Class of 2005: J.P. Prince

There is no doubt J.P. Prince is a confident young man. Why wouldn't he be? He has the size, the skill and the versatility. He also has the lineage and exposure in his family to great players and coaches. No wonder Prince will carry on the tradition of "Point Guard U."

How does it feel to be a Wildcat?

"I can't wait to get out there and get on campus. I can't wait to get out there and represent Arizona well."

You had a tough decision. It came down to Arizona and Vanderbilt and Vandie is very close to home. What ultimately gave the Cats the edge?

"I think it was the right relationships with the players. Jawann, Hassan and Jesus showed me a great time. Those guys I liked spending time with. Coach O has a history of sending point guards to the NBA. I just felt comfortable. I got there and coach Pastner said you just get that feeling. I got there and got that feeling. As soon as I got on the plane to leave I just knew I was going to school there."

Besides being close to home, what else did Vanderbilt have to offer you?

"I think they are a program on the rise. I think they are a program that isn't on the elite level with an Arizona but has the opportunity with the right player. All it takes is one player to take a risk on a school and get them to that high caliber."

It sounds like you had the decision between either being the big time player for the school on the rise or just another one of the very good players in an established program. A lot of players would have jumped at the chance to be the star.

"I'm more of a team concept guy. I'm trying to lead the nation in assists. I know Arizona has great people. Playing with guys like Jawann and Hassan really appeals to me."

Josh Pastner said that guys want to play with you because you share the ball and get them involved. Is that something you take a lot of pride in?

"It's something I take pride in, but it's just part of my game. I am not one of these point guards that is going to take 25 shots a game. If you need me to score, I will score. But I am just going to go out and try to get everyone the ball and everyone is going to be happy. Everybody wants to play with me because I am going to get everyone involved."

Just to clear this up, how much did Mustafa Shakur's status matter to you?

"It came up but in the end it was not a concern at all. Arizona is where I wanted to be regardless of Mustafa. It was where I wanted to go to college. It really didn't matter."

What is the scouting report on your game? What kind of player are you?

"I'm a 6-7 guard that can dribble like a 5-10 guy. I got handles, I can pass with the best of them. I don't know anybody in high school that can pass better than me. I play good defense and I can play four positions from the one to the four. I'm a great shooter, I'm a streak shooter but can get my shot off. I'm just a playmaker, I call myself a playmaker. I can make plays, whatever you need."

Do other point guards have a problem matching up with you because of the size you bring to that position?

"I love to walk out there and see a 6-1 or 6-2 player. Heck, 6-4 is no problem. You are not going to find a player as tall as me, who can handle like me or get down and defend like me. I haven't found one yet that can cause me a lot of problems. I can post you up. If you are going to let me post you up for 40 minutes I am going to score every time because they are too short."

How have you grown as a point guard over the past couple of years?

"I have been a point guard my whole life, ever since I was a little boy. My dad always put me at point guard and no matter how tall I got they always kept me there. I'm not a small forward, I'm not a shooting guard, I am a true point guard. It is just something I have learned and I have just been taught to be a point guard."

You are related to Detroit Piston's standout Tayshaun Prince, are their any similarities in your games?

"Mostly it is on defense. On defense we are the same player. When you see us play defense we are the same player. We both have long arms and get after it. We get after it. We cause problems on defense. We can guard small people and tall people. That's where the similarities end. Offensively we are completely different. I can put it on the floor and take it to the hole. I don't shoot a lot of jump shots, while he is a great jump shooter. On defense we are the same person. I model myself after him."

Tell me what it was like going through the recruiting process with Coach Olson?

"It is great to talk to someone with such great knowledge. I believe that he believes in me. He feels that I have the ability of a Mike Bibby or Michael Dickerson or Miles Simon. When I came out I didn't hear anybody with anything bad to say about him. He's like a legend. When he was recruiting me that was like one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me."

What did Josh Pastner bring to the recruitment?

"That's my man right there. He did one of the best recruitments that you could have done. He made me feel wanted. Everything he told me was true, there were no lies. Even what he told me about the visit was true. He told me I would love it. Josh is one of the main reasons I came."

Some guys want to be sold, while others want to be left alone. It sounds like you wanted to be sold.

"I knew the basketball, it was more about meeting the guys. Basketball is almost the same everywhere, it was more about the guys you are going to play with."

What kind of goals do you have for your Arizona career?

"My main goal is to win a national championship. I done that all through high school, I have won a championship every year. I don't like losing. I like playing in and winning the last game of the year. My number one goal is to lead the nation in assists, my next is to average a double-double or triple-double."

You said you were a point guard at heart. If you come in here next year and if Mustafa Shakur is still here are you comfortable sliding over to the two-guard and backing him up?

"I'll do whatever it takes to just get out on the floor. I can handle that. I am a point guard, but I can play other things. That is the good thing about me, I can play other positions."

Ryan Radtke hosts the aptly titled "Ryan Radtke Show" on the Source 1290 a.m. weekdays from 3-6 p.m. He also hosts the pregame show for Wildcat football and basketball.


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