Verbals give Cats 2007 flexibility

The Wildcats have two commitments for the 2007 season. This benefits them in a number of ways. Of course it gives the Wildcats a jumpstart on the class, but it also gives them flexibility to add the best athletes, not necessarily fill a need.

If no one leaves the program, and that is a huge if, the Wildcats have just one more scholarship to give in 2007. The Cats already have commitments from big man Alex Jacobson and guard Jerryd Bayless.

Assuming no one leaves, the Wildcats have no pressing needs for the class. As it stands the roster would have the following breakdown:

POST PLAYERS (5): Bret Brielmaier Sr., Mohamed Tangara Jr., Fendi Onobun So., Jordan Hill So., Alex Jacobson, Fr.

WINGS (4): Jawann McClellan Sr., Marcus Williams Jr., Jesus Verdejo Jr., Chase Budinger So.

GUARDS (4): J.P. Prince Jr., Daniel Dillon Sr., Nic Wise So., Jerryd Bayless Fr.

Notes: Brielmaier is a walk-on, who receives a scholarship when one is available.

Onobun will be a sophomore assuming he redshirts. He's currently a combo forward who may see time at the wing.

Hill is a potential redshirt candidate.

As of now the Cats are fine at each spot, but a lot could happen. McClellan, Williams and Prince have all received NBA draft hype from various sources, while Budinger has the raw talent to also consider the NBA early in his collegiate career.

Then there is the chances for a player to transfer. Since 2000 no fewer than six players have transferred over playing time. With so many talented players on the roster it would be a bigger shock to see the entire roster to remain intact, than to see a player transfer.

With Bayless and Jacobson in the fold, the Cats have flexibility. Bayless can play either guard spot and makes the immediate need for a wing lessened. Jacobson bolsters a group of big men that have numbers and promise, but as of now have yet to prove anything.

The Cats can really go after the best athletes available. If they can add a big time big man, they'd love to. A number of high level big men are listing the Cats and because Jacobson is a center, they can pursue athletic players who want to be power forwards.

Because they do not need a pure post players they can look at combo forwards or athletic power forwards, who may not be back to the basket players.

If they go the combo route then they will take a long look at Alex Tyus, Darnell Gant and Gary Johnson. Johnson is another Houston Hoops product and really likes the Wildcats as well as programs like Texas, North Carolina and Duke.

He draws comparisons to Shawn Marion. Like Marion he is an athletic, long armed forward who can play either inside or out. Although he is athletic and a decent leaper, he does not have the freak explosiveness that Marion does.

Tyus resembles Lance Thomas, the 2006 forward the Wildcats were recruiting. Tyus, like Johnson, is long, athletic and can clean up the glass. He will begin his college career as a power forward, but has the desire and the athleticism.

Right now Kansas, Kentucky, Washington, Miami and Arizona make up his top five with UNLV, Illinois and Oklahoma State seriously in the mix.

Gant is sort of an enigma. The four-star recruit was a virtual unknown before last summer, in fact he never played varsity basketball. He blew up at the Pangos Camp and showed a nice mix of size and athleticism. Like Johnson and Tyus, he is long, tall but is athletic and skilled enough that he may be able to move out to the three.

Gant has been listing UCLA more and more, but previously his family had mentioned a desire to see him leave the Los Angeles area. Right now he is saying that Oklahoma State, Louisville, Georgia Tech and the Wildcats are right there with the Bruins in showing a lot of interest. He has also mentioned programs like Washington, Stanford, UNC and Duke as being programs he also likes.

There are some more traditional power forwards that the Cats are looking at. They are still very athletic players, but despite perimeter skills, will play solely at the four.

The highest rated of these players is Kevin Love. The big bodied big man is deceptively athletic and can do a lot on the outside. Considering he is 6-9, 260, many are surprised to see him knocking down threes or throwing pinpoint passes across the court.

Right now UCLA is rumored to be the leader, but Arizona, UNC and Duke are all seriously in the mix.

DeAndre Jordan seems to be a long ways away from a decision. His lists seem to change from interview to interview. The Cats are in the mix, but so are up to a dozen other schools.

The 6-10 Jordan is long, athletic and runs well. This guy has offensive tools and should be an elite recruit by the end of next summer. Maybe his only problem is the fact that at times he does not go hard. This mostly occurs in camp settings, where nothing is really at stake. With his AAU team his effort level is more consistent.

Anthony Randolph is another big, mobile big man. Like Gant he came from nowhere and like Jordan, he is very early in the process. He's a guy with a ton of potential who seems like he is just starting to tap into his potential.

Some other names to keep an eye on are Sean Williams, Harper Kamp, Scott Thompson and Clint Amberry.

Because Bayless can play the one and the two, the need for another wing is not quite as pressing as it may have been, but there is no telling how long Williams, McClellan and Budinger will be in school. If the Cats land a combo forward like Tyus, Johnson or Gant that could even lessen the need for a wing player.

Right now the Wildcats lead for San Diego wing Jamelle Horne, but a host of programs are involved. Horne is a very versatile wing who can score, pass and hit the glass. If the Cats do land him they will beat Louisville, Georgia Tech and Washington for his services.

One thing in the Wildcats' favor is the fact that Horned is friends with Bayless.

Kyle Singler is a forward that could be a perfect fit. Versatile like Horne, the 6-8 Oregonian may just be big enough to play the four at times. He's a lot like former Oregon standout Luke Jackson who was talented enough to play both forward spots, though he was clearly at home on the perimeter.

Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon and Arizona are the players for a guy described as a "difference maker" by scouts.

Chase Stanback has been a player a lot of schools, Arizona included, have been keeping an eye on. He's long, athletic and his offensive game is really developing. Most of the Pac-10 is on the player a lot of people are still trying to get a good read on.

The Cats would love to land Eric Gordon. The Indiana native has long been seen as an Illinois lean but in recent weeks he has also listed Duke, the Cats, Missouri, Notre Dame and the home state Hoosiers. It would be a mild upset if the Illini did not land Gordon, but this one is not nearly over.

Gordon is not the tall wing the Cats would seem to need, but at 6-4 he has good enough size and can score with the best of them. He's a player that once he heats up he is tough to cool off.

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