Bejarano’s signing shows UA should expect unexpectedby Javier Morales on Nov. 19, 2009, under Sports
Here we are, the fall signing period over, and the lone Class of 2010 recruit inked is Phoenix North High School shooting guard Daniel Bejarano. I thought I would never write this line but — Who woulda thunk it?
At the turn of October, the UA coaches had not even talked to the one-time 5-star recruit (as rated by Rivals.com). In about a week, Bejarano de-committed from Texas, had a scholarship offer from ASU taken away, visited Arizona and committed to the Wildcats. UA coach Sean Miller was fortunate to quickly land a player of Bejarano’s caliber after recruiting top-notch Class of 2010 talent for almost six months, including the July evaluation period.
Arizona theoretically has one scholarship remaining to fill for next year’s class (that’s if Dondre Wise’s scholarship is only a one-year deal). So the recruiting for the Class of 2010 is not over, although only a handful of players remain, including Detroit Country Day School point guard Ray McCallum Jr.
A quick analysis of the Class of 2010 recruiting developments for Miller and Co.:
- For whatever reason, the relationship between Portland Jefferson (Ore.) standout forward Terrence Jones and Arizona became non-existent after Jones did not immediately agree to an official visit to Tucson.
- I placed Jones as the primary disappointment although the UA had a player commit (Concord, Mass., Middlesex School forward Rod Odom) then de-commit and then sign with Vanderbilt. Jones, in my opinion, was too good to let get away, but it appears to be a case in which the UA coaches believed they were fighting a losing battle. Look for Jones to play close to home at Oregon or Washington.
- Odom’s about-face in a matter of a couple of weeks was peculiar in that he and his father said academics were not an issue when he committed to Arizona. When Odom opted for Vanderbilt, he claimed that academics and distance from home were factors in de-committing from Arizona. I contend it was only a case of distance from his East coast home in New York City. The mind of a 17-year-old has a funny way of working when the distance to friends, especially one of the opposite sex, comes into play.
- Losing McCallum to another school will be a disappointment unless the young playmaker chooses in the spring to play for his father at Detroit Mercy.
- San Diego-area product James Johnson decided to attend Virginia after taking an official visit there. A visit to Arizona was forthcoming but he canceled that. It appeared that Miller and his staff made Johnson a priority after the July evaluation period — they were the first to schedule an in-home visit with the redheaded star.
- Indianapolis product Dominique Ferguson, who talked about his respect for former UA guard Jason Gardner — who hailed from Indy — early in the recruiting process, abruptly committed to Isiah Thomas at Florida International shortly after the July evaluation tournaments. He and McCallum talked about joining Trey Zeigler in Tucson as a trifecta when they played together in a Las Vegas tourament. It appears that not one of them will be with the Wildcats next season.
- The fact that Arizona was unable to be a major player for standouts such as Cory Joseph of Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep, Zeigler of Mount Pleasant (Mich.) and Keala King of Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei, to name a few, is disappointing but not surprising. These three and others were recruited by Arizona but they never really had the Cats in their plans because of the unknown of Miller at Arizona and the lack of available scholarships. Once Miller establishes an identity this season in Tucson things will be different.
- Class of 2011 power forward Sidiki Johnson of New Your committed early to Arizona. Will he honor that commitment over almost two years? No reason to believe he won’t, but don’t take anything for granted in recruiting
- For the die-hard UA fan, you have to admire what former player and assistant Josh Pastner has achieved in a short time at Memphis. Pastner, unjustly criticized for his recruiting efforts at Arizona, has inked three of the 12 best Class of 2010 recruits — all 5-star prospects accordig to Rivals.com: Jelan Kendrick of Marietta (GA), Will Barton of Wolfboro (NH) and Joe Jackson of Memphis.
- Bejarano’s signing not only maintains the UA’s dominance over ASU for the top in-state talent but he can potentially be an answer for the UA’s questionable shooting ability from the perimeter exhibited thus far this season.
- Out of the six players Miller has signed for the Class of 2009 and 2010, three are from the West coast: Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill and Bejarano. That’s a good start to build a base in the region against the likes of UCLA, USC, Washington, Cal, Gonzaga, etc. The schools I listed and plenty of others would love to have any of these guys. Miller is to be commended. He may have struck out against other West coast talent like Terrence Jones, Anthony Brown (Stanford) and Gary Franklin and Richard Solomon (Cal), but there is plenty of hope ahead. No need to worry about how Miller will fare in the West although he is not widely known in the area.
- Lute Olson’s first recruiting haul included primarily players from California — Steve Kerr (Pacific Palisades), Michael Tait (Bellflower), and JC transfer Pete Williams (Walnut) — and one from Washington (Van Beard from Seattle). Eddie Smith was the other recruit, a JC player from Wichita. Olson’s immediate success recruiting the West coast was a result of his earlier days as a high school coach in California and his time at Long Beach. He had already developed relationships. Miller will do the same in the West but he will also continue to make Arizona a national program. The disappointments I’ve listed will someday be overshadowed by success stories, most likely starting with the Class of 2012.