Verdejo commitment could pay extra dividends

Arizona got the good news on Tuesday that Jesus Verdejo decided that Arizona is the place for him. There are obvious reasons that this benefits the Wildcats. The team gets a tough, strong, skilled player who can play either wing spot. They get a player who is more mature after a year at prep school and has great international experience. His commitment to the Wildcats could pay dividends later on as well, as the Wildcats pursue the class of 2005.

Verdejo's AAU teammate David Huertas has been interested in the Wildcats for some time, but now the Wildcats have another in with the talented shooter.

"It will certainly help Arizona in landing the kid," Miami Tropics coach Art Alvarez said. "Recruiting is all about building relationships."

Huertas is a terrific shooter, possibly the best I saw from the 2005 class last summer. He had great range and nice athleticism. The one concern was his strength and his other skills beyond stroking it. According to Alvarez, those fears can be set aside.

"Wait until you see him this summer," Alvarez gushed. "He put on 20 pounds of muscle. He's grown to about 6-6, 195."

I was very impressed with Huertas last summer, but with added strength and height, he could vault into a top-10 type wing player. There is no doubt that he will be one of the most sought after players in the class.

Huertas is friends with Verdejo and there is some desire for the two to play their college ball together. Huertas would have considered the Wildcats anyways, but having his friend there could make the decision to go to school across the country that much easier.

"Just think, Arizona could have two Miami kids on the team," Alvarez said. "They are two great wing guards at any level."

In the end it will be Huertas' decision, but Alvarez does try to help his players who ask his advice. By having a player already in the Arizona program, Alvarez can get a good feel for how the coaches and players will mesh with Huertas' personality and needs.

"If Jesus has a good experience there then that will give me more confidence to tell David that he should go there if it is a school he likes," Alvarez said. "It could be a good fit, they stand to lose a lot of players after next season."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories