Conklin to walk-on

Eric Conklin will walk on to the Arizona basketball team this summer. Read on for more about his decision, including why he turned down other scholarship offers to become a Wildcat.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller continues to build his roster for next season and it's not all about the players that will be on scholarship.

Earlier this week, Scottsdale Chaparral forward Eric Conklin accepted a walk-on position with the Wildcats.

"I went down there a couple days ago to check things out and meet with the coaches," Conklin said. "They offered me the walk-on spot and I accepted it."

Conklin chose Arizona over numerous Division-II scholarship offers and an offer from Utah Valley State following his commitment to Arizona.

"Going through recruiting, the one place I wanted to go was the place that I could picture myself going even without basketball," Conklin said. "I grew up watching Arizona games and it's away from home, but not too far. It fit the mold the best and it's why I chose Arizona.

"I had a numerous Division-II offers, but that wasn't the route I wanted to go. I could play at those schools, but I know the overall experience will be better at Arizona."

Conlin chose Arizona for numerous reasons, including ones that go beyond the court.

"I really like the program and the tradition," he said. "I feel like I can get a quality education and continue my basketball career there."

It is easy to see what caught the coaches' eye in Conklin. At 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, he is a big body that plays hard in practices and games. The senior also has good grades that he hopes to continue at the college level.

"They like that I have a high motor," he said. "The coaches said that they know I'm a smart kid and I can get it done on the court and in the classroom. They also like that I'm big, strong, and physical in the way that I play."

Once he saw campus, Conklin immediately fell in love with the school. The forward has plenty of classmates that are also attending the University of Arizona and has family history there as well.

"The school itself is beautiful and the weather is nice," he said. "A lot of people from my high school have gone there or are going there. My mom went there and I know that the education there is first rate, so I'm happy with my decision.

"The family atmosphere there is great and I love the program. I'm really looking forward to it."

As for his role on the team, Conklin just wants to better himself as a basketball player by doing whatever the team needs. The coaches have already given him the assignment of guarding the team's tallest player, but the newcomer gladly accepts the challenge.

"I always want to play with the best players and I think that's the best way to get better," Conklin said. "I'm looking forward to getting down there and changing the way I do things to fit the college game. I want to go hard in the weight room and gym and become a better basketball player.

"The coaches have said I'm going to be guarding Tarczewski in practice, which is new for me, but I'm always looking forward to playing the biggest and the best. He's seven-feet tall and he's a big guy, but I'm ready to play against him and Aaron Gordon. He's one of the best out there. I'm excited to play against and with all of them."

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