Recruiting heats up

The Wildcat have two more weekend of visits and they hope to have the recruiting season pretty well sewn up by then. The Wildcats are still waiting for one of two big men to commit, while they will try to gain a commitment from a perimeter player with their next visits.

This is the big weekend. The nation's top point guard, Peoria's Shaun Livingston is in town. He's making his official visit and will get the opportunity to see the Wildcats practice for real, something earlier recruits did not get to do. Livingston recently eliminated North Carolina, but the Cats have to make up some ground on Duke.

"Right now I'd say Duke is really strong with both me and my family," Livingston told, the Insiders' Duke website.

Livingston also said that he is "comfortable" with all of the schools he is considering, and that he will not make a decision until after his two final visits. After he visits Tucson this weekend, he'll check out Illinois and then make a decision before the November signing period.

Livingston is very similar to a young Penny Hardaway. While that is always a good player to be compared to, it is also very dangerous for a team hoping to retain the youngster's services. Although he is looking at going to college, Livingston has indicated that he will consider the NBA if he feels he is both physically and mentally ready.

Joining Livingston this weekend is Jawann McClellan. McClellan was the first player to commit to the Wildcats and has been a great ambassador for the program. McClellan has already taken an unofficial visit to Tucson and has no doubt he wants to be a Wildcat. Having McClellan here this weekend gives the Wildcats another salesman in their pursuit of Livingston.

Wildcat fans will get a great chance to see a future and a potential future Wildcat when the two recruits participate in a team pick-up Friday at 1:30. The fans can also watch a rare open practice on Saturday at 4:00 p.m., with an autograph session to follow at around 6:00.

Next weekend Jeremis Smith will visit. Smith's recruitment has taken on a controversial twist. The 6-7 combo-forward was recently arrested for shoplifting. Smith allegedly stole $67 in CD's from a retail store. He was originally supposed to visit last weekend, but had the visit rescheduled in an effort to let Smith and his family allow things to settle down.

As of now no teams have dropped Smith and his background is otherwise impeccable. Smith is a good student and has been a good leader in his high school and most teams are not overly concerned with his character.

Smith is an intriguing prospect. He's a terrific athlete who is tenacious on both ends of the court. He's a little raw, but most observers think he can play both the wing and power forward.

The Cats are still waiting to hear from two big men. Robert Rothbart visited this past weekend and by all indications had a great visit. The 7-footer is very versatile and had a very productive pick-up game against the current Wildcats.

Rothbart is still considering a visit to Stanford, but we've heard that the Cats and Indiana may be the two to beat, with the Cats slightly in the lead. He and his mother Nada were impressed with both the team and facilities, and it is certain that the Cats will be in the final mix.

The Cats are also waiting on word from Davis Nwankwo. Nwankwo has been very outspoken in his love for the Cats. The big drawback is that his parents favor Stanford and at least want him to retake the SAT in an effort to become eligible for admission to the school. His parents have urged him to wait for the late signing period in July, but the 6-9 big man knows that may eliminate several of his options.

"My parents are telling me I could wait until April," Nwankwo said. "But I know if I wait some of the schools won't be there for me. I'm just so frustrated I don't know what to do."

It could very well come down to a first to accept the scholarship gets it. It is unlikely that the Cats would extend five scholarships and it could be that Nwankwo, Rothbart and even Smith could be competing for the same slot.

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