The 2012 class grew by one on Sunday night as shooting guard Gabe York out of Orange (Calif.) Lutheran committed to Arizona. York becomes the second player Sean Miller has officially landed in the 2012 class and the UA head coach continues to impress on the recruiting trail.
Several weeks ago, York was not even on UA's radar or vice versa. Both parties involved seemed to be focused in different directions and there wasn't much of a chance – at that time – the two would end up together by the middle of July.
Many figured Arizona was going full-force after Shabazz Muhammad (which may still be the case) and that York was nothing more than a fall-back option, but one look at what the shooting guard is capable of should tell you that York should be anything other than an afterthought.
Other than Derrick Williams, Arizona hasn't had a player that can create his own shot with consistency and that appears to be exactly what York can do. He certainly isn't shy about taking shots, but the product from Orange also has shooting range that isn't matched by many.
Not only that, but York has proven he can score from all over the court. His stroke makes him deadly from deep and his athleticism will cause defenders to take note of his ability to drive and finish. What could assist him even further is his mid-range game. An area that seems to elude a large portion of players at the high school and AAU levels, York has a leg up on the competition with his ability to hit shots in the 10-19 foot range.
With the noise Arizona has created on the recruiting front over the past 12 months, York may come across as a bit of an afterthought with commits like 2011 prospects Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson, as well as the pursuit of the highly-touted Muhammad. But one look at York's game and style should immediately alleviate the idea that he is taking a backseat to anyone.
Let's not forget the type of impact Miller has one players like York. The Wildcats' head coach generally gets the most out of his recruits and while no coach has a 100 percent success rate in terms of developing players, Miller's short track record at UA should help ease some of the concerns the fan-base could potentially have.
He was able to take Williams – a three-star prospect – and mold him into one of the best all-around players in college basketball; as well as the number two pick in this year's draft after only two seasons of college basketball. His 2010 class wasn't impressive on paper and his highest-rated recruit has already transferred, but the players that stuck around – Jordin Mayes and Jesse Perry – were key contributors on a squad that was a hair-width away from the Final Four.
Neither Mayes nor Perry was heavily pursued by major programs. Before he hit the floor, many thought Mayes would be a player that would hardly see the floor initially. Fans knew Perry would see the floor due to the lack of depth up front, but there was no telling whether or not he would make much of an impact.
Mayes ended up being one of the most reliable bench players the Wildcats brought into the game while Perry eventually overtook Jamelle Horne as the starting power forward. No one was going to confuse Mayes with Kemba Walker, but his play off the bench was one of the biggest reasons UA won big games in the tournament. Perry's bruising style of play and non-stop motor was a necessity considering Arizona would have lacked that physical presence down low all season without him.
York has a higher ceiling and more natural basketball talent than either of those players. That's not to take anything from Mayes or Perry as both will undoubtedly be huge factors in the 2011-12 season, but the fact is that York's game and potential is much higher at this point in his career and under Miller's tutelage, York has a great chance of realizing what he is capable of.
It may not bring the bang the Turner commitment brought or a Muhammad commit could potentially bring, but York isn't a player to scoff at. He is rated four stars and was pursued by big programs for a reason – he is a very good basketball player that can become a lot better. With York in the fold, Arizona is asset in the backcourt over the next several years.
Fans should be excited about York
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