Who we like

We at Cat Tracks have been to Nike and been to Las Vegas. We have talked to people who were at ABCD, Peach Jam and various smaller AAU tournaments. We have talked to players, coaches, parents and other recruiting experts. We've kept our ears to the ground and watched who various coaches have been watching. After all that we think we have a pretty good idea who interests the Cats.

As best we can tell the Cats are looking at four positions to fill the three available scholarships. The Cats already have shooting guard Jawann McClellan in the fold, so that spot is filled. It seems as if they are looking at combo-guards, wings and post players. The post players can be broken up into physical posts (think Gene Edgerson) and finesse posts (Channing Frye).

With the losses of Ndudi Ebi and Dennis Latimore, plus the possible departure of Channing Frye after next season, it seems as if the Cats' main priority is landing a big man or two.


The Cats really don't have a physical presence in the post. Isaiah Fox is close, but he has yet to prove he is a guy who loves to bang and battle for every board. The Cats need a guy in the mold of an Edgerson or Michael Wright.

My favorites:

1. Brian Johnson, 6-8/230, Bishop O'Connell, Arlington, VA
Johnson is the most polished of the physical bigs. He has very nice offensive skills and can hit the boards. He looks to be a longshot for the Cats. North Carolina is leading, but Johnson's father has said his son will visit Arizona. The UA coaching staff is hoping that will make the difference.

2. Mohamed Tangara, 6-9/230, Mt. Zion, Durham, NC
Tangara is a little more raw than Johnson, but has better upside. His motor is always running and he is a beast on the boards. His offense will come. Many analysts feel the Cats are leading.

3. C.J. Giles, 6-9/215, Rainier Beach, Seattle, WA
Giles' stock is rising. He has shown he is a good rebounder and he has very good athleticism. At this point USC leads, but a lot of the big boys are starting to show more love.

4. Lorenzo Mata, 6-8/210, South Gate (California) HS
Mata hit the radar with a stellar season at South Gate. Until then, he was not being heavily recruited. If grades weren't an issue Mata could be ranked higher. He hits the boards and does not seem to mind contact. Mata might have the Wildcats leading, but his challenge is to qualify.

5. Davis Nwankwo, 6-9/220, Georgetown Prep, North Bethesda, MD
Nwankwo is a good player who has the potential to be great. Although he has been well coached in terms of footwork and strategy, he still needs a lot of work on the little things. Stanford and Arizona lead for his services. Finesse Bigs

The Cats have done well with big men like Channing Frye and Loren Woods and they like a number of similar players.

1. Rudy Gay, 6-8/215, Archbishop Spalding, Severn, MD
Gay is a true combo forward, but he can indeed play inside. He is just as likely one of the best wings as he is one of the top power forwards. The Cats have a slim chance of pulling him from the east, but he's worth a try.

2. Magnum Rolle, 6-11/210, Freeport, Bahamas
Rolle is a sleeper on the scene. Much like Kirk Walters last year, not many people know about him. The one word to describe Rolle is "upside". He is very similar to Frye and the most intriguing thing is that he has only been playing organized basketball for two years. Arizona is the definite leader at this time, but Rolle has some academic issues to get in line. He's a good student, but the NCAA Clearing House must certify his classes. To do that he will most likely attend school in the States.

3. Noah Joakin, 6-10/210, Lawrenceville Prep, Long Island, NY
The son of former tennis star Yannick Noah certainly has a nice athletic pedigree. He's very athletic and very smooth. He knows how to play the game and has the magic upside. A host of teams are in the mix, including Arizona and half the Pac-10 along with Maryland, Duke and a host of East Coast schools.

4. Robert Rothbart, 7-0/210, Monte Vista, Cupertino, CA
Rothbart is another player whose stock is rising. He played well at Nike, but skipped the Big Time to help his mom move. He's athletic and can play on the wing, but uses his height well inside. Indiana, Stanford, Missouri and Arizona are in the hunt.


Not necessarily a huge need, but the Cats want to make sure they have an insurance player in case Andre Iguodala leaves early for the NBA.

1. Malik Hairston, 6-5/175, Renaissance, Detroit, MI
Hairston is the best SF in the class but getting him out of the Big Ten could be difficult. He likes a number of teams, but the Cats are in the mix. He's a great shooter, and is a talented slasher as well. He also rebounds well from the perimeter.

2. Alex Galindo, 6-7/195, St. Benedict Prep, Newark, NJ
Galindo has it all, even if one individual skill does not jump out at you. He is a solid rebounder who turns it up in the clutch. He's used to playing with good players and accepting a role, so he's a good chemistry guy.

3. Cheyanne Moore, 6-6/180, West Nottingham Academy, Colora, MD
Moore is a very athletic wing who isn't yet as good a shooter as he is a slasher. He's long and aggressive and is a solid defender when he gets after it. The UA has not been mentioned much in connection with Moore, but he recently expressed interest.

4. Maarty Leunen, 6-8/200, Redmond (Oregon) HS
Leunen is a fundamentally sound player who reminds many of Luke Jackson. He's strong enough to log minutes inside, but his ball skills and outside shot make him more valuable on the perimeter. The Cats may be backing off, which may be for the best as it will be tough to pry him out of the Pacific Northwest. Gonzaga is the leader, but Oregon State and Oregon are close.

5. Richard Roby, 6-6, 175, Lawrence Academy, Groton, MA
Roby is rising. He's a well put together wing who can shoot the ball. Originally from California, he attends prep school in Massachusetts. Roby is still waiting for the big boys to get involved, but a desire for immediate playing time may keep him at schools like Kansas State or Colorado.


The Cats would like insurance at both guard positions. A guy who can get minutes at the point or the two. Olson and Co. know that a crowded backcourt could make some players unhappy but they don't want to be caught shorthanded. They promised Nic Wise they would not recruit a pure PG in '05.

1. Shaun Livingston, 6-6/170, Peoria (Illinois) HS
Make no mistake, Livingston is a pure point guard. His size and skills make him available to play other positions. Mustafa Shakur's presence could make it tough to bring him in, but right now the Cats and Duke are battling for his services with Illinois hanging around.

2. Isaiah Swann, 6-2/180, Hargrave Military Academy
Swann is a true combo guard. In some ways he is reminiscent of current Cats Chris Rodgers or former Wildcat Khalid Reeves. Like Rodgers and Reeves, Swann is a great scorer and he has done it against the nation's best competition last year at Oak Hill. He is very strong and a great rebounder for his size.

Unfortunately for the Cats there aren't many quality combo guards left. Guys like Jordan Farmar, Darius Washington and Aaron Afflao have committed elsewhere. If they don't land one of the two players above, expect them to bring in two posts and a wing.

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