Gauging big men in basketball is difficult, especially out of high school. Look no further than the development of the Arizona Wildcats' own Kyryl Natyazhko as an example of how unpredictable the growth of a young center can be.
7-footers are still getting used to their bodies, and it's rare to find high school centers who have the agility and coordination of someone who's even 6-foot-8. Highly-rated recruits such as Arizona commit Kaleb Tarczewski therefore have more question marks than do guards and wings.
But as the No. 6 overall prospect in the 2012 class according to ESPN, Tarczewski is well on his way to growing into a legitimate threat for head coach Sean Miller.
Though he's ranked as an elite player by ESPN's experts , there's an obvious expectation that he's got room to grow. But of course, that's because experts believe he's got more upside than every other center prospect -- in essence, it's a comparison to them rather than to the other top-10 guys.
My fellow Dime Magazine writer, Lucas Shapiro (he lives up in Gronkland and has seen much of Tarc) broke down Tarczewski's game for ESPN Boston after checking him out at the Hoopshall Classic in Springfield, Mass., this past weekend.
(Here's the brief recap on the Hoophall Classic and some links to the coverage of the Arizona recruits at the event)
Tarczewski is still developing, to be sure. But he has good basketball instincts and is developing a strong passing game out of the post. Furthermore, he's getting more comfortable as far as using his skills goes. If the video with this post indicates anything, it also looks like he has a strong head on his shoulders, a welcome sign considering one recent UA transfer, who shall go unnamed.
The conclusion, per Lucas:
We cannot deem Tarczewski the next great true center in the game of basketball from this one performance.
What impressed us was his improvement. Tarczewski's game has come a long way from where he was two years ago. If he keeps focusing on improving and keying in on the little things like taking care of the ball, Tarczewski will be in for a bright future in Tucson.