Shaun Pruitt giving Wildcats renewed interest

Shaun Pruitt, a 6-7 forward from Aurora (West), Ill., has some Midwest schools on his list, but he says Arizona has always been among those he's considering. Ndudi Ebi's decision to jump to the NBA has improved the UA's position. I spoke with Pruitt at the Nike Camp today and there's no doubt he's still interested, but…...

...staying close to home might still be the biggest obstacle in the way of luring Pruitt to the Old Pueblo.

"That's not going to make my decision," Pruitt said. "But I've been told that when you enter the recruiting process you want to consider a school that's comfortable even if you're not playing basketball. So if that's the case, and it kind of is, then a school in the Big Ten would be the school to go to. I'm not saying that's the school I'm going to choose, but I do want to be comfortable so I'm looking at being close to home as an option."

Arizona has always been on the outside looking in, and it's never easy to recruit a player away from his home area. But the UA coaching staff has kept in contact with Pruitt and Ebi's defection to the NBA certainly hasn't hurt its chances.

"There's definitely some interest in Arizona," Pruitt said. "Especially since Ebi's not there. They can definitely use a player like me. I might not be a guaranteed starter, but I think I can get some minutes and that's nice."

Pruitt has taken unofficial visits to Marquette, Illinois and Wisconsin. He's also considering Indiana and Michigan State. He said he's not as familiar with Arizona as he is the other schools on his list.

Pruitt has spoken with Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner, but before he visits the Arizona campus he wants to hear from Lute Olson.

"I talked to (the assistants) and they asked me if (staying close to home) is going to be a factor," Pruitt said. "They tell me about coming in and playing right away since Ebi left."

Pruitt, at 222 pounds, is much more physical than Ebi and more of a power player.

"I consider myself a four/three," Pruitt said. "I play the four first. I think Ebi is more of three/four, but I'm more of a four/three. But I think I'm definitely versatile like he is."

Pruitt injured his ankle during the high school season and is still suffering the effects of the injury. But he hopes he can display the skills that have made him one of the most sought-after power players in the Class of 2004.

"I need to work on my ball-handling, especially my right hand," Pruitt said. "I also need to work on my explosiveness. Most of the players at this camp get noticed because they're doing a lot of dunking and I don't know if I'm there yet. I'm still trying to get over my ankle injury."

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