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Arizona basketball: Wildcats waiting on 2016 recruits

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It is the time of year where many of the top high school basketball players from around the country make the decision on where they will be playing at the next level.  Many recruits have taken advantage of the early signing period, solidifying their position within their respective basketball program.  Others have simply made a commitment on their intent to attend a school of their choosing.  Very few players are undecided and will use the remaining regular signing period to choose.

The usual suspects such as Duke and Kentucky have already received commitments from their recruits.  According to the ESPN Top 100, Duke will have the top two recruits in Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum.  Kentucky follows with the Nos. 5, 6, and 7 recruits in Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, and De'Aaron Fox.  However, the Arizona Wildcats have only filled out one spot with Lauri Markkanen signing his letter of intent already.

The good news for Wildcat nation is that they are still in the running for the No. 3 recruit in the country, Josh Jackson.  The 6'7" small forward from Southfield, Michigan is a five-star recruit playing at Profilic Prep high school.  After watching film, he is a player who is excellent in the open floor with his passing and finishing ability.  The one aspect of his game that really stands out is that he loves to attack the basket and does it at will.  However, Arizona must compete with stiff competition as Jackson has received offers from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina, UCLA, and UNLV.

The No. 35 recruit, Andrew Jones, is also considering Arizona.  The 6'4" shooting guard out of Irving, Texas features an all-around offensive game.  He possesses a smooth shooting stroke, all while having the ability to take defenders off the dribble, giving him a very balanced offensive skill set.  Just like Jackson, Jones is in heavy pursuit from Baylor, Louisville, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Virginia.

The 2016 recruiting class is very important because of what rival Pac-12 schools have been able to accomplish.  UCLA would be bringing in a very strong class into next season featuring No. 11 recruit Lonzo Ball, No. 13 T.J. Leaf, and No. 95 Ike Anigbogu.  This would be the strongest recruiting class we have seen from the Bruins in recent years.

The Washington Huskies were able to sign the 12th-ranked recruit, shooting guard Markelle Fultz.  Fultz at one time was considering Arizona along with 22 others schools who made offers.  The Oregon Ducks also signed point guard Payton Pritchard, who was ranked No. 42 in the nation.

Now the Wildcats are playing the waiting game.  These next few months become crucial for the University of Arizona to land the top recruits.  If the Wildcats plan on staying on top of the Pac-12 going into next year, they must be hopeful in signing Jackson and Jones.  It is also important in the fact that the team will lose seniors Ryan Anderson, Jacob Hazzard, Kaleb Tarczewski, Mark Tollefsen, and Gabe York.

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