Bejarano’s pending transfer reduces Arizona scholarship overload to oneby Javier Morales on Apr. 24, 2011, under Sports
With the likely transfer of guard Daniel Bejarano this week from the Arizona basketball program, coach Sean Miller needs to address only one more scholarship spot.
The Wildcats currently have 13 scholarship spots filled if all four of their Class of 2011 recruits attend the UA starting this summer. Those recruits are point guard Josiah Turner, guard-wing Nick Johnson, power forward Sidiki Johnson and post player Angelo Chol.
Because of the UA’s self-imposed penalty in 2011-12, following alleged improprieties involved with the elite youth basketball tournament Cactus Classic toward the end of the Lute Olson era, Miller has only 12 scholarship spots next year, instead of the customary 13.
Bejarano’s likely transfer, Derrick Williams‘ decision to leave for the NBA after his sophomore season, and Jamelle Horne exhausting his eligibility means these nine current players are under scholarship (classification is for the 2011-12 season):
Guards (4): Kyle Fogg, Sr.; Lamont “MoMo” Jones, Jr.; Brendon Lavender, Sr.; and Jordin Mayes, Soph.
Forwards (3): Solomon Hill, Jr.; Kevin Parrom, Jr.; and Jesse Perry, Sr.
Centers (2): Alex Jacobson, Sr., and Kyryl Natyazhko, Jr.
To allow room for Turner, Nick Johnson, Sidiki Johnson and Chol, one of these nine scholarship spots must be relinquished.
The prevailing thought is Jacobson, who will be a fifth-year player after redshirting his freshman season, will either transfer and be eligible immediately at a lower-classified university, or he will complete his degree requirements without the scholarship since he is almost finished.
The other possibility is Natyazhko playing professionally in Europe, perhaps in his home country of Ukraine.
Or an unforeseen transfer will occur from the other seven current scholarship players.
If Miller must address the remaining scholarship overload with a senior, such as Jacobson or Lavender, it becomes a sensitive topic. For one, those guys have spent a lot of time in the classroom and in practice at Arizona. Another, the whole premise that players should stay at an institution for four years becomes obsolete if a coach decides that the program would be better served without a senior who has paid his dues.
Arguments for Miller in this situation — if it comes about — is that he did not recruit either Jacobson or Lavender and he gets paid handsomely to make Arizona a competitive program, and he would normally have 13 scholarship spots but matters out of his control precluded him from having that number.
NOTE: The unofficial visit of Class of 2012 Five-Star wing player Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas Bishop Gorman) on Wednesday to the UA campus means the talented player will have the Wildcats among his finalists when he decides in November. Count on Miller and assistants Book Richardson and James Whitford to be impressive enough in their presentation to make that happen. … If Miller is able to persuade Muhammad and Gorman teammate Rosco Allen to attend Arizona rather than UNLV, it would be quite a coup. Gorman is coached by Grant Rice, brother of new Running Rebels coach Dave Rice. The recruiting rivalry between UNLV and Arizona would grow more intense, invoking the memories of when Jerry Tarkanian called Olson “Midnight Lute” for snatching away Tom Tolbert at the last minute in 1986.