With the decommitment from 5-star power forward TJ Leaf, Arizona joins Utah and Stanford as the only Pac-12 schools without commitment for 2016. As of right now, it should be pretty concerning for Arizona fans to see TJ Leaf walk away. He's been committed since November 19th, 2014, which made him the beginning of what seemed to be the making of yet another top class for Sean Miller.
Without TJ Leaf, this recruiting class seems to have no general direction, and with the current rumors swirling around, the dynamic of the Pac-12 could drastically change.
It seems as if Leaf is now heavily considering UCLA, who already has the No. 1 recruit out of California in Lonzo Ball, ranked 6th overall regardless of position. But it doesn't stop there, as TJ Leaf's high school teammate and 2017 Arizona recruit, Jaylen Hands, is leaning heavily towards the Bruins as well. For now, UCLA has the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation, with a commitment from TJ Leaf possibly on the horizon.
Arizona State could be somewhat affected by this decommitment, and it is worthy to note that their recruiting class is currently ranked 14th in the nation, with two 4-star commitments from a top-20 center in Jethro Tshisumpa and a top-20 small forward in Sam Cunliffe. Now, many might think that the ranking might not hold for too long, but Arizona State is also the leader for Thon Maker, the nation's 9th-ranked recruit, 2nd among centers. So just something to consider when thinking about the rivalry.
Arizona does seem to be in very strong contention for the No. 2 ranked recruit in the nation, Josh Jackson. But the Wildcats also seem to be out for Frank Jackson, the nation's 11th ranked recruit, 4th best point guard, after he cancelled his official visit to Tucson just a week ago.
There's also Markelle Fultz, 5-star combo guard, with Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona all in play. A commitment from Fultz would be crucial for Arizona to regain traction in the recruiting game, but I don't have a solid read on his recruitment.
As for another back court guy, Arizona is a key player in Andrew Jones' recruitment, 3-star ranked 12th among all combo guards. He is set to visit Arizona on August 10th.
When it comes to power forward, or even big men specifically, there are a lot of questions. There's not quite another player in the 2016 class like TJ Leaf, a big man with a strong offensive game, inside and out, making it hard to replace him. There is De'Ron Davis as an option at power forward, who has Arizona in his top three, along with Texas and Indiana.
There is also Tucson product Mitch Lightfoot on Arizona's board as well. Sean Miller has inexplicably been recruiting him really hard. The 6-8 200lb 3-star is ranked 39th among all power forwards in the nation and has been picking up some serious attention from schools across the country, including Kansas. I always thought of him as someone who isn't quite on the same talent level of typical Arizona recruits, but with the current big man situation, leaving it up to Chance Comanche and Dusan Ristic in the front court for 2016, Lightfoot seems like a great option now. Lightfoot is considering Stanford and Arizona State, among others, but this decommitment from Leaf could definitely open up even more doors to Arizona for him.
There is another option at power forward that quietly came up recently in Lauri Markkanen, 6-11 225lb prospect out of Finland. He possesses a skill set similar to TJ Leaf, and currently holds offers to Utah and UNC, with official visits planned to all three schools. He has all three visits within the span of six days, going to Utah on August 11th, UNC on the 13th and Arizona on the 16th.
It makes you wish that Craig Victor never transferred, who presumably left due to the heavy competition, but with Mark Tollefsen and Ryan Anderson only here for the 2015-2016 season, Victor could have been in line for some big minutes depending on how this class now shakes out. But at least he's closer to home at LSU, with a team that could be serious threat in the NCAA tournament.
Sean Miller has proven to be among the top recruiters in college basketball, and although the 2016 class is in a scary situation, Miller will get things done in Tucson.