The commitment of Brandon Ashley to Arizona marks another huge get by head coach Sean Miller. After months of speculation regarding the 6-foot-8 power forward from Findlay Prep, Ashley finally pulled to trigger and decided UA was the place for him.
Ashley fills a big need for a player in the post. While the Wildcats bring in two players that figure to make noise underneath the basket in the 2011 class, Arizona is still relatively short-handed on big men. Now with one of the top-rated forwards in the 2012 class on board, the future of UA's frontcourt has a lot of promise.
Ashley picked UA over several other schools, including UCLA and Kentucky, which is another sign of just how far Arizona's reputation has come under Miller. Right before Miller arrived, Arizona had enough turmoil surrounding it to scare off even the mid-level recruits, but now there is little doubt that UA is one of, if not the top destination on the west coast for high school prospects.
The commitment of Ashley is huge for the Wildcats as it shows that they have the ability to recruit more than just wing players and point guards consistently. With Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol from the 2011 class and now Ashley in 2012, Arizona is showing the ability to address its needs with some of the top players on the board at every position. A school generally known for its success in the backcourt is starting to put the pieces together in the post as well.
For Ashley it's a great situation. He will undoubtedly get a chance to play early in his college career. UA has bodies up front, but lacks depth and Ashley will at least provide that.
Ashley has a high ceiling and ample athleticism that is sure to translate well at the college level. With Miller and his staff guiding him, there isn't much doubt that Ashley should be able to succeed at Arizona. His ability to run the floor is a perfect attribute for Miller's offense and should allow him to be a viable piece to the puzzle.
One thing Ashley has to work on is his strength, but it's highly doubtful that will be an issue once he hits the floor for Arizona. With strength and conditioning Coach Chris Rounds being one of the best in the business, Ashley should be able to develop his body to the point where his power should be a positive aspect to his game rather than a question mark.
The commitment of Ashley should also make Arizona a more attractive school for any prospect that considering UA as a potential destination – such as Kaleb Tarczewski – as the Wildcats' class already appears to be in the discussion for a top three ranking after adding Ashley.
It shouldn't surprise people any longer that Miller is able to recruit the way he does. He was able to put together one of the best classes in the nation in just a couple of months after taking the job in 2009. He has now been able to recruit highly-touted classes in both 2011 and 2012, making it three out of his four years as UA head coach that he was able to land one of the nation's top groups.
Many so-called experts called Arizona a rebuilding project that would take years to get back to the level it was accustomed to being at. Miller has defied the naysayers both on and off the court with the way he has coached and recruited. Now with Ashley in the fold, Miller continues to prove why he is one of the best, most well-rounded coaches in the country.
Ashley decision has impact
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