After a whirlwind trip that took him from Los Angeles to Reno, over to Oakland and back to Los Angeles, Lute Olson is back in Tucson to welcome another high-profile big man from the Class of 2003.
Brian Butch, a 6-11 center from Appleton (West), Wis., will make his official UA campus visit this weekend.
Butch is a multi-dimensional player who can play in the post or move out to the perimeter, put the ball on the floor and play facing the basket. His jumper is accurate to 15 feet and he's working to improve his range. He also has very good back-to-the-basket skills and just need to bulk up to be a stronger presence in the paint.
Arizona has four other big men on its radar screen and all have the Wildcats high on their list of schools.
David Padgett, a 6-11 center from Reno (HS), Nev., made his official visit to the UA campus April 13. He visited Stanford last weekend and will make an official to Kansas this weekend.
Padgett might be the best pure big man in the class. He has great foot work, can score in a variety of ways and goes to the glass with a vengeance. He can step out and hit the jumper, but does his best work in the paint.
Ndudi Ebi, 6-9, from Houston (Westbury Christian), Tex., is a versatile combo-forward. He'll come to Tucson for his official UA campus visit next weekend.
"Indy" is looking for a school that will play him at the small forward position, and that might work against the Wildcats. His top schools are Arizona and Duke, and the Blue Devils seem to be less crowded at the three spot.
Ekene Ibekwe, a 6-9 power forward from Carson (HS), Calif., had made plans to visit the UA this weekend with Butch but will reschedule. Instead, Ibekwe will play in the Nike tournament in Houston this weekend.
If there is such a thing as a pure power forward anymore, Ibekwe might be it.
He's a strong rebounder, has very good foot speed and is quick to the glass.
Harrison Schaen, a 6-9 forward from Santa Ana (Mater Dei), Calif., has been on the Wildcats list for three years.
Schaen is also a versatile and skill combo-forward, but might lack the foot speed to guard quicker small forwards at the next level. However, he has the ball handling skills to create mismatches of his own.
Stanford might be the favorite for Schaen , but USC, Princeton and Yale are ivolved as well.
The one common trait among all these players is that they play hard at both ends of the court.
There's no doubt Olson is pushing hard for an early commitment. Will he take the first player to pull the trigger or has he determined a pecking order and prioritized from the top down?
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