College Basketball Recruiting Rankings: A Look at Arizona's No. 1 Ranked Class
Arizona already owns the No. 1 recruiting class in America, according to ESPN.com and Rivals.com, two of the heavyweights in the high-school scouting field.
If No. 1-rated Shabazz Muhammad makes his name the fifth addition—he recently listed Arizona among his final three official visits—then this college hoops class can start being discussed among the best ever, certainly in school lore.
Three of the top 10 high school products in the nation—Brandon Ashley (No. 4), Kaleb Tarczewski (No. 6) and Grant Jerrett (No. 9)—along with dynamic combo-guard Gabe York (No. 36) are already inked.
When he arrived out West three years ago, there were people questioning whether Miller, a born and raised East Coaster, would be able make an impact on players on this side of the country.
Those people can now officially be labeled completely wrong.
Ashley, Jerrett and York are all Californians. Tarczewski is indeed from back East, hailing from New Hampshire, showing Arizona's reach across the land. Miller held off Kansas' Bill Self for the rights to the New England-bred seven-footer.
Check out this piece from the Arizona Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe for an in-depth look at how Miller went about compiling this assortment of talent.
And also take a look at Anthony Gimino's top-shelf breakdowns of each of the recruits at TucsonCitizen.com.
Come inside for a quick preview of all of the future Arizona Wildcats, along with one more Tucson would love to have join:
Grant Jerrett, 6'10", PF: No. 9 Ranked Player in the Nation
Favorite YouTube comment about Jerrett: 'If he had a neck, he'd be seven feet.'
Neck or none, Jerrett—a 6'10", 200-pound power forward with solid explosion for his mass and a silky touch—is going to serve as a welcome reinforcement to a frontline in need of height.
Yes, Kyryl Natyazhko is over 6'10', but let's face the facts—Jerrett's offensive skills already appear superior to the defensive-minded Ukrainian.
According to ESPN.com, Jerrett is the ninth best player in the entire country. Rivals.com has him listed at No. 50.
The broad-shouldered star of La Verne Lutheran High School in La Verne, Calif., Jerrett's scouting report says he is still improving at "an alarming rate," and that his "footwork is very polished" already, all topped with a healthy hoops IQ.
Here's what Miller said about Jerrett's future (via the Arizona Daily Star):
"Grant is the first guy who committed to us (in November 2010) and I give Grant and his family a lot of credit. Momentum is a big part of recruiting, and someone with the stature of Grant committing as early as he did continues to give us credibility. Grant did that long before we ever went to an Elite Eight.
"Grant has great hands. The best is yet to come; he's a terrific rebounder, is versatile like Brandon but to me bigger, more 6-9 with extra long arms."
Brandon Ashley, F, 6'8": No. 4 Ranked Player in the Nation
On tape, Ashley is the closest thing to Derrick Williams since D-Will was in an Arizona uni.
According to this highlight reel, Brandon Ashley is in a similar mold to Williams near the hoop.
It remains to be seen whether he'll develop the same outside stroke, but the tenacity close to the basket is going to send McKale Center into frenzies on the regular, and his mid-range game is pure.
The other beautiful thing about Ashley's commitment to Arizona is that he was taken right out of the backyard of Cal. The San Francisco Bay Area is something of a hotbed for college hoops talent in recent years, as Sean Miller noted in this piece from the New York Times:
“If you gave me one area of the country to be successful recruiting the next two years, the area that I would pick is this one right here,” Miller told a group of Arizona fans during a May 19 speech at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
An Oakland, Calif. native, Ashley was on the AAU-powerhouse Oakland Soldiers, along with current Arizona guards Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson. That was crucial in landing him in Tucson, according to this piece from PointGuardU.com. This is what his AAU coach told that site back when he originally committed to Arizona:
"Ashley really vibes with Sean Miller, Sean can really talk to him. The comfort level he felt with Sean was incredible. And he has a great relationship with Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson. Those were the two biggest factors.
"Arizona was one of the first colleges to call, even before he got into the rankings. Sean Miller saw something in him. I didn't get calls from other coaches on the staff, it was Sean Miller. Sean Miller was at probably all of Brandon's games and he's been following him longer than any coach. I think that was a big thing."
Gabe York, G, 6'1": No. 36 Ranked Player in the Nation
A late riser as far as high-profile college basketball recruits are concerned, York was relatively lightly-heralded until blazing onto the scene in July.
From the looks of things on tape, York is a pure long-range shooter with unusual leaping ability for his height, comparable to Nick Johnson's skill set.
And after watching Johnson smoothly adapt into the college game, that's a comforting thought for Arizona followers.
According to that site's scouting report, York is dangerous in pulling up from long range in transition, an art form perfected by Salim Stoudamire during his days in Tucson.
And York appears to have similar flair to Salim, unafraid to challenge giants near the rim.
Here's what Miller said about York (via Fox Sports Arizona's Steve Rivera):
“He’s a very explosive scorer He can shoot the three. Gabe can play some point guard, but with a point guard. How he’s developed over the years is really exciting."
Kaleb Tarczewski, C, 7'0": No. 6 Ranked Player in the Nation
The true center Arizona's been seeking will arrive next fall.
Kaleb Tarczewski was the latest commit of the four already lined up to play for Sean Miller next year, fighting off Kansas to bring him to Tucson.
ESPN.com's No. 6 player in the nation, the seven-footer, who originally hails from New Hampshire, is already remarkably refined for his height and length.
And as evidenced in the video clip, Tarczewski is a big man who is willing to run the floor, crash the offensive boards and who can provide general nastiness near the hoop (his scouting report even mentions an, at times, unharnessed temper).
Tarczewski isn't just the best low-post recruit of the MIller era so far. It's also fair to call him the highest-profile high school center commit to ever attend the U of A.
Here's what Miller had to say about his new man in the middle (via the Arizona Daily Star):
"There just aren't a lot of guys with that size out there but Kaleb, if he were 6-8, would be a really good player. He can run, he's got really good hands...He loves the physicalness to the game and can rebound. I really look forward to being able to get him the ball in the low post in the offense. And anytime you get a guy that size on defense, he helps your man-to-man."
Uncommitted: Shabazz Muhammad, G/F, 6'6": No. 1 Ranked Player in the Nation
Shabazz Muhammad is a premier talent, appearing on film to be plenty deserving of his No. 1 billing.
Already built in the mold of an NBA shooting guard at 6'6" and 215 pounds, Muhammad owns slick handles, a sweet stroke and dynamic leaping ability.
Oh, and he's left-handed, making it all look that much more smooth.
Just watch the clip. It tells the entire tale.
ESPN.com lists him as the best high school player in America, and it is difficult to argue that rating.
This feature from Mitch Sherman lauds Muhammad's willingness to continually work on his game, an offshoot of the competitiveness of the Las Vegas native.
Arizona is on the list, along with Duke and Kansas, for Muhammad's last three official visits. Also still in the mix for his services are UCLA, USC, Kentucky and hometown UNLV.
Muhammad already met with Sean Miller unofficially once in Tucson, back in May, making his return trip a positive sign.
Considering the wealth of depth Arizona is likely to own next year, the addition of Muhammad would make the Wildcats a heavy early fave for the 2013 Final Four.
His commitment would certainly put an exclamation point on one of the most hyped recruiting classes in college basketball history.
But everyone is just going to have to wait until the spring for him to announce his intentions.