Tucker ‘Blown Away' by Tempe Visit

One of the most athletic guards in the country, San Diego University City high school star Rico Tucker, recently made an unofficial visit to Arizona State University along with his father Terry Tucker. DevilsDigest spoke with Terry about their visit to Tempe and the remarkable 57-point performance his son put forth in a game last weekend at the San Diego State University team camp.

Late last year, 2004 prospect Rico Tucker, a two-sport star with several Pac-10 football scholarship offers decided he was ready to make an early commitment – to play basketball at the University of San Diego. At 5-11 and 180 pounds, Tucker had decided that a love for the game of basketball and future health considerations made it the correct decision for him.

As his junior year unfolded early this year, Tucker realized that his verbal commitment had been hastily made out of joy and excitement and he re-opened his recruitment. What has happened next has been a whirlwind.

Tucker had a spectacular junior year on the hardwood, which included numerous 30-point performances and eventually bigger name schools started to take note. This spring, Tucker received a promotion from Pump ‘N Run's high-quality ‘B' team, Double Pump, to the elite squad which features top 100 national players Jordan Farmar (UCLA commit), Bryce Taylor (Oregon commit) and Lorenzo Mata among other standouts.

At Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions, held in North Carolina, Tucker made his first appearance with the elite squad and the result was a prestigious event championship. According to Terry Tucker, the addition of his son and another player was pivotal. "They brought Rico onto the team and they brought (Jared) Dudley onto the team and that just changed the whole team. It gave them another guy that could handle the ball, another guy that could defend, and it took some of the pressure of Jordan. They were killing teams in the Gibbons."

One of the primary reasons the Tuckers were so interested in making the trip was the fact that at the time, Rico had been offered a scholarship to North Carolina State. Since that time however, a transfer has filled the Wolfpack void and Tucker is looking at a wide range of schools with varying degrees of interest, according to Terry, including Minnesota, Gonzaga, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Colorado, San Diego and San Francisco.

While certain schools are showing quite a bit of interest: "The ones that have really stepped up are Minnesota, Gonzaga and San Diego," according to Terry, there is little doubt that some of the bigger name schools on the list will closely follow Rico's performances this summer at events such as the prestigious Nike Camp in Indianapolis, the second session of the Pump Camp in Los Angeles, the Adidas Big Time in Las Vegas, and the Best of Summer Classic in Los Angeles.

One thing that may have recently sparked further interest from some of these high majors is a recent dominating performance at the San Diego State team camp. Rico went off for 57 points including 10 or 11 three pointers. The opposition couldn't stop him despite going to a zone and eventually employing a box-and-one scheme. Down 18 points with three minutes left, Rico brought his team back to tie in regulation and win in an overtime period where he scored all of his team's points. Terry says, "I told him, I said ‘Son that was the best you've ever played.' And it was the best he'd ever played.

Following last weekend's spectacular performance, Terry and Rico made an unofficial Monday visit to the Arizona State campus and were "blown away," according to the elder Tucker. "We were able to meet Coach Evans and his wife. They were nice enough to come out even though he was still down a little bit from (hip replacement) surgery. They just showed us their program, how it was set up, how it's more of a family type atmosphere. Coach Evans and his wife want to be like a second set of parents for the kids."

"It was just totally first-class," Terry continued. "We talk to a lot of coaches and the thing that really impressed me about Coach Evans is – he has the 5 at 5 (players are made to run 5 miles at 5 a.m. for academic transgressions such as missing class) and the academic monitoring. All of the kids live in the dorms right next to where they practice. They have to check in on a daily basis with [the staff]. All of the coaching staff was really on the same page, and I really liked that."

Rico was able to meet and speak with Ike Diogu and Keith Wooden among others and he even had the opportunity to work out with Jason Braxton. He and his father also met Eddie House, the NBA free agent and former Sun Devil star, who was on campus to work on finishing his undergraduate degree in summer school.

Rico Tucker is in the midst of summer school himself, but his performances won't occur in any classroom. His examinations will take place at some of the major evaluation events in July, in front of gymnasiums packed with countless college coaches and talent evaluators. A good July showing, coupled with a potential domino effect of elite point guard commitments could result in further high major scholarship offers for Tucker – the offers he's wanted all along. That would be joyous and exciting indeed.

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