Cats ink the Class of 2005

Arizona coaches got to the office like any other day, but in addition to game planning, meetings and film study they had another task. The Wildcats eagerly awaited the hum of the fax machine and by noon they had the signed letters of intent from all three of the members of the 2005 recruiting class.

There were no surprises as Marcus Williams, J.P. Prince and Fendi Onobun all lived up to their verbal commitments and signed to play for Lute Olson and the Wildcats.

The class is a solid one, albeit a safe one. Barring a player having a monstrous senior season the Wildcats will not have to sweat out the NBA Draft. All three players are rated in the Top-50 nationally by

"This is an outstanding recruiting class," said Lute Olson. "All three guys bring great size, versatility and ability to the program and each should enjoy our style of play."

Dave Telep has the Wildcats' recruiting class ranked 11th in the nation at this stage, but that is subject to change barring spring signees and players jumping to the NBA.

On paper the best player could be J.P. Prince. Prince is a 6-foot-6 point guard from Memphis, Tenn,. He is rated as the No. 4 rated point guard in the class and the 29th best player nationally. He is a long, tall guard in the mold of Penny Hardaway and Shaun Livingston. He has led White Station High School to three consecutive Class AAA state championships. Prince is an outstanding passer who averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 3.1 steals last season.

"J.P. is a great addition to program not just because of his ability, but because he is a winner," said UA assistant coach Josh Pastner, the lead recruiter for Prince. "People enjoy playing with him because he shares the ball. J.P. makes everyone around him better."

Prince chose Arizona over Vanderbilt and was also considering NC State, Florida and Memphis during his recruitment.

Williams, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound forward from Seattle, Wash, is ranked as the No. 6 shooting guard prospect and the 33rd best prospect in America. Williams, of Seattle's Roosevelt High School, averaged a state-leading 27.2 points per game and added 8.0 rebounds per game last year. He is one of the best wings in the west. More of a perimeter player, Williams has a nice jumper and great athleticism.

"Marcus is a versatile 6-foot-6 swingman who is very long," said assistant coach Rodney Tention, Williams' lead recruiter. "He's excited about joining the program and has put in a lot of work in preparation for an outstanding senior season. Marcus is a great team guy."

UConn, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Maryland were among the teams showing a lot of interest in Williams.

Onobun was the first player to verbal to the Wildcats and the first to sign this morning. He's a 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward from Houston, Texas. He will play both forward spots in college, but is listed as the 13th rated small forward in the 2005 class. Nationally he is rated 47th. Onobun is a big, strong player who also possesses great athleticism. He is a great rebounder and can score very well from 15-feet and in. He averaged 15.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots per game last season.

"Fendi is a big time athlete who plays above the rim," said Pastner. "He's been very loyal to our program with his early commitment and is as good of a rebounder as there is in the country."

Onobun committed before his recruitment really heated up, but schools like Stanford, Texas and North Carolina were very interested.

Duke heads the list of top classes, with Kansas and Louisville rounding out the top-three. Two other Pac-10 teams are on the list. Washington is an obvious #4 on the strength of Jon Brockman and Martell Webster, but UCLA cracks the top 20, which is a small surprise as they got shut out on all the top-50 players they looked at.

Just four other schools have verbals from three top 50 prep players. Not surprisingly they are Duke (3, 19, 20 , Kansas (5, 13, 20), UNC (7, 35, 41, 45) and Memphis (11, 30, 42). UNC was the only one to land four. Louisville landed two top-50 players and transfer David Padgett who'd be considered a top-50 caliber player. A few other teams added top ranked JC players in addition to two top-50 prep player.

The Pac-10 is bringing in nine total top-100 players, with Arizona responsible for signing 1/3 of them. UCLA, UW and UA are responsible for eight of the nine with Stanford's Lawrence Hill rounding out the top-100 signees in the Pac-10.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories