Pateev Enjoys ASU Visit

Montverde Academy (Fla.) center Ruslan Pateev has narrowed down his list of favorites to four, and he kicked off his official visits with a trip to Arizona State this past weekend. Devils Digest caught up with Montverde's head coach Kevin Sutton, who gave us the center's impressions of his Tempe trip.

"He had a very good time there," said Sutton. "He was very impressed with the program, the campus and the facilities. Ruslan was very impressed with the direction the program is going into and how in only Coach Sendek's third year the program is already one of the best in the Pac-10."

Sutton added that the Russian center enjoyed meeting Arizona State sophomore Rihards Kuksiks, who hails from the same region Pateev came from (Latvia) and just like the Sun Devil prospect did prep at a Florida academy.

"I can't say it will be a deciding factor," commented Sutton, "but it can only help because he would be around a person that he would be familiar and comfortable with. With a person like that (Kuksiks) Ruslan would probably be more open in dialogue."

Pateev left yesterday for his second official visit destination, North Carolina State. The weekend of November 7th the center will visit Florida State. "We're having conversations with SMU for him to possibly visit there and if he visits there that would be the last one," stated Sutton.

That tentative visit to SMU will likely mean that Pateev won't sign on the first day of the early signing period which is November 12th (the period ends on Nov. 19th). Sutton indicated that is "quite possible" that the center will sign in November and not wait for the late signing period of April of next year to make his decision official.

"If he finds what he's looking for academically, athletically and socially then I think he will sign early and get that decision out of the way," explained Sutton. "I don't deal much with recruiting once the season starts."

Sutton doesn't accompany Pateev during his visits. He believes that his center should experience the school on his own since he will eventually attend the college of his choice by himself. "He's comes to me after the visit and reports on what he saw," said Sutton. "He also informs his family back in Russia about the process and tells them where they can look up the schools he's visiting."

Pateev averaged 10 points, 10 boards, and three blocked shots a game as a junior for Montverde Academy which finished this past season with a 24-6 record and nationally ranked. The center was an honorable All-Area mention at the conclusion of last season.

In a past Devils Digest interview Sutton said the following regarding Pateev's skills: "He's very skilled and runs the floor well. He can play with his face to the basket, but can also score on the block…he's a solid defender that's hard to score on."

The Montverde head coach stated that Pateev's impression of the Sun Devils has naturally been enhanced since he officially visited them. "Being there is much more impressive than seeing pictures or researching the school online," remarked Sutton. "Being there in person carries more weight."

"He visited Arizona State and was impressed. Now he'll visit some other schools and he will be able to compare visits and see what each school offers."

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