson, NV. Rated 3 stars. 28th best PF in the nation. Rudd was talked about in a different article
Jarrid Famous (C) 6-10, 240 from Valhalla, NY. #1 JUCO prospect in the nation. UA’s competition is Missouri and Seton Hall, and Famous will have his 5th and final official visit (recruits can only have 5 official visits to schools total) to the UA campus on 4/17.

Lastly, and this is from unnamed sources, but rumour has it that a highly prized recruit will be decommitting from his current committment and coming to Arizona. The latest scuttlebutt has it that Renardo Sidney (PF, 6-10, 250, Rivals.com rates him 5 stars, oral committment to USC) is the one being talked about here. Sidney and Hill both departing from USC for Arizona would pretty much stick a fork in Tim Floyd for the 2009 season and call him done.

Talk about a possible recruiting class: Hill, Natyazhko, Johnson, Famous, and Sidney. Ouch. Realistically, though, Arizona needs another PG or SG, and that may also have to be addressed via a JUCO player.