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Arizona basketball recruiting: Nick Richards set to announce decision and the latest updates

The latest updates from the recruiting trail.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The early signing period (November 9-16) is nearly upon us, which means those who have committed will send in their Letters of Intent, and those who haven’t but plan to sign early will be making their choices.

For the Arizona Wildcats, they are expected to get LOI’s from their current four-member class of DeAndre Ayton, Brandon Randolph, Ira Lee, and Alex Barcello.

Looking ahead, Nick Richards will be announcing on November 10 and has trimmed his list down to a final three of Arizona, Kentucky, and Syracuse. All signs point to a Kentucky selection as it’s the only school he visited.

With Richards off the board, our attention now turns to those remaining:

  • Lonnie Walker: Everything I’m hearing on Walker is it’s more of a when not an if. He indicated committing in the early signing period in prior interviews, so we’ll see if that holds. He’s taking an official to Kentucky this weekend and then one to Syracuse next weekend. Possible announcement dates could be Nov. 15 or 16.
  • Brian Bowen: He told me he really enjoyed his visit to Tucson. He’s also visited North Carolina State. Michigan State is the heavy favorite on 247Sports, but I'm not convinced. He’ll be at December’s Hoophall event in Scottsdale so we’ll have some more then. (Alex Barcello and DeAndre Ayton will also be in that tournament.)
  • Hamidou Diallo: I spoke to Diallo’s coach earlier in the week and he said visits won’t be planned until after January 1. He’ll obviously be a late period signee. It’s a toss up right now but UConn may have the slightest of an edge due to proximity.
  • Brandon McCoy: He visited Tucson in early October and had a great time. He indicated he wouldn't have any issues playing alongside Ayton down low. However, with visits to Michigan State and Oregon still to come (he just visited UNLV), signs are starting to point to Tom Izzo and the Spartans for the top-10 post player.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt: He’s another player that hasn’t announced his official visits and will be a late period signee (though he should commit in January or so). He’s visited Kentucky and North Carolina already, and I’d be surprised if U of A doesn’t get him on campus after saying that Sean Miller is the coach recruiting him the hardest. He also said he’d trim his list down a month ago and that didn’t happen, but once his visits are out there, it won't be too hard to see what his top five is.

Now these aren’t the only people who are still considering Arizona, but these are the most likely candidates to commit if you were going to tier them up like that.

Below are also people to keep an eye on in case things get wacky.

  • Trevon Duval: The nation’s number one point guard doesn’t have an official list after reopening his recruiting after transferring to IMG Academy. The Wildcats were on his top nine but I highly, highly doubt he comes to Arizona.
  • Kenny Wooten: After reclassifying from the 2016 class to the 2017 class and decommitting from Nevada, Wooten, holding a three-star ranking, has found himself immersed with offers from some big name programs including Arizona and Kansas. While not much is known about his recruitment, he’s 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, and would surely be a three-to-four year player. He won’t be planning any official visits until December and January so we’ll see if there’s any room in U of A’s class.

Tidbits: While awful and tragic for Ray Smith to have to quit basketball over a third ACL tear in as many years, it does pose the question, how does it affect recruiting? Well, it should open up another slot for a wing/post player giving Arizona the potential to take seven (!) players this year, which is kind of nuts. It also makes the odds on landing a grad-transfer higher than before, so we’re probably looking at six high school players coming in.

However, let’s not spend too much time focusing on the extra recruit for next year at the moment and think about Ray and what he’s going through. The fact that he’s persevered through two injuries to play at college basketball’s highest level shows inner strength and a drive we should all strive for.

I’m wishing him the best throughout his recovery.

You can follow Alec on Twitter: @UofAlec