Javier Morales took first place in the 2010 Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. For a different look at University of Arizona sports, check out Javier’s unique Web site: WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
Of Sean Miller‘s first three recruiting classes since 2009 — which consisted of 12 players — only five remain. Of those five who are slated to be part of the 2012-13 roster, only two have consistently started in their careers. And one of those is a player who just completed his freshman season: Nick Johnson. The other is senior-to-be Solomon Hill.
Gone prematurely from Miller’s first class are Derrick Williams (Miller’s biggest catch who jumped to the NBA after his sophomore season), Lamont “MoMo” Jones (transferred to Iona after his sophomore season), and Kyryl Natyazhko (who announced Wednesday that he will not return for his senior season so he can pursue a professional career overseas).
Daniel Bejarano, from Miller’s second class in 2010, transferred to Colorado State after playing minimal minutes as a freshman. And no longer around from last year’s heralded class is five-star point guard Josiah Turner (who announced Wednesday his intention to transfer) and Sidiki Johnson (who transferred to Providence early this season after spending time in Miller’s doghouse).
Jesse Perry, from the Class of 2010, completed his two-year career after transferring from John A. Logan (Ill.) Community College.
Other than Hill and Nick Johnson, the others who have remained on board include Kevin Parrom from the Class of 2009, Jordin Mayes from the Class of 2010 and Angelo Chol from the Class of 2011.
With Perry going the distance, that means six players — or 50 percent of Miller’s first three classes — left early. Despite this alarming rate of turnover, Miller’s team will be ranked in the top 20 next year. That’s largely because of Miller’s coaching and recruiting ability. His class of 2012 — highlighted by promising big men such as Brandon Ashley, Grant Jarrett and Kaleb Tarczewski — is rated by some experts as the best in the nation.
Will it be the best class Arizona has featured in the last 40 years? Time will tell.
As has become an annual ritual here, I have updated the ratings for each UA recruiting class since the late Fred Snowden was hired in 1972.