Arizona is chasing two of the nations' premiere big men, David Padgett and Brian Butch. Kansas is very much in the hunt for both.
Padgett, a 6-11 center from Reno (HS), Nev., might be the most dominant pure post player in the Class of 2003. He's a physical player with strong post moves and a mature body that allows him to dominate opponents at both ends of the court. Padgett can do more damage in the paint, but he can also step out and hit the jumper to 15 feet. And he's a big time rebounder.
Padgett has taken official visits to Arizona, Stanford and KU, and Oregon is hoping to get involved.
Butch, a 7-0 center/power forward from Appleton (West), Wis., is not nearly as physical as Padgett. However, he is much more versatile and it's his multi-dimensional game that has coaches from around the nation chasing him.
Butch uses his quick feet and some nifty post moves to score around the basket, but it's his ability to put the ball on the floor and take bigger but slower opponents out on the perimeter where he uses his quickness to beat them. Butch, who could become a wing forward at the NBA level, can take it off the dribble or hit the three-pointer, something not many 7-footers can do.
Butch has taken an official visit to Arizona and unofficials to North Carolina and Wisconsin. He says he'll take officials to UNC, Wisconsin and Kansas before making a decision. Butch would also like to speak with Padgett and compare notes before making that decision.
"I'd like to talk to (Padgett) at some point this summer," Butch said. "I've never met him but I think it would be good to sit down with him and figure out what he's thinking about, see where he might be going and stuff like that. A lot of schools have both of us on their list, usually just David though, and I think some want to bring us both in."
Padgett made his official to KU along with OmarWilkes, a 6-3 guard from Los Angeles (Loyola), Calif. Padgett and Wilkes both play on the Adidas Pump ‘N Run AAU team during the summer and have been good friends for the last couple of years. They would like to attend the same college but realizes that is not always an option.
"I'd definitely love to play with David," Omar said. "When we met we just had this immediate connection and we got along really well. I know that we'll be friends forever whether or not we play in college together."
KU and Stanford are recruiting both Padgett and Wilkes, but the Jayhawks have an eye another two-guard.
Thomas Gardner, a 6-2 two-guard from Portland (Jefferson), Ore. Is one of the most prolific scorers in the country and it doesn't hurt that played alongside Aaron Miles during his first two years at Jefferson. Gardner can light it from beyond the arc and is very athletic. He goes to the glass aggressively and works hard at both ends of the court.
Gardner has scheduled visits this fall to Missouri, Kansas and Michigan State. UConn is also making a push for a visit.
Arizona won't likely get involved in the battle for Gardner or Wilkes, but both will get in the trenches and battle it out for Padgett and Butch. The "war" is just beginning.
At least, that what I think I think.
Doug Carr can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
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