Some things I think I think

With the departure of Luke Walton, Ricky Anderson and Jason Gardner at the end of next season, the Arizona coaching staff will have three scholarships to offer the high school Class of 2003. There might be more if others decide to leave, but that's another story at another time. It's a little early to be making predictions, but since it's a little slow I'll tell you some things I think I think.

First, let me set the stage.

The Arizona coaching staff is looking at three scenarios:

1) Bring in two bigs (center/power forwards) and one little (point guard).

2) Bring in two bigs and hold one scholarship.

3) Bring in three bigs.

The "bigs":

David Padgett, 6-11 center from Reno (HS), Nev.

Brian Butch, 6-11 power forward from Appleton (West), Wis.

Ndudi Ebi, 6-9 combo-forward from Houston (Westbury Christian), Tex.

Ekene Ibekwe, 6-9 power forward from Carson (HS), Calif.

Harrison Schaen, 6-9 power forward from Santa Ana (Mater Dei), Calif.

The "littles":

Ayinde Ubaka, 6-1 point guard from Oakland (HS), Calif.

Mustafa Shakur, 6-3 point guard from Wynnewood (Friends Central), Pa.

Now lets look at how each scenario might play out:

The July summer camps will be the biggest influencing factor that determines whether the coaching staff continues to recruit either Ubaka or Shakur. There are a number of points in the Class of '04 who are at least as talented, and the staff wants to evaluate Ubaka and Shakur before making a big push to bring one of them in. If the UA take a point from this class, it's not likely they'll take one next year. And it might be hard to pass on the great points in the Class of '04.

Arizona and Cal are at the top of Ubaka's list, whereas Shakur has a number of eastern schools in the hunt. Cal is certainly the leader for Ubaka, while Shakur is probably favoring the Wildcats.

Ebi is the most versatile player being pursued by the Wildcats and Lute Olson's No.1 target. Ebi has Arizona, Duke and Texas at the top of his list, but might have pared that list to two with Kris Humphries' commitment to Duke. Ebi is leaning heavily in the direction of Arizona and might be ready to pull the trigger any day.

Butch is another player Olson wants to evaluate. Olson has seen a lot of tape on Butch and is very impressed with his size and offensive explosiveness, but he has never seen him play in person. Butch, a 6-11 can play with his back to the basket but he can also step out hit the three-pointer. If Butch continues to impress as he has during the early camps, Arizona will turn up the heat to make him a Wildcat.

Many of the recruiting gurus thought David Padgett would be the first to commit to Arizona. However, Padgett, who is more physical than Butch and more of a power player, had a great visit to Kansas and that has muddled the scene somewhat. In fact, Ebi and Butch could commit first but I don't think that will happen until Olson decides whether or not to pursue a point. If Olson decides hold off on a point until next year, he'll make an all out assault to get Padgett and make this a three big man class.

If Arizona decides to forgo taking a point and doesn't get Padgett, Ibekwe or Schaen could get the nod. However, if the Wildcats don't show enough love, both could head to another school. Schaen has Stanford and USC on his list. Ibekwe also has the Trojans high on his list.

This should spark some early conversation. So if you'd like to talk about this column, take this link to the Premium Message Board: MESSAGE BOARD

{Doug can be reached via e-mail at}

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