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Arizona basketball notes: Miller’s recruiting prowess, a change to the court, Fogg’s shooting

Sean Miller has the program pointed toward another highly rated recruiting class. Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

ESPNU has updated its basketball recruiting rankings for the 2012 class, with two Arizona recruits rated among the nation’s finest.

Grant Jerrett, a 6-10 forward from Lutheran High School in La Verne, Calif., is No. 10 nationally. Gabe York, a 6-1 guard from Orange (Calif.) Lutheran is rated No. 37.

As it is, ESPN’s ranks these two committed players as the third-best recruiting class in the nation.

There is still a long way to go, though, and coach Sean Miller is pushing for two more top 10 recruits — forward Brandon Ashley of Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev. (the same school as UA incoming freshman Nick Johnson) and 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski from St. Mark’s in Southborough, Mass.

ESPNU rates Ashley as the fifth-best prospect in the country. Tarczewski is No. 7.

I recently finished writing a feature on Arizona coach Sean Miller for Lindy’s College Basketball magazine, and here’s a quote about him from Joel Francisco, who covers recruiting in the west for ESPN.com:

“When Miller is at games, you can tell he is studying the players and not just showing up to be seen and visiting with other coaches. He is a true ‘evaluator’ and not just a ‘recruiter.’ And he is a genuinely nice guy — very approachable and very easy-going.”

There is now little doubt that Miller and his coaching staff can recruit off the national top 100 list — or top 50, or top 25 — which was a question about him when he arrived. He built superb Xavier teams with a keen eye and player development … but the Arizona brand has opened new recruiting doors for him.

Not that he much cares where recruits are rated by the various scouting services.

“I know some of the guys we’re getting now might be ranked higher, but we really try to just recruit players and people who we think can help us be a great team and program and are a good fit in Tucson,” Miller said.

“Whether they are McDonald’s All-American or not doesn’t matter to us as much as, can they be a great fit to what we’re doing.”

* * *

Miller told me recently (when I talked to him for the story for Lindy’s) that he expects the biggest improvement in senior guard Kyle Fogg’s game to be shooting.

Fogg shot 35.5 percent (50 of 141) from 3-point range last season after hitting 41.7 percent (48 of 115) as a sophomore.

“I think Kyle will shoot the ball really well,” Miller said.

“He spent a lot of time shooting the 3. He is probably the first one to tell you he was more streaky as a junior than maybe he was as a sophomore. To me, he’ll be more consistent in his ability to score in double figures this year.”

* * *

Arizona has refinished the McKale Center court and has added an advertisement (on both sides along the baseline) for the University of Arizona Health Network.

The network’s logo is above the text: “The University of Arizona Medical Center.”

And, naturally, the Pac-10 logos on the court, to the left side of each lane, have been replaced by Pac-12 logos.

* * *

ESPN.com’s Paul Biancardi recently picked York as his breakout player from the July scouting period:

He wrote:

I watched Compton Magic SG Gabe York (Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran) drop 46 points on a talented and stacked Indiana Elite team in Indianapolis. York fires up 3s in a confident manner and he can stop on a dime and make them in transition. In pick-and-roll action, he makes his defender pay when he goes under the screen and can hit stare-down jumpers behind the arc. Whenever his team gets an offensive rebound, his teammates would search him out and would quickly get him a shot behind the line. If you get too close and crowd him he will drive it, and he has the savvy to create fouls and score from the free throw line. He has a true scorer’s mentality.

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