With the commitment of Kaleb Tarczewski, head coach Sean Miller has scored his first five-star center as Tarczewski is currently ranked as the eight best prospect in the country and the fifth best center in the class of 2012.
It was a tough decision process for Tarczewski, who really struggled with choosing between Arizona and Kansas. Over the last couple of months during the recruitment, the big man went back and forth as to which school would fit him the best.
The situation came down to Tarczewski wanting to take official visits to both schools as he went to Kansas for Late Night at the Phog on October 14, and then to Arizona for the Red/Blue Scrimmage on October 22. Tarczewski left Kansas without making a commitment, so it was up to Arizona to close on a golden opportunity.
The visit proved to be great for Arizona and post visit, Tarczewski pledged to the Wildcats. Tarczewski now joins forward Grant Jerrett, shooting guard Gabe York, and Brandon Ashley as the fourth player committed to Arizona in the class of 2012.
Arizona has wanted a true center that can make an immediate impact and Tarczewski falls right into that category. The 7-foot-0, 220-pound true center will be able to make Miller's system more versatile with the use of a player that can play his back to the basket.
Tarczewski is able to make strong moves to the basket while posting up and can score going over either shoulder. He has some touch in close as he has the baby hook in his arsenal that still has room to get better.
The Southborough, Mass. native's strength inside is dunking the ball with authority. He has good athleticism and finishes well and at times very hard.
Tarczewski is also a good on ball defender as he does a good job of being honest to the opposite big with the ball. He is not known for his shot blocking ability, but can alter shots going to the basket.
His help side defense can definitely improve as well as his knowledge on where to be on the defensive end when not guarding the ball. All of these things are normal for a high school center as they often do most of their learning from position coaches at the college level.
Miller's name has been attached to David West and Derrick Brown at Xavier as well as Derrick Williams, who have all seen success being versatile big men. There is no doubt the impact that Williams' success will have on Miller and Arizona as he helped restore the image that players such as Tarczewski want to be a part of.
A true 7-footer on the roster will be a big test for Miller as he now has the difficult task of taking a player with high expectations and turning him into a player that can help Arizona get to that next level.
The thought process now becomes with three elite level front court players committed to the Wildcats in the class, how does it effect the roster and how can these three players play together at the next level?
All three have been recruited and told that the group is wanted as a whole at Arizona. There were no secrets and it is a huge deal that Miller was able to land all three. The beauty is that Jerrett, Ashley and Tarczewski all have different skill sets.
With Jerrett being able to play both center and power forward and Tarczewski playing strictly center, it allows for there to be versatility for Ashley. Jerrett is able to shoot the ball from midrange while Ashley is developing a good ability to score from different parts of the court.
Ashley hopes to be able to see his game evolve out on the wing just a bit. The 6-foot-8, 190-pound forward plays a face up game and this summer showed an ability to hit shots from about 18 feet out.
If he can improve his ball handling skills, a possibility of seeing Ashley, Jerrett, and Tarczewski on the court at the same time can get higher. Also keep in mind that a projected front court includes those three, Kyryl Natyazhko, Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol as well.
The front court is crowded at this point but it is too early to project that the roster will shape up that way. For now, the addition of Tarczewski is a major get for the Arizona Wildcats.
Add in Gabe York and Arizona has one of the best classes on paper that the program has ever seen, all within three years of Miller arriving in Tucson.
Miller set out to get these three elite, front court players who happen to all be five-star and promising prospects and he accomplished that goal. Miller is now known as an elite level recruiter and is also putting a good product on the court that Arizona fans have to proud of.