However, I wanted to take a moment to update the Wildcats’ big board for the 2018 season.
The team will have at least three scholarship openings with Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Dusan Ristic, and Keanu Pinder running out of eligibility and a possibility of a fourth with DeAndre Ayton heading to the NBA after the 2017-18 season. So, other than those four, I won’t even begin to guess what the team’s makeup will be like.
The Arizona Big Board
Marvin Bagley III
Bagley has been the nation’s top-ranked player since, well, whenever Rome was a world power. At 6-foot-10, he’s as versatile as they come with an inside and outside game. He also has the ability to attack off the dribble. He’s a unique talent that can lead a team to a National Championship.
He’s also already down to six schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Kentucky, Oregon, and UCLA. He’s for sure a one-and-done. He recently talked to Scout about his list and said that there’s no leader right now and he’ll take his visits to determine where he fits best. Also, he won’t be committing anytime soon — not that anyone was expecting it.
Williams, who visited for the most recent Red-Blue Game, has been to campus multiple times and the coaches have made him a high priority thus far. Ranked as a five-star point guard and 19th overall, he’d be an ideal fit in a long line of successful point guards at Arizona.
He hurt his knee last month and will miss the rest of his junior season for surgery. He should be good to go for his senior year. The staff continued to recruit Ray Smith after his torn ACL, so this injury shouldn’t interrupt Williams’ recruitment.
Norris was also at the Red-Blue Game and is a five-star power forward out of Mater Dei Catholic in California. At 6-foot-10, he’s ranked 17th overall and is a dynamic figure on the court. Though he’ll need to bulk up considerably, his athleticism and potential make him a top target for coaches around the country. Arizona appears to have an inside track on him right now.
Akot narrowed his list to four schools at the beginning of October, but his recruitment has been mostly quiet overall. He’s long, athletic, and can defend multiple positions, something that Sean Miller loves. He recently moved from Canada to Utah to play ball so we’ll have more as the recruitment ramps up. I’d figure this comes down to Utah or Arizona. The staff visited with him in late October.
Ranked eighth overall on Scout, Hoard (6-foot-8, 195 lbs) will begin his first year of basketball in the U.S. this season after making a name for himself at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Spain. He grew up following the Wildcats, which should put them in good shape going forward.
The 6-foot-8, 210 pound forward out of San Diego was also at the Red-Blue Game. Rated as a four-star right now, Cherry brings a versatility that will make him a high target among top tier coaches. With a good shot out to the three-point line and an ability to rebound and bring the ball up the court, his all-around talents would fit nicely in Miller’s motion offense.
Look for a decision mid to late summer of 2017.
Arizona offered the four-star point guard out of New Jersey in October. He told ZagsBlog that U of A is “highly interested in me” and “told me that they want me to be their next point guard.” The 2018 point guard class may be the deepest it has been in years with eight of the top 31 players playing the position.
The son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef has offers from nearly every top program in the country. He and his dad took an unofficial visit to Tucson on November 18 and had a great time. Papa O’Neal has said he wants him to go to Kentucky so we’ll see how much that influences the decision.
The young man’s recruitment is blowing up. At 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, he’s the ideal size for a SF/PF combo that Miller likes to put out on the court, amplifying his team’s versatility.
According to a recent Scout article, “Hamilton said he hears a lot from Kansas, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. California and Arizona have also gotten in the mix, with Louisville the latest to offer. “
One of the top centers in the country, Brown is an athletic big who will make defenders pay with his mobility and footwork. The Cats will likely get an official visit from him and are currently one of the schools recruiting him the hardest.
Liddell was on campus for the Red-Blue Game so he knows all about the Wildcat fanbase. He also has a tight relationship with the U of A coaches, a key part of what he values in the recruiting process. He’s someone I could see making an official visit.
The second-ranked player overall on 247’s Composite (they have him No. 1 on their site), Williamson is a dynamic scorer who is tough, versatile, and will never back down on either end of the court. He reminds me of a Rawle Alkins type, with a somewhat suspect jump shot that will eventually get better.
He’s also been throwing down windmills from all over the court which is pretty ridiculous.
The talented shooting guard from Texas was in attendance for the Red-Blue Game in October and the staff made its way out to visit him the week after.
The brother of former Duke guard Tyus Jones, Tre is a Duke favorite, but the staff has made it a point to reach out to him. Last May, he said, “Arizona and Duke are pretty much the only two that are recruiting me hard right now.” He added to 247 Sports, “I like them a lot, both of them. I’ve been to Duke a couple more times because obviously my brother. But I took a visit to Arizona in February and I got to see that game against UCLA, and it was a great atmosphere, a great campus. I loved that a lot.”
It’s unlikely U of A and Duke are the only ones coming after him hard seven months later, but Arizona should stay in the race the entire way.
It’s not evident that Arizona has officially offered Smith yet, but one would think it would happen at some point.
The top center in the country, Brown told Scout Arizona is one of the schools prioritizing him along with California, Maryland, Florida, Kansas, and Louisville. The seven-footer would make it two straight seasons that Miller landed the best center. He's looking to push his jump shot out to at least 15 feet as well.
A top-five player in the nation, Reddish is a natural talent that has the size to be dominant on both sides of the ball. He owns a seven-foot wingspan, giving him the ability to shut down passing lanes and derail a team's offensive possession.
Ranked in the top-60, LeDee is another long, talented wing who would make an impact on both ends of the court.
Arizona only recently began recruiting King, who is the ideal size for a small forward in both college and the NBA. It appears as if Sean Miller (or really Book Richardson) is one of the first West Coast programs to reach out to the New Jersey prospect. As we’ve seen in the past, Miller has made it a mission to take players from all over the country.
He doesn’t have an offer from U of A yet, but has taken an unofficial to Tucson and liked it. The four-star wing currently has offers from Grand Canyon, SDSU, and USC.
You can follow Alec on Twitter, @UofAlec, for the latest in basketball recruiting coverage.