Commitments from Cooper Jr., Jerrett indicate Miller has arrived in West coast recruitingby Javier Morales on Nov. 27, 2010, under Sports
- Arizona’s chance to land Class of 2012 prospect not out of reach
- Eric Cooper Sr. reliving the recruiting process with Arizona again 25 years later
Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School coach Jim Harris, a 31-year coaching veteran in California, indicated to me last year that Arizona coach Sean Miller is not too far off from establishing a recruiting base in the West.
“Lute (Olson) was very much into recruiting this area, partly because he coached high school basketball around here,” said Harris, who coaches against Santa Ana Mater Dei, a program that has turned out former UA standouts Miles Simon, Reggie Geary and junior center Alex Jacobson.
“He knew a lot of us coaches who have been around a while. When he expressed interest in a player, he got the information and help he needed because of his connections. Coach Miller is starting to do that.
“Arizona is a national university as far as basketball is concerned. All that needs to happen now is for Coach Miller to lay the groundwork in California and be consistent in recruiting this area. I can certainly see him doing that consistently.
“A lot of the coaches and players in California have that same positive feeling about Arizona as before and that’s partly because of Coach Miller. He’s off to an impressive start.”
Harris’ comments were last November before Miller beat Kansas for high-profile Sacramento (Calif.) High School guard Josiah Turner. Nick Johnson, a program changer from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, also signed with UA after comitting in August.
In his first recruiting class at Arizona, amassed in a mere three months, Miller inked California products Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill, both of whom are significant reasons why Arizona is 5-0 with a winning margin of 30.6 points heading into tonight’s game against No. 6 Kansas.
In his second class, Miller signed Phoenix North guard Daniel Bejarano (a former Texas commit) and Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester High School point guard Jordin Mayes, who should evolve into one of the better freshmen in the Pac-10 this season.
Before Miller moved from Xavier to Arizona, he did not recruit a player west of the Mississippi. His recruiting focus was on Ohio and other parts of the Midwest in addition to the East coast with New York-based AAU director Book Richardson on his staff.
Miller now has his first Five-Star recruit overall in Turner for the Class of 2011. News broke this morning from Dave Telep of Scout.com that Miller has achieved commitments from Class of 2012 forward Grant Jerrett and Class of 2013 guard Eric Cooper Jr.
Jerrett, a Five-Star prospect, and Cooper play at La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran for former UA player Eric Cooper Sr. They are slated to announce their commitment tonight at a press conference at Lutheran.
Cooper Sr. told me in July that Jerrett, who stands at 6-9 and has a wingspan of 7-1, is a coach’s dream.
“He’s not an egomaniac,” Cooper Sr. said.
“He’s not concerned with being the superstar but he’s going to be a superstar. He does not take bad shots. I tell him just be a player and be an impossible matchup. If you’re on a big, take him outside. If the guy guarding you is small, take him inside. Dirk Nowitzki does that in the NBA.”
Cooper Jr., added to the the Team USA Developmental National Team (Under 16) earlier this fall, was unable to play during the summer AAU tournaments because of a stress fracture in his right leg.
“He got caught up in a situation where his bones are growing at the same time he had the stress fracture,” Cooper Sr. told me. “He’s growing and trying to play at the same time. The doctors feel it’s best that he take some time off to let it heal.”
Any concerns about Miller and his staff (primarily Archie Miller and James Whitford, who recruit mostly in the West) being able to sign top-notch talent in these parts can be put to bed. Miller also has a streak going against Kansas coach Bill Self for landing recruits.
Self won the battle for Baltimore’s Josh Selby last year. Miller nabbed Turner, Jerrett and Cooper Jr., all of whom were recruited by Kansas.
Belmont Shore coach Dinos Trigonis, the AAU coach for Cooper Jr. and Jerrett, indicated to media this morning that UCLA, Washington, Duke, USC and Texas expressed a strong interest in both of them. North Carolina coach Dean Smith was also the Tar Heels’ primary recruiter for Jerrett. He attended most of Jerrett’s games during the summer in Las Vegas.
Comments from recruiting guru Van Coleman, the editor of Hoopmasters.com, on Jerrett and Cooper Jr.:
On Jerrett: “He is a talented face-up junior, who Hoopmasters has rated as No. 24 in the Class of 2012. He is just coming into his own as a dominate face-up player. He can handle and create drive or pop 15 to 17 footers off the dribble. As he gets stronger, he will become an impact talent in the Pac-10.”
On Cooper Jr.: “He is a rangy 6-4 combo guard who has tools to mature into a point at the next level. He is currently rated our No. 35 sophomore. He has the ability to score from three or off the dribble and is becoming a solid passer off the dribble. He will be an immediate contributor down the road for the Cats.”
Verbal commitments are non-binding. Miller and has staff are unable to comment about Jerrett and Cooper Jr. per NCAA rules.