Arizona basketball recruiting: Sean Miller kills it on the West Coast

Ethan Miller

Names like Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski represent Sean Miller's vicegrip on the West Coast recruiting scene.

Talent isn't hard to find out West. It's not significantly worse than the basketball recruiting scene on the East Coast. There's quite a bit of talent in Texas, talent in the Pacific Northwest and some in Chicago as well.

But it is hard to find coaches making sure the best players stay in their relative backyards.

Sean Miller is one of the few. According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Miller is the third-toughest coach to recruit against in the nation behind only John Calipari of Kentucky and Kansas coach Bill Self.

He has practically owned the West Coast since he arrived in Tucson in 2009, landing three of the top big men in the Class of 2012 (Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett) and pulling in Aaron Gordon in 2013.

The West Coast reference is the biggest of deals, not because other top coaches aren't stealing talent out in Pac-12 country but because not many others west of the Mississippi are challenging the nation's top coaches. Of the schools west of the big M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, only coaches at Kansas, Wichita State and Baylor join Miller on Goodman's list of the top-20 best recruiters.

There are no Pac-12 schools on the list. Only San Diego State and Gonzaga can arguably call themselves in the same company of program quality. And in the Pac-13 UCLA's PR nightmare under new coach Steve Alford can compete in terms of recruiting. Tim Floyd was up there until scandals hit USC. Colorado does a decent job and Oregon can hang if only because of their Nike U status, but both are at least a deep tournament run away from making a case as elite recruiters.

Sean Miller pretty much has himself tapped in everywhere. He and assistant Book Richardson know New York, and they added center Kaleb Tarczewski from the New England area. Miller has California on lockdown -- see Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill, Josiah Turner, Aaron Gordon and recruit Stanley Johnson. Miller's pulled Rondae Hollis-Jefferson out of Philly and is in with 2014 Texas recruit Justise Winslow.

But he's one of the few out west who is recruiting the area well.

For now, it's Miller's coast to navigate.

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