Arizona's Sean Miller reaffirmed a statement on Friday afternoon that many other college basketball coaches have come to known as gospel: California is Wildcat country.
With top-10 2014 recruit Stanley Johnson announcing his commitment to Arizona on ESPNU, Miller has now landed the top-rated prospect from the Golden State each of the last four recruiting classes.
Johnson, a 6'7" forward from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei who is rated No. 6 overall by 247sports.com, follows Miller's acquisition of Aaron Gordon (No. 4 in 2013), Grant Jerrett (No. 8 in 2012) and Josiah Turner (No. 11 in 2011). Brandon Ashley (No. 19 in 2012) was also a California kid before finishing high school at Las Vegas' Findlay Prep, while Arizona's 2014 class also includes Los Angeles point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, the No. 56 overall prospect.
Add in his ability to land Solomon Hill and Derrick Williams after USC dumped Tim Floyd in 2009—ironically, not long after Floyd turned down the Arizona job—and saying Miller is the king of California isn't hyperbole in the slightest.
ESPN recruiting analyst Jeff Goodman listed Miller as the third-toughest coach to recruit against, behind just John Calipari and Bill Self, and that was before landing Johnson or New Orleans-native (and Findlay Prep star) Craig Victor II.
Johnson, whose stock rose over the summer while playing for the Oakland Soldiers AAU team, is a wing who can play either forward position and has done good things as a point-forward for his high school team.
His versatility will make Johnson a great fit with Miller's 2014-15 Arizona team, which likely won't have Gordon anymore and could also lose Ashley (a 6'8" forward known for his inside-outside game) and shooting guard Nick Johnson to the draft. Stanley Johnson could start at the 2, 3 or 4, depending on Arizona's roster.
Johnson showed off his charisma during his ESPNU appearance by showing off some custom-made Arizona Nike high-tops. During his interview he credited Miller's tenacity and dedication to him throughout the recruiting process, which, according to 247sports.com's Brad Allis, began very early, a Miller staple.
No doubt some West Coast recruits from the 2015 and 2016 classes were watching Johnson's announcement, and probably nodding their heads simultaneously as they contemplated their interactions with Miller on the recruiting trail.
Arizona is high on the list of the three top California players in 2015: Ivan Rabb (6'10" PF) from Oakland, Tyler Dorsey (6'4" PG) from Bellflower and Chance Comanche (6'9" C) from Los Angeles.
It's a safe bet to say all three will have the Wildcats as a finalist by the summer, and at least one should end up in Tucson after high school.
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