What’s worse, Arizona Wildcats fans? That your team was unable to land a highly coveted 5-star prospect, who instead went to another Pac-12 school, or that your arch rival got one right after you missed out?
Such is the place Arizona finds itself after Joshua Christopher, a 5-star shooting guard from the Los Angeles area, picked the Arizona State Sun Devils on Monday over fellow Pac-12 schools UCLA and USC as well as Michigan and Missouri.
And that comes one day after Stanford beat out Arizona (as well as UCLA and USC) for 5-star wing Ziaire Williams, the Wildcats’ top remaining target in the 2020 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-5 Christopher is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 10 player in the 2020 class as well as the no. 3 shooting guard and the fifth-best prospect in California. That makes him the highest-rated prospect to commit to ASU since since recruiting services became a thing. To put that in perspective, James Harden was the No. 14 player in the 2007 class, per Doug Haller of The Athletic.
Williams, by the way, is the highest-ranked recruit in Stanford history.
While Christopher wasn’t exactly an Arizona target—the Wildcats offered him in July 2017 and had him in for an unofficial visit in October of that year but eventually backed off when the interest wasn’t mutual, while ASU signed his older brother Caleb Christopher in the 2019 class—it’s still a significant blow to the UA’s perennial dominance in recruiting.
While ASU’s 2020 class only consists of two players (the other is wing Marcus Bagley, the brother of former Duke star Marvin Bagley III) it still ranks third-best in the Pac-12 behind Stanford and Utah. Arizona, also with only two commits/signees as of now, is fifth in the league. And that’s after losing its entire starting five to graduation and the NBA Draft.
ASU has only finished ahead of Arizona once in the recruiting rankings during the Sean Miller era, that being in 2018 when the UA was smack dab in the middle of the FBI/NCAA bribery scandal.
The Wildcats still have one target they hope to land, that being 4-star shooting guard Kerwin Walton, who is scheduled to choose between Arizona, Creighton, Georgetown, Minnesota, North Carolina and Vanderbilt on April 25.
Adding him might not be enough to move past ASU in the recruiting rankings, however.