We’ve flipped the calendars and with it comes college football. We made it!
However, still running in the background is the never-ending saga of college basketball recruiting. It’s been a couple of months since I last formally updated how the 2017 basketball class is shaping up. If you’ve been following along on Twitter, you’ve probably gotten the spark notes version of things.
While there’s a ways to go in this recruiting cycle – a good number of the top recruits will probably wait until April to commit – this is where things stand right now.
First, the Arizona Wildcats have their first commit of the class in Alex Barcello from Corona Del Sol in Tempe. For Sean Miller, or any coach that is, keeping local talent is key. We’ll have more on him and his commitment later in the week.
There are three players locked in for official visits with more expected in the weeks and months ahead.
With how popular and exciting the Red-Blue game has become, the coaching staff, like other schools with big preseason events, is trying to get recruits to come for that spectacle. So far, Ira Lee and Daejon Davis will be in attendance for the game on October 14th.
Lee has told me he wants to be committed before his senior season starts, which would suggest a late October date. Arizona’s in a great position for this all-around forward.
The next weekend, five-star forward P.J. Washington out of Findlay Prep will visit Tucson. Arizona will be his second-to-last visit with Texas having the last act.
This is where it gets a little crazy.
Sean Miller and his staff are considered some of the best in basketball recruiting and their track record backs it up. If it wasn’t for Terrance Ferguson’s change of heart, U of A would have had another top-three class for the third-consecutive year.
This year, their work has paid off so far. At one point, Arizona was on the final list of over 20 top players in the country. That list has come down slightly and currently stands at 17, not including commitments and visits (so really at 21 overall).
We’ll start from the top (fewest teams) and work our way down:
- DeAndre Ayton: Final three with Kansas and Kentucky
- Billy Preston: Top-four with USC, Kansas, and Maryland
- Nick Richards: Top-five along with Kentucky, UConn, Syracuse, and Indiana
- Gary Trent Jr.: Final five along with Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, and UCLA
- Lonnie Walker: Top-five along with Miami, Syracuse, Villanova, and Kentucky
- Wendell Carter: While Arizona’s on his top-8, along with UNC, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Georgia, Harvard, and California, I’d say the Duke Blue Devils are in the driver’s seat.
- Charles O’Bannon Jr.: The son of a UCLA great has Arizona, Washington, Texas, Oregon, UNLV, Kansas, NC State, and UCLA on his final-eight. However, the Wildcats look to be on the outside with four of his visits announced and none of them ending up in Tucson.
- Jordan Tucker: Top-eight with Duke, Villanova, USC, Maryland, Syracuse, Indiana, and Louisville
- Troy Brown: While he announced his official visits and Arizona did not get one, it shouldn’t knock U of A out of the running as Brown has been on campus before and didn’t need to see it again. His top-eight includes Oregon, Alabama, UNLV, Kansas, Ohio State, California, Arizona, and Georgetown
- Jarred Vanderbilt: Top-nine includes Baylor, UNC, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, Houston, TCU, and Kansas
- Quade Green: Top-nine with Kentucky, Xavier, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Villanova, Temple, and Louisville
- Trevon Duval: Top-9 along with California, Oregon, USC, Kansas, Villanova, Seton Hall, Maryland, and St. John’s
- Kevin Knox: Top-10 is: Alabama, Villanova, Florida State, LSU, Arizona, Duke, UNC, Miami, Kansas, and Kentucky
- Collin Sexton: Top-10 includes Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, NC State, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Villanova. He’s currently visited NC State and will visit Kansas at the end of September. I’d say U of A has a good shot of landing a visit from this five-star.
- DJ Harvey: He has put Arizona in his final 10 which includes Notre Dame, Texas, UConn, Maryland, Oklahoma, Villanova, UCLA, Duke, and Louisville. He’s already officially visited Texas, will visit Notre Dame on September 10, and recently cancelled his trip to Louisville. He’ll have three more official visits to announce.
- Matt Coleman: Top-10 list includes Texas, Syracuse, Stanford, Arizona, Washington, Xavier, NC State, Louisville, Seton Hall, and Virginia
- Brandon Randolph: Randolph calls this his ‘Big-12’: Louisville, Alabama, Miami, Arizona, Indiana, Notre Dame, Oregon, North Carolina, Kansas, Syracuse, Xavier, and Wake Forest
- Brian Bowen: Top-12 includes: Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky, Oregon, Texas, NC State, UNLV, Kansas, Creighton, UCLA
- Brandon McCoy: You may have noticed he hasn’t been included yet on this list. This is because he hasn’t officially declared a ‘top’ list. He did unofficially visit Arizona on June 11 and was in attendance for last year’s Red-Blue game. At the beginning of August, McCoy checked out the L.A. schools. With him being one of the most talented big men in the country, his list is long and heavily tilted towards the country’s best schools.
As you can tell, Arizona is battling the same schools for these top players, which is not new. The most important step now is to get these players on campus for official visits.
I expect more and more announcements about those dates in the coming week/months as some players want to get those figured out before their high school season starts.
As I’ve said in the past, this class should be five or six deep, which allows Miller the opportunity to take some early commits, while keeping a spot or two open for those who are waiting.
You can follow Alec on Twitter for the latest in Arizona Wildcats Recruiting news.