Craig Victor, a five-star power forward who will play for powerhouse Findlay Prep as a senior, committed to the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.
Victor, formerly of New Orleans St. Augustine High, made the announcement in a ceremony in his hometown. He will transfer to Findlay in Henderson, Nev., where current Wildcats Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley also finished their high school careers.
Victor (6-8, 225) is noted for his toughness and defensive commitment. He is ranked as high as the 14th-best prospect and as low as No. 47 among five major recruiting services.
Victor picked Arizona over LSU in a recruiting drama that analysts deemed too close to call. Arizona had been considered the long-time leader, but the Tigers made a late push when it hired former UCLA assistant Korey McCray in June.
Oklahoma State, Kansas and Louisville were other finalists who lost out.
Arizona recruits nationally, but it did have a specific New Orleans connection with assistant coach Joe Pasternack, a native of the city who was the head coach at the University of New Orleans from 2007-11.
As far as a scouting report, 247sports national basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said this in a recent story:
“Athletic forward who plays with energy; making progress as a back to the basket scorer; improving his shooting range; most dangerous as a rebounder; can defend in the low post and defend a forward on the perimeter; runs the floor well; more of a finisher than creator/playmaker.”
Here is the take of Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News:
“Like most high school frontcourt players, Victor long has enjoyed the advantage of being taller and stronger than typical opponents. He is a clever scorer in and around the lane. But to become a serious contributor as his career progresses, he’ll need either to continue to develop his perimeter shot or become a hungry, rebound-first/last/always sort of player.”
The Sporting News ranks Victor at No. 22 in its list of the Top 25 prospects.
Gary Randazzo of WildcatSportsReport.com (one of our TucsonCitizen.com sports partners) evaluated Victor with the New Orleans Elite during the travel ball circuit.
“Victor is one of those right-place-at-the-right-time kind of players,” Randazzo said. “He has a knack of reading what the ball-handler is doing and then finding a path to the rim for easy catch-and-scores, or just out-muscling defenders for offensive rebounds and putbacks.”
Victor is the second commitment for Arizona’s 2014 class, the other being speedy 5-9 point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright from Los Angeles Loyola High. He is a borderline Top 50 prospect among the recruiting services.
This is a great start to a recruiting class that could go five or six deep as Arizona anticipates multiple early departures after next season, but the Wildcats are going to need to surround Victor and Jackson-Cartwright, a pass-first point, with elite scoring threats.
Here are the national recruiting ranks for each of UA’s two committed players:
Who was the inside man for Arizona? How about asst coach Joe Pasternak, New Orleans native. Recruiting = relationships
— Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) August 17, 2013
LSU will be tough to beat with Johnny Jones at the helm for in-state talent. That's what makes it impressive for Arizona to get Victor.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 17, 2013