Citizen Staff Writer
Sean Miller’s impact is already being felt.
Over the weekend, the new University of Arizona basketball coach picked up one oral commitment, while another could come later this week.
Saturday, UA received a commitment from center Kyryl Natyazhko (KAH-rill NAHT-yazh-ko). Then, Sunday afternoon, Solomon Hill said he’s continuing to keep UA on his list along with USC.
Although Rivals.com reported that Hill will be a Wildcat, Hill said Sunday he will decide in about a week.
Hill committed to Arizona last summer, but decommitted when then-coach Lute Olson suddenly retired in late October.
Hill, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, then chose USC, although he said it was a difficult decision because he liked Arizona.
He is ranked as the No. 28 player in the country by Rivals and No. 64 by Scout.com.
Natyazhko, 6 feet 10 inches, 250 pounds, made his decision official after an all-star game Saturday night in Louisville, Ky. He picked the Wildcats over Arizona State.
“There were some other elements, but it just came down to his relationship with (Miller),” Vince Walden, Natyazhko’s coach, told The Arizona Republic on Saturday.
Miller had recruited him while at Xavier.
Natyazhko averaged 24 points and nine rebounds a game for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He was listed as the No. 9 big man by Rivals and the No. 75 player overall. Scout.com listed him No. 68 overall.
Hill said Sunday he planned to speak to Miller and USC coach Tim Floyd.
“But the situation (at Arizona) looks nice,” Hill said. “They got a recruit (Saturday). I’m weighing my options and looking over it.”
Hill said the Trojans’ loss or losses – guard Daniel Hackett has declared for the NBA and more players may leave early – may become a factor.
That Miller is now coaching Arizona is another.
“I’ve been leaning toward UA but I haven’t talked to coach Floyd,” Hill said. “I just can’t commit to a different school without talking to him.”
Hill said “it was all about business,” but said that before he made a oral commitment to USC in the winter, Floyd told him he wouldn’t like it if Hill looked at other schools to attend.
“He said that if I did that, he’d have to look at other (players), too,” Hill said.
Floyd recently looked into leaving for the Arizona head coaching job before turning down the Wildcats.
“He goes to look at Arizona and I can’t look at another school?” Hill asked. “That was a big thing with me. That’s a reason why UA is becoming a big part of (the decision). . . . I understand the business.”
Miller, less than a week after being named the coach, could have up to six available scholarships for next year’s recruiting class.
Last week, UA juniors Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill declared for the NBA draft.
It’s not clear what junior guard Nic Wise will do. He said it’s “more than likely” he will test the NBA waters to see what his draft status is.
The spring signing period for recruits begins Wednesday.