The Wildcats are in hot pursuit of some of the nation's most talented players. If that isn't enough to stir the pot, they might also be bringing in a transfer."> The Wildcats are in hot pursuit of some of the nation's most talented players. If that isn't enough to stir the pot, they might also be bringing in a transfer.">

Camp recap with a twist

The Nike and ABCD Camps have concluded and for the next few days the coaches can contact players they've evaluated. Some players will be getting that first call, others are on the "follow up" list.<BR> The Wildcats are in hot pursuit of some of the nation's most talented players. If that isn't enough to stir the pot, they might also be bringing in a transfer.

Lute Olson and Josh Pastner sat courtside and watched Darnell Jackson every time he took the floor. Olson and Pastner were not simply there to evaluate Jackson, they knew he could play. They wanted Jackson to know the Cats were seriously recruiting him. It wasn't enough.

Jackson, a 6-9 power forward from Midwest City (HS), Okla., chose the Kansas Jayhawks over Arizona and Oklahoma. He had also considered Purdue, New Mexico and Illinois.

Jackson might have been at the top of the Cats' list. Now they'll turn their attention to a few other big men and work at getting more involved with a couple of players not previously on "the list" who played well at the camps.

Brian Johnson, Mohamad Tangara and Davis Nwanko were already established and will surely get more attention now that Jackson is out of the picture. All three are of interest, but each has an obstacle or two in the path that leads to Tucson.

Johnson is the most polished of the three, but rumor has him heading to Carolina. However, I've heard the Cats are not about to give up until he announces his decision. From my brief conversations with Johnson, I have to think the Tar Heels are the prohibitive favorite, but Arizona is a solid #2.

Tangara is also going to receive some additional pressure from the UA staff. Tangara, who came to the states from Mali, Africa, has some difficulty with the English language. But he came to this country for one reason, to play in the NBA. College is simply a stepping stone to his ultimate goal, and if Tangara can leap past college he'll do it in a minute. Do the Wildcats want to deal with another Ebi-like situation? I'm not sure. I'd also be concerned with any player who plays at Mt. Zion Academy in Durham, NC and lists Memphis, Miami (Fla.) and Louisville among his favorites.

Nwankwo might be the least talented of the trio, but he also might have the most potential. Nwankwo doesn't always play hard and that's the knock on him. But when he gives a maximum effort, he can be a force. Nwankwo has a list of schools, but it's common knowledge that Stanford and Arizona lead the pack.

Magnum Rolle, the 6-11 Bahamian that hit Nike by storm, will receive calls from Arizona and just about all the biggies. Rolle went to the Nike Camp as a relative unknown. Then he turned the heads of Lute Olson, Ben Howland, Mike Jarvis and a trail of other impressive head coaches in attendance. He'll get some calls.

Robert Rothbart, a 7-0 European big man who played at Cupertino (Monta Vista), Calif. last season, also got noticed. Rothbart, at 192 lbs., is not going outmuscle anybody in the paint and he seemed somewhat intimidated when he took his game to the blocks. But the more you watch him play, the more impressed you have to be. Rothbart might be a project, but with some added weight on his skinny frame he'll be a player.

And it's not like Rothbart isn't getting some good advice. He works out with ex-Cal big man Al Grigsby and pals around with Sacramento Kings center Vlade Divac. In fact, Rothbart will soon move to Sacramento where he will attend Natomas High School next fall.

Rothbart has taken an official visit to Missouri and been recruited hard by Indiana. Both have offered scholarships. He'll get a call from Arizona and don't be too surprised if the Wildcats jump to the top of his list.

Another California newcomer to jump on the Wildcats list is Lorenzo Mata, a 6-9 big man from South Gate (HS), Calif. Mata was also without a rep until he burst onto the scene last season. He has some work to do in the classroom, but he's getting very good marks on the basketball court.

Most of the Pac-10 schools and Texas Tech have been involved. Arizona was interested enough to request a transcript and will evaluate his game more during the summer. Only time will tell just how hard they go after Mata, but there is interest.

Now the latest and most surprising development.

Apparently Arizona is very interested in Brandon Bowman, who asked for and was recently was given his release from Georgetown University. Bowman, a 6-8 wing, played along side Hassan Adams and helped Los Angeles Westchester win the state championship in 2002.

Bowman might be a very good "quick fix" for the Wildcats. With only nine scholarship players on the roster, Bowman could come in and fill the role of a practice player while learning Arizona system. Bowman was the starting wing man for the Hoyas as a freshman last season and could step into that spot if Andre Iguodala opts for the NBA after this season.

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