From Buddinger to Thomas

The season may be over, but Lute Olson is not going on vacation. Sure he's going on a trip, a long one in fact, but it is all work. The Wildcat coach will be on the road almost all week looking at recruits.

Olson's visits will begin at 8:00 on Friday and he won't be home until Monday morning at 1:30 a.m. In that time he plans on seeing at least a dozen kids, likely more.

We don't have a complete list of players he will see and obviously things can change. But based on various sources and contacts, this is at pretty accurate list of the players he will see.

Olson will begin his trek in San Diego and presumably a visit with Chase Budinger. Budinger is one of the Cats' top prospects, and Olson seems to love what the 6-5, 185-pound wing has to offer.

After that he'll work his way up the California coast. He will see a combination of 2006 and 2007 players.

One key player he will see is Alex Stepheson. The big man is one of the key post recruits on the Cats' wish list. Stepheson is 6-9 and very athletic. He is not polished yet, but has a ton of tools to work with and will be an elite recruit.

Others that may get a visit include the likes of Omondi Amoke, Tyrone Shelly, Quinton Watkins and Chase Stanback, all top 2007 recruits.

The next day Olson will visit Phoenix, primarily to look at 2007 prospects, although Christian Polk may be getting a visit. Obviously Jerryd Bayless will get a visit and guys like Zane Johnson could also get a look.

After that it is off to the Midwest.

Olson will meet with SG Jon Scheyer. Scheyer seems to favor Duke and Illinois at this point, but he had a solid visit to Tucson and will get the full pitch from Olson. Scheyer is likely the best outside shooter in the class.

After that Olson will venture into Indiana. Five-star SG Eric Gordon is one of the best players in the 2007 class and will get an early visit from Olson. Olson is expected to pay a visit to a few other players in the state. He'll stay in the area, just slide over a few states on Saturday. David Lighty and Wayne Ellington are two of the best players in America. Lighty, from Cleveland, may be out this summer with a knee injury, but he will be one of the top wings in the country. Ellington is one of Pennsylvania's best players, not just this year, but in several years. The 6-4 shooting guard is Scout.com's second best player at that position.

Olson will cap off his trek on Sunday with a trip to St. Benedict Prep and a chance to see Lance Thomas. The 6-9 Thomas may be the Cats' top overall prospect in the class. He's a versatile, special athlete who can play either forward spot, but appears to be a wing in college.

Olson mentioned the trip, none of the specifics as coaches are not allowed to comment on recruits, during Tuesday's press conference. He started ticking off cities and flight times when a reporter made the mistake of asking him if he got a vacation.

He was asked if he'd get any time off and Olson replied that he might get "a week or so in May." He added that he would be busy with recruit evaluations in April, his summer camps in June and recruiting camps in July.

"Other than that we'll be sitting around eating bon bons," he joked.

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com


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