Recruiting update and overview

Although recruiting never really stops for college basketball coaches, things kick into high gear at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament. It is no different for the Wildcat coaches. With one commitment already in place the coaches hit the road to evaluate players and refine their wish lists.

The AAU summer circuit starts this weekend with the Boo Williams Tournament and does not cool off until the last week of July. By then there will be hot new prospects, superstars who solidify their reputations and players who will see their stock drop.

The Wildcat coaches have already had one busy week. Josh Pastner was on the road to watch a number of players. He went to Houston along with Lute Olson to see Wildcat commitment Jawann McClellan, plus a number of talented Houston area players, including some of the younger guys ,like Nick Wise, From the Class of 2006 who will be the focus of recruiting wars in years to come, and Joseph Jones, a 6-8, 235 pound power forward in the Class of 2004.

Pastner came in off the road and Rodney Tention went with Olson to Los Angeles to watch Jordan Farmar and possibly some other players in the SoCal area. It was also believed that he may head up to Oakland and Washington to check on a couple of other prospects.

Versatility seems to be the key to this class. The Wildcats have loads of talent, so players who can play multiple positions or do a variety of things well are the focus. The Wildcats had great success with "combo" players like Luke Walton and Salim Stoudamire. Olson and his staff seem to be pursuing players who give them flexibility. This year the Wildcats benefited from having Walton slide between the three and four spots and Stoudamire start at the two and then spelled Jason Gardner at the point from time to time.

Washington is home to Marvin Williams who at this time may be the Cats' top recruiting prospect. The 6-9 Williams is regarded as one of the best combo-forwards in the nation. Last summer Williams played with his back to the basket, showcasing nice post moves and great timing for blocking shots. During his high school season he showed that he has the quickness and ball handling skills to be a small forward as well. He seems to fit into the mold of the new style of small forwards that the NBA covets. Like Walton and Ndudi Ebi, Williams could very well play either forward positions.

Williams has every big name school on his list and will be one of the most watched recruiting battles of the summer. Kansas, North Carolina, Washington and Arizona are considered the top four.

The Cats have recently begun taking a greater interest in Houston's Joseph Jones. Jones is a 6-8, 235 pound power forward who drew the attention of the staff while playing at the Nike Camp last summer.

Guards are also a target of the Wildcats. McClellan will come in and give the Wildcats another shooter. Salim Stoudamire looks to be a four-year player, but the same can't be said for Hassan Adams, Mustafa Shakur and Chris Rodgers. In this day and age you never know when a player will jump to the pros or transfer out of the program. The Cats don't want to be caught short.

It is due to this fact that they may now be pursuing junior college combo-guard Randy Pulley for this year's class. Pulley is known as a "power guard" and, with Will Bynum already gone and the ever-changing nature of most elite-level programs, Pulley may very well be a talented insurance policy. Published reports have Pulley leaning towards Arizona while other sources said he was a Texas lean. Now we know that Pulley has Colorado, Charlotte, UNLV, Arizona and maybe Rutgers on his list and will begin making on-campus visits this weeks.

Our sources say at this time a scholarship offer is not on the table for Pulley, however, if/when he makes his UA campus visit that scholarship will likely be offered. The 6-3 guard from Barton County CC may also be seen as a possible experienced back up for the true freshman Shakur. In addition to playing last season at Barton County CC, Pulley played his freshman year at Saint Louis University.

Regardless of who he favors, Pulley wants to see what develops with T.J. Ford's pro career and of course what other offers develop before he considers pulling the trigger to Texas or anywhere else. Wildcat coaches did visit Pulley this week, and although Pulley might not make a decision immediately, he is eligible to play this fall and must decide soon. I would not be surprised to see Pulley on the UA campus for a visit in the very near future.

Guards for the class of 2004 are also high on the list. Arizona has apparently offered a pair of guards, who bring a lot of other skills to the table. Darius Washington of Florida is a great scorer who is one of the top point guards in the nation. He's a guy who may really be a combo-guard due to his ability to put points on the board and was recently named the best shooting guard in the country by Dave Telep.

Peoria's Shaun Livingston is more of a pure point guard, but comes in the body of a wing. At 6-6, Livingston can play three positions but is best with the ball in his hands. Although he can score, Livingston seems more content to get his teammates involved. He's currently considered the top point guard prospect in the nation.

Several Southern California guards are on the radar as well. Los Angeles Taft's Jordan Farmar is a fast rising star and could be the guy the Wildcats eventually target. Farmar is another great passer and has long been a fan of the Wildcats' point guard tradition. Stanford appeals to his mother, while Gonzaga has been pursuing him for a long time. Farmar has taken one official visit, to Gonzaga. He was watched by the Wildcat coaches this week before heading to the Boo Williams Tournament.

Gabriel Pruitt (Westchester) is another fast rising L.A. player who is getting attention. A great shooter, at 6-2 Williams could play either guard spot. Quentin Thomas of Oakland Tech is also being looked at desp

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