Recruiting heats up with in-home visits starting Thursdayby Javier Morales on Sep. 08, 2010, under Sports
RELATED LINK: NCAA recruiting calendar for 2010-11 school year
Five names from the Class of 2011 appear certain to be visited by Arizona coaches after the contact period starts tomorrow: Nick Johnson and Sidiki Johnson (both of whom have already verbally committed), and Josiah Turner, Quinn Cook and Angelo Chol.
Turner, a point guard from Sacramento, is scheduled to have an in-home visit tomorrow with UA coach Sean Miller in what will be a crucial development in Turner’s recruiting process. Nick Johnson, Turner’s summer AAU teammate with the Drew Gooden Soldiers, will also be visited in Henderson, Nev., where he plays for Findlay Prep.
Cook and Sidiki Johnson, teammates with Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy, should receive a visit from UA coaches, including assistant Book Richardson, by Friday.
Chol, a San Diego Hoover High School forward, will be viewed in workout session next week by Miller, his coach Ollie Goulston told me Wednesday. Goulson added that an in-home visit has not yet been scheduled with Arizona, which is a late-comer in his recruiting process.
“Arizona had not recruited him, but this summer, Sean started talking to Angelo and Angelo decided to open things up with them,” Goulston said. “He has some longer standing relationships with other coaches (specifically from Kansas, Alabama and Washington), but he wants to learn more about Arizona.”
North Carolina is similar to Arizona in that it started recruiting Chol in earnest this summer.
A reliable source indicated to me Tuesday that Chol is tentatively looking at the weekend of Oct. 22-24 to visit Tucson. The annual Red-Blue scrimmage at McKale Center will take place Oct. 24. “He could very well visit Arizona this fall, or he could visit later,” added Goulston, who indicated that Chol will definitely sign in the spring.
Turner and Nick Johnson are slated to be in Tucson next weekend (Sept. 17-18). Cook and Sidiki Johnson were originally scheduled to officially visit the week after, but the visit might be rescheduled in October depending on whether doctors will clear Cook to travel. He was examined Sept. 3 and although his right knee did not have a torn ACL, doctors have ordered him to rest and rehabilitate the knee for at least a month.
Detroit Country Day School center Amir Williams, rated among the best at his position in this class by recruiting services, is also reportedly being recruited by Arizona. Williams, however, has a long list of high-profile suitors and is believed to be a long shot for the Wildcats.
Chol, a 6-9 fierce rebounder and shot blocker, will visit Alabama this weekend. He also has visits lined up for Kansas (Oct. 15-16) and Washington in February.
Why is Arizona recruiting Chol? The Wildcats already have a power forward in Sidiki Johnson in this class but the Oak Hill player has battled knee soreness over the last year. Johnson’s experience with Steve Smith‘s heralded Oak Hill program will help him develop more as a player and person (he played sparingly as a junior last year at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J.).
Last season at St. Benedict’s, Johnson averaged 5.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. His season high was 14 points. Dan Hurley left St. Benedict’s in May for the head coaching job at Wagner.
“I don’t think I was used right, but it was a good experience playing there under Coach Hurley,” Johnson told me in July in Las Vegas. “I think I matured a lot in his system.”
After observing both play this summer in Las Vegas, it appears Chol is more spry on his feet and versatile. Chol can play significant minutes for any Division I program right away. Sidiki Johnson, 6-9, will improve after he gets through his growing pains. In my opinion, he may require a redshirt season to be adequately prepared for major college basketball.
Chol provides skills unmatched by Arizona’s current frontcourt players. He is tenacious around the glass and he has a smooth left-handed release 15- to 18-feet from the basket. He also runs the floor like a guard, fast and fluid. That’s the kind of versatility Miller loves in a player because it creates matchup problems.
“He’s one of the hardest workers who has come through this program,” said Goulston, who also coached UA senior Jamelle Horne at Hoover. “He’s a tough guy to defend because he can extend, handle and shoot the ball facing the basket.”
Goulston said Chol will not immediately have in-home visits with Washington, Alabama or Kansas coaches because he recently returned from Singapore, where he was part of Team USA’s Youth Olympic squad that finished fourth. He averaged 7.4 points and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game in the games there.