The Double Pump Spring Tournament in Colorado presented the opportunity to see several prospects that Arizona is targeting in action. Many of them did not disappoint and one particular team had three prospects alone that led it to the tournament championship.
The Houston Defenders Select 17's division featured a ton of athleticism mixed with high basketball IQ and in every contest of the weekend it controlled the paint thanks in large part to 2012 center Shaquille Cleare.
Cleare is every bit up to the challenge of controlling the lane and so far, throughout his career, he has done it well. The 6-foot-9, 280-pound center has got all the tools necessary to be successful at the next level and if he keeps working, perhaps even the top level as well.
The five-star prospect has great feet and hands, soft touch around the rim to go along with necessary power to finish plays and can pass the ball out of the post well. But if you ask him, he still wants to improve on quite a few areas in his game.
"I'm good at finishing strong around the basket," said Cleare. "I have to work on conditioning, being able to run the floor, post up early, stay out of foul trouble and learn how to move my feet. Also just work on my free throws as well."
With his exceptional skill level at his size, Cleare no doubt has schools all over the country vying for his services at the next level. Cleare senses that his recruitment should again heat up quite a bit.
"It has slowed down a little bit after the NCAA tournament," explained Cleare. "I know it will pick back up, but so far it is going well. The list of schools is Maryland, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and many more. Some of them have offered already but I can't remember who all offered right now."
Cleare claims that he is wide open at this point and says that he has no favorites, but does have some interest in Arizona. His lead recruiter is assistant coach Emmanuel Richardson and he has established a good relationship with Coach Book.
"I talk to Coach Book," said Cleare with a smile. "He's a comedian and he is straight up real with you."
Richardson and head coach Sean Miller have done a good job to regain the feel of family with the basketball program in Tucson. It has rewarded the program with good recruits and a 30-win season this previous year.
Cleare says he is looking for a place that he feels comfortable with that loves to win.
"I'm looking for a great team that I can go into and have like a brotherhood," he said. "Something like a family, have fun and get better."
The opportunity to take official visits will begin this summer and Cleare will look to start taking some then, but is undecided on which five will receive the visits.
‘Probably soon," said Cleare. "Maybe in the middle of AAU season, when I have a break from tournaments or whatever, but I'm still not sure where I'm going yet."
Cleare looking at options
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