It’s been a while since we have done an Arizona Wildcats basketball recruiting update, mostly because there hasn’t been much news. Now that we’re in the middle of December, it’s time do a quick update before you fill your bodies with onerous amounts of cookies, pies, and whatever else your great aunt likes to cook for the holidays.
Vanderbilt Spurns Wildcats
On Sunday afternoon, Jarred Vanderbilt, a top-20 talent in the 2017 class, announced a top four that included Kentucky, Oregon, TCU, and North Carolina. The omission of Arizona was a slight surprise considering the senior had said Sean Miller was recruiting him the hardest.
However, it likely means that Miller and the staff prioritized other players, which is usually how these types of decisions are made. It’s also worth noting that Vanderbilt said he wanted to visit campus but that never happened, leading me to think that the staff went all in on Lonnie Walker (obviously, we know how that turned out), and has now turned their attention to Brian Bowen.
Brian Bowen Announcement Imminent
Five-star small forward Brian Bowen is set to announce his commitment before 2016 wraps up according to a sideline interview on ESPN last week. He said, “I’m thinking I’ll make my decision within two weeks. I’m down to Creighton, Michigan State, Arizona, and Texas.”
From people I've talked to and a general sense around the situation, it’s a two-horse race between the Michigan State Spartans and Arizona. Many have felt that Michigan State has had the edge forever, but Miller has made up a lot of ground and probably has stepped into the lead.
While it wouldn’t surprise me if Bowen decided to go the short distance from Saginaw, MI to East Lansing (a 75-minute drive), I believe the Arizona staff has done enough to put them in place to land the top wing.
Don’t get too excited, I’m not expecting McCoy to come to Arizona at this point, but I wanted to put this here because someone would ask about it.
A week before Thanksgiving, McCoy announced a top-five that included U of A along with SDSU, Oregon, Michigan State, and UNLV.
He updated 247 Sports on his commitment and said this about Arizona, “I've had a relationship with them since I was in the eighth grade. They were the first school that I got mail from. We have kept a relationship with them. Even when they got DeAndre Ayton they let me know I was still their No. 1 priority.”
I’d give Oregon the lead on this one at the moment.
Duval is the top point guard in the land, and while I regularly get half joke, half serious comments about him coming to Tucson, I don’t see that happening as of writing this.
He has a unique final five which includes Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Baylor, and Seton Hall. Two of those five are not the same. At the moment, no visits have been announced, but U of A is likely to get one at some point next semester. Now that his eligibility is of no concern after transferring to IMG Academy, Duke appears to have become the quick favorite according to 247 Sports.
His recruitment is one that has moved at a snail’s pace and we likely won't get a decision until April.
- The staff is still keeping its eye on east coast prospect Hamidou Diallo. Arizona is in his top six and should receive a visit unless things change over the next month. He talked to Evan Daniels last week and spoke up about his recruitment and Arizona:
“Coach Book [Richardson] and coach Sean Miller been up to my school a bunch of times, probably 3. They’re just really good at recruiting, Coach Sean Miller seems like a great guy, just feels like a family atmosphere and I haven’t really got to visit Arizona so I can't really tell you how much I really feel while I was on campus but they’re in the Pac 12, I’m really interested in that conference, up and down in transition so that’s why Arizona is on my list.”
- Kenny Wooten, who reclassified from 2016 to 2017, is getting interest from Arizona plus others. No visits have been planned to Tucson at the moment
- Five-star 2018 target Brandon Williams is having surgery, ending his junior season.
I'm working on a 2018 target list that will be out sometime soon, but until then Happy Holidays!
You can follow Alec on Twitter for the latest in Arizona Basketball Recruiting: @UofAlec