Miller lands first targeted West coast recruitby Javier Morales on Feb. 01, 2010, under Sports
Lute Olson‘s staff started Arizona’s recruitment of Jordin Mayes when the guard was a freshman playing in the AAU circuit in 2007, but new coach Sean Miller closed the deal Monday as Mayes committed to the Wildcats.
Mayes and his father Darryel Mayes, who was part of the 1979-80 UNLV basketball team under Jerry Tarkanian, visited the UA campus over the weekend.
“I saw that I can fit in pretty well at point guard and help out,” Jordin Mayes told me Monday night after he helped lead his Los Angeles Westchester team to a rout over rival Los Angeles Fairfax.
Mayes, a 6-2 guard who can also play at the No. 2 (shooting guard position), was sold on the direction Miller has the Arizona program headed after it got out of kilter following Olson’s leave absence and subsequent retirement before last season.
“Jordin always had Arizona in the back of his mind,” Darryel Mayes told me. “That program has a great history with Lute, but it was just not the same as it used to be right after he left.
“Once Sean got the job, I remember telling Jordin that he now has a chance to open things back up with Arizona. I remembered Sean from Xavier. I saw how he developed those Xavier kids. Jordin didn’t know much about Sean at the time he was hired. That’s why I’m here, to draw the clearest picture for him.”
Jordin didn’t know much about Sean at the time he was hired.
That statement means a great deal in Miller’s challenge of becoming more of a household name to West coast recruits. Miller is not accustomed to recruiting in the Pac-10 region with his coaching background mostly in the Midwest and East. Before the season, I asked UA freshman Solomon Hill, who played at Los Angeles Fairfax, about how Miller is perceived in California.
“He may not be well known like other coaches, but that won’t last too long, especially with Derrick (Williams) and me out here now,” Hill said, referring to Williams, who prepped at La Mirada (Calif.) High School.
Miller was able to land Hill and Williams indirectly. Hill committed to Arizona when Olson coached, de-committed when Olson left and re-committed when Miller was hired. Williams got out of his letter of intent with USC after Tim Floyd resigned and chose the Cats over Memphis.
Mayes becomes the first California prospect who has gone through the normal recruiting process to commit to Miller at Arizona. He officially visited Boston College, Cal and Utah before committing after touring the UA campus with his father. He contemplated visiting Oklahoma but went with his gut by picking Arizona.
“There’s no question that to some kids out West that Miller will have to prove himself,” Darryel Mayes said. “Jordin got to see Miller in action this weekend and he came away impressed with how he prepares his team.”
The Wildcats’ rousing 76-72 victory over Cal with comedian actor Bill Murray in attendance at McKale Center enhanced the younger Mayes’ opinion of how fun it would be to play for Miller. The game was televised nationally on Fox Sports Net, so recruits from Los Angeles to New York City got a look at how Miller is restoring Arizona winning ways.
“Sean Miller’s a good coach,” Jordin Mayes told me Monday night after Westchester defeated Hill’s former team. “He expects a lot from his players. He will get on them but he also lets them play. They do the same things on offense we do at Westchester; they get out and run.”
Per NCAA rules, Miller and his staff are not allowed to comment about recruits who have not signed a national letter of intent. Mayes’ verbal commitment is non-binding. He can officially become a Wildcat when the spring signing period starts April 14.