There are several story lines that will be on display during Saturday's scrimmage and some of them will be more emotional than others. But from a recruiting standpoint, this is a huge weekend.
2013 wings Keith Frazier and Stephen Domingo will be in town on unofficials but the most talked about recruit will be 2012 center, Kaleb Tarczewski. This recruitment had taken shape more and more over the summer and as we inch toward Signing Day, Tarczewski wanted to take two official visits to make sure he was going to make the right choice.
Sean Miller and Arizona were able to get into this recruitment in late June when Tarczewski took an unofficial to Tucson. He was impressed to say the least and the recruitment took off from that point on.
But the 7-foot-0, 220-pound center from Southborough, Mass. has gone back and forth between Arizona and the Kansas Jayhawks so much that he decided to take two final trips: one to Late Night at the Phog this previous weekend and to the Red and Blue Game at Arizona this upcoming weekend.
National Recruiting Analyst Josh Gershon remains close to the situation and says that this weekend is Arizona's last big chance to make that impression.
"It's going to be a real important weekend for Arizona," said Gershon. "Kansas did a good job this past weekend. He has been on that campus five times now and he knows that coaching staff for years. Arizona has long time been considered a long shot because of the familiarity that Tarczewski has had with Kansas. But he is fresh off the visit from Kansas and Arizona is going to have one last shot at it."
What is uncertain is when Tarczewski wants to make a final decision. It does not seem like the situation could play out too much longer. "I would imagine it wouldn't take longer 7-10 days," said Gershon. "He has a good idea on each school and they both have told him where he fits in and he knows their sales pitches."
A key to this weekend will be Arizona's 2012 commitment class as it is expected to be in full attendance. Brandon Ashley, Gabe York, and Grant Jerrett are all scheduled to be in Tucson, which will allow for all of them to try and convince Tarczewski to join them in being future Wildcats.
Many of the top prospects in the country know each other from playing with and against each other throughout the year, but as late as August York and Tarczewski played on the same team at Adidas Nations. York spoke about telling the 7-footer plenty of good stuff about why he should be a Wildcat, but would give him the space to make the decision on his own. Now, York will continue to recruit and be joined by Ashley and Jerrett as it the first time all three commits will be at Arizona together.
Joining Tarczewski during the Red and Blue Game will be 2013 wings Keith Frazier and Stephen Domingo. Frazier is ranked 12th in the nation according to Scout.com and Domingo is 31. Both players may be hard to pull but getting them on campus for such an event is already a major step for Arizona.
Domingo has shown interest in Arizona since summer of 2010 and it seems now that Arizona is ready to really push the envelope. In addition,Frazier has taken the time out to head to Arizona and Gershon thinks that considering what Arizona is looking for in the class of 2013, both players fit that need.
"It's clear that Arizona is looking for a tall shooter at the wing position in 2013," explained Gershon. "Both Keith Frazier and Stephen Domingo fit that mold, have shot making ability at that size and can really knock it down from deep. Both have a lot of upside and Arizona's staff is expecting an atmosphere with the crowd and with the committed (2012) class being there. It is interesting to see if Arizona can make up some ground in those two recruitments."
Also, at the Red and Blue game this year that will be great for everyone who attends is that many alumni will be in attendance, as both Chase Budinger and Derrick Williams will be inducted the McKale Center Ring of Honor.
Budinger had a great career at Arizona but it was Williams who may go down as one of the most influential Wildcats ever. Arizona was almost down and out when he arrived and while Coach Miller is a great hire, Williams did it on the court.
With an Elite Eight run and great recruiting, Arizona is now back on track. Tarczewski will be able to see the community and its response to the many great players that have worn an Arizona jersey. Other alumni expected to be in attendance are Joseph Blair, Channing Frye, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Corey Williams, Jordan Hill and Jason Terry.