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What Shane Nowell’s commitment means for Arizona

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The Arizona Wildcats landed four-star guard Shane Nowell on Saturday, their third commitment for the 2021 class. Our news story can be found here, and here’s more on what his pledge means for the program.

Arizona’s class is in the Top 20 again

The No. 85 player in 247Sports’ composite rankings, Nowell is now the highest-ranked commit in Arizona’s 2021 class. Shane Dezonie (yes, Arizona has two Shanes) is one spot below him at No. 86 and K.J. Simpson is a little further down at No. 115.

Altogether, the class ranks 17th in the country, jumping 25 spots with the addition of Nowell.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Only twice has Sean Miller brought in a recruiting class ranked outside the Top 20 and one of those class (2018) definitely would have ranked that high if it weren’t for the FBI investigation into college basketball.

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations isn’t affecting recruiting that much and probably won’t in this cycle

If you thought the Notice of Allegations would stop Arizona from landing quality recruits, think again. Nowell is the second prospect to commit to the Wildcats since they received the NOA last week, Dezonie being the other.

While the Wildcats are said to be accused of multiple Level I violations that could lead to a postseason ban, scholarship reductions and/or Miller being banned from the sport, we’re likely a long way before everything gets resolved.

Arizona officially has 90 days to respond to the NCAA’s NOA and then the NCAA has 60 days to reply to the response. That means it could be up to five months before the hearings even start.

As for the hearings, Arizona is requesting its case get taken up by the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process, a new panel that has never decided a case before. Who knows what that could mean for the timeline of a decision and the severity of the sanctions.

Also: with the one-time transfer rule likely to be approved in January, players can always leave Arizona and be immediately eligible somewhere else if the sanctions turn out to be severe.

And either way, because of the recruiting restrictions during the pandemic, pretty much every recruit in the country is taking a shot in the dark since they are committing to schools they probably haven’t visited—at least not in an official capacity. On-campus visits with coaches and staffers have been banned since the onset of the pandemic in March.

Is this the backcourt of the future?

All three Arizona commits are guards, but that doesn’t mean they have a logjam there. Nowell is 6-foot-6, Dezonie is 6-foot-4 and Simpson is 6-foot-3, so they can guard the 3, 2 and 1, respectively.

However, it will be interesting to see how they mesh since they all describe themselves, more or less, as being at their best when the ball’s in their hands.

“I believe the strongest parts of my game are the ability to create for myself and teammates, finishing around the rim, my pull-up, getting downhill in transition and being a player with a high IQ,” Nowell said in an interview with EndlessMotor.net. “Also, a great defender that will pick up full court and guard 1-4.”

Arizona needs a big man

From what I’ve heard, the Wildcats are planning to sign four 2021 recruits (as of now, at least). With the first three commits being guards, they need to land a big man to round out the class.

4-star star SF/PF DaRon Holmes recently picked Dayton over Arizona, leaving someone like JuCo 7-footer Jamarion Sharp, five-star power forward Moussa Diabate or perhaps an international player left on the market.

Jason Terry lands his first Washington recruit

Part of the appeal of hiring Terry as an assistant coach was that Arizona was getting someone who could help it make inroads in the Pacific Northwest, one of the best talent hotbeds in the country. The Seattle native has a lot of connections up there and his name alone holds a lot of weight in that part of the country.

It certainly did for Nowell, a Washington native whose Arizona recruitment heated up not long after Terry was hired. Arizona offered Nowell on July 27, just two months after Terry’s hiring was made official.

“In our world of recruiting, he gives us a different dynamic, somebody that’s clearly been there and done that at a very high level,” Miller said of Terry on media day.

Don’t worry about the scholarship crunch

The NCAA is going to have adjust roster limits and/or scholarship totals now that every player has been given an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic. So even though Arizona has three commits but only two seniors, it’s not worth worrying about how it’s going to get all the pieces to fit.

Not to mention transfers and NBA departures are always possible if not likely, especially if the one-time transfer waiver is approved.