RELATED LINK AT WILDCATSPORTSREPORT.COM: Las Vegas Bishop Gorman forward Ben Carter recruitment heats up from Arizona and others
LAS VEGAS — Arizona assistant coach Archie Miller could not attend Saturday night’s double-overtime thriller between Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman here because of a prior engagement in Pullman, Wash.
So Miller went to his next-best option knowing that some recognizable coaches would be in attendance at Cox Pavilion, which is adjacent to Thomas and Mack Arena, UNLV’s home arena. Lon Kruger and his Rebels staff were among the many collegiate coaches watching the prospects on the Findlay and Gorman rosters.
More appropriately, these coaches attended Findlay’s 89-86 victory to be seen by the players and the parents or guardians.
With Arizona’s staff in the Palouse coaching the Wildcats to their most important victory in the brief Sean Miller Era, what was their best way to compete against the scenario of UCLA coach Ben Howland sitting courtside next to Jerry Tarkanian?
What was their answer for Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford walking on the court after the game in plain view?
Findlay guard Nick Johnson, a Class of 2011 signee with Arizona, became an extension of the Wildcat coaching staff. He not only had the task of guarding potential McDonald’s All-American Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman, but also show Muhammad’s teammates — Class of 2012 standouts Rosco Allen and Ben Carter — what could lie ahead if they team with Johnson at Arizona.
“I talked to Archie and he said just go at them,” said Johnson, when asked about playing against the potential future teammates. “Archie said, ‘Make them see what they are still missing.’ I mean, they are young bucks still. We are recruiting them. It would be huge to get them.”
Some of the more optimistic Arizona fans believe the “them” Johnson is talking about should include Muhammad, a slender yet strong 6-foot-6, 205-pound, Class of 2012 wing player who is garnering interest from the nation’s elite including North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Kentucky and Texas. Memphis, coached by former UA player and assistant coach Josh Pastner, is also aggressively recruiting him.
Muhammad contends that he includes Arizona on his list, but even his high school coach Grant Rice insinuated to me after Saturday night’s game that the Wildcats are not in his immediate plans.
“Nick playing against Shabazz tonight was a good individual matchup,” Rice said. “They will probably play each other again in college at some point.”