2012 recruiting an indication of more

Arizona is in good shape with numerous recruits in the 2012 class. While it shows Arizona is recruiting well, is there more to it than that?

As summer is now upon us, the 2012 recruiting class has become the topic of hot conversation around the country.

The west coast has been considered ‘down' in recent years in terms of talent, but that should change with this class, as players like Shabazz Muhammad, Brandon Ashley, and Grant Jerrett have emerged as some of the top players in the nation.

One thing all of these recruits have in common is their pursuit by Arizona head coach Sean Miller. While Jerrett has already given his verbal pledge, both Ashley and Muhammad seem interested in an opportunity to play in Tucson.

Shabazz Muhammad recently took a trip to McKale Center, just one day after Coach Miller decided to remain at Arizona, and he liked what he saw.

"I liked it a lot," he said. "It was fun. I was talking with Coach Sean Miller and saw some players workout, then I toured the gym and the campus. The campus was really nice. I felt real comfortable there."

Early in his recruitment it was widely speculated that Muhammad was a lock to play for Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins.

Now, that doesn't seem like such a sure thing.

"They're up there now," said Muhammad of Arizona. "At first I wasn't really considering the UA, but I'm definitely considering them now. After going to the visit and feeling more comfortable with the campus and talking to Coach Miller, I definitely liked him and they're definitely going to continue to be in my recruitment."

At the surface this may seem like just another instance of Arizona battling to secure a recruit.

However, when looking globally at the situation it becomes more apparent of the shift that is occurring in the West.

In the past, very rarely was Arizona, or any other school, able to pry away a high-level recruit from the UCLA Bruins. This was near impossible, primarily due to its history under legendary coach, John Wooden, and the associated aura that surrounds the UCLA program and the bright lights of Los Angeles.

That has begun to change since Sean Miller arrived in Tucson.

In 2010, Arizona was able to secure a commitment from two-time California state champion, Jordin Mayes, of Westchester High School in Los Angeles.

In 2011, Arizona was able to sign Scout's 11th overall player, Josiah Turner, who played high school in Sacramento, California.

Joining Turner will be Angelo Chol, of San Diego Hoover High School, who holds the California state record for most blocked shots in a season. The two players from The Golden State will enroll in Tucson later this summer.

Further, as previously mentioned, Arizona has already secured a commitment from highly skilled 2012 forward, Grant Jerrett, and is also in very good position for the 1st overall power forward in the class, Brandon Ashley.

The recent addition of top-ranked 2012 Small Forward, Shabazz Muhammad, to this list should be considered anything but a coincidence.

Since his decision to stay at Arizona, it has become even more apparent to those in the Pac-12 conference, and around the country, that Coach Miller is building something special in Tucson.

No longer is UCLA seen as the same dominant program it once was in the Wooden Era.

No longer is it near impossible for Arizona to pull high-level talent out of UCLA's backyard.

And, no longer do elite players like Shabazz Muhammad see UCLA as the only top program west of Lawrence, Kansas.

"I just feel like Coach Miller has a good program," he explains. "It was a good decision for him to stay because his program is a really good one. They're coming up and winning a lot of games."

And, it is because of those wins, coupled with the hard work of Miller's staff, that Arizona has begun to establish itself as the new premier program in the West.

Muhammad may just be another high school player trying to pick a college team, but his recruitment, and subsequent decision, symbolizes much, much more than that.

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