Nwankwo is a talent, but he may not be the best player the Cats are eyeing for the post. With the likelihood of only Isaiah Fox and Kirk Walters being the only big men on the roster, the Cats will need immediate help in '04. Nwankwo may not be ready to be a huge contributor right away. He's a very talented prospect, but he's thin and is still developing as a player.
If Nwankwo does commit, the Cats could lose out on a player like C.J. Giles or Brian Johnson. Giles may be the Cats' top target, but if Nwankwo does indeed commit, the Cats probably can't land a third big man, especially a top recruit like Giles. The rub is that Giles won't visit Tucson until October and there is no way they can hold off Nwankwo until then. The Cats need help in the post and can't risk losing a player of Nwankwo's stature in hopes they can land a slightly better prospect in Giles.
Giles has narrowed his choices to Arizona, Kansas and Miami, but that could change soon as well. Kansas already has a commitment from Darnell Jackson and are going hard after Alexander Kaun. If Kaun were to commit to Kansas, it could push Giles to the Cats. The problem is that Giles will visit Kansas the weekend of Sept. 26, and he could commit to the Jayhawks at that time. The other problem is that Kaun still has a few visits left and he may not be ready to decide for some time.
Brian Johnson is another interesting case. Johnson long favored North Carolina, but both parties are no longer interested. Johnson lists Arizona in his top-three, but as of now no on-campus visit is scheduled and Johnson appears to be a player who will commit later in the process.
Another positive about Nwankwo is that he appears to be a four-year player. Although he has a load of talent, he is still a bit of a project. An added bonus is that both he and his parents are serious about academics and a college degree is very important to the whole family. Having a player who will be in the program for four years is a huge benefit. The Cats have been hurt by players defecting to the NBA and having some stability could be a huge boost to the program.
Another huge question is the status of Chris Dunn. The Cats could have a fifth scholarship for the class if Dunn does not return in January. Dunn is currently at Pima CC in an effort to regain his eligibility, but there is no guarantee that he will be back. The Cats could use another scholarship to try and lure a third big man in the class. The problem is that they'd have to sign the player BEFORE they know Dunn's status. There are some reports that the staff is very disappointed in Dunn and they may want to land a sure thing instead of hanging around waiting on Dunn to get his act together.
Another player on the radar screen is Robert Rothbart. The seven-footer tripped to Indiana last weekend and reported loved his visit. Rothbart is an intriguing prospect, but not as highly rated as Giles or Johnson. There may be a better chance of bringing him in with Nwankwo and Mohamed Tangara, than trying to convince one of the others to do so. If Rothbart really wants to come to Arizona, you may also be able to hold him off a little while until they get a better idea of how Dunn is doing at Pima CC.
The other player in the equation is Isaiah Swann. Swann, the talented combo-guard from Hargrave Military Academy, is said to favor Arizona and Florida State, but we've heard rumblings that the Cats could be the team to beat. If the Cats do land Swann, they would be out of the running for Shaun Livingston. Of course Livingston is rumored to be leaning toward Duke and could commit on his visit this weekend.
The Wildcat coaches could have some difficult decisions to make in the next few days or weeks, but most of them involve which talented players to accept into their program. While these decisions are not easy, they are a part of recruiting and that is why they make the big bucks.
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