Nic Wise update

Some Wildcat fans were a little surprised when Arizona pursued and eventually received a verbal commitment from Nic Wise last year. Although Wise was very talented, he was just a high school freshman. The Wildcats rarely pursued sophomores and here they were extending a scholarship to a freshman. We caught up with Wise to see how things were going living with the commitment to the Cats, a tough sophomore season and just how firm his commitment really is.

Many criticized the Wildcats decision to accept Wise's verbal commitment at such a young age. When he struggled early last season, the questions got louder. Wise suffered from the effects of Mononucleosis and never really got going until late in the season.

"Yeah, it was pretty tough in the beginning because I lost a whole lot of weight," Wise explained. "That hurt me, I wasn't in shape for half the season. I didn't have my strength early on, so it wasn't until late in the season that I started coming on strong."

The season ended up being pretty good for Wise and Hightower High School. The Hurricanes went 29-7 and lost in the playoffs to eventual state champion Milby High School.

It has been interesting. Wise has lived a year with the commitment and has become a bit of a target. While most high school sophomores are trying to get noticed, Wise has none of that pressure and just has to live up to the hype of being a future Arizona Wildcat.

Wise feels none of the pressure to live up to the reputation of ‘Point Guard U'.

"I don't have to play and impress anybody because I know where I'm going," Wise said. "Sometimes people will say ‘hey, there's Nic, he's committed to Arizona.' I don't really think about it, I just play my game."

It is only natural that when a player commits so early in the process that fans will worry about how firm the commitment is. With Wise that worry was a bit intensified when his father and high school coach Greg Wise told a Houston radio station that his son would de-commit if Josh Pastner got the head coaching job at the University of Houston. Pastner did not get the job, but if does make one wonder if Wise will indeed be in a Wildcat uniform two years from now.

"I think I'm going to stick to my commitment, but I'm just going to keep playing and see how I do and see what happens to Josh and Coach ‘O.'," said Wise.

Since Pastner was crucial in his commitment, what happens if the Arizona assistant moves on before 2006?

"If that happens I'll talk to my dad and see what happens," Wise admitted. "If Lute is still there I would go."

Wise is a key member of the Houston Hoops, a traveling team loaded with talent and Wildcat prospects. A few weeks back Hoops' forward Fendi Onobun committed to Arizona and there are at least three other Wildcat recruits on the team. Wise is not pressuring his teammates to join him in Tucson, but he's not entirely quiet either.

"I don't really sit down and talk to them, but every once in awhile I try to put little thoughts in their head," said Wise. "They will know where they want to go, so I won't be able to change their minds.."

Wise is a pure point guard, but has been playing a lot of two-guard with the Hoops this spring in an effort to help teammate David Devezin more exposure. Devezin is a 2005 point guard who is trying to get more high-major exposure. Wise is happy to make the move, but not for the long term.

"I think it will make me a well-rounded player," Wise said of the shift to the other guard spot. "I love playing point guard and I don't really like playing the two, but I'll do it to help out my team. I like to have the ball in my hands 80% of the time. That's the way I make plays."

For now Wise is intent on being a Wildcat and starting to turn more and more heads. His ball handling skills are top-notch and his offensive game gets better and better. "I think the future is looking bright for me," Wise said.

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: Wise has improved since we saw him last summer. He has grown a bit and is very quick. He lacks the length of recent Wildcat point guards, but his court vision is top very good. It will be interesting to see if he remains committed to the Wildcats. Although the Cats are recruiting Mario Chalmers as a combo-guard, there is no doubt that he's better suited at the point. Add to that the pursuit of 2007 PG Jaryd Bayless, and one has to wonder just a bit how comfortable Wise will be with his decision.

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