Life goes on for Cats without Singler

On Friday the Wildcats lost out on a player who is generally regarded as being one of the top-10 players in America. While this move would devastate most programs, it does not affect the Wildcats all that much. Sure Kyle Singler would make them better, but losing him does not damage a program.

Make no mistake, Singler is a great player. You can't say enough about his skills, his feel for the game and his attitude. Duke got themselves a great one and there is no way around it.

That being said, Singler was a luxury recruit for the Wildcats. Much like Shaun Livingston a few years ago. Both players would have made Arizona better. Both players were NBA talents, but the Wildcats did not need either kid. Without Livingston, the Cats still came within a basket of the Final Four. In fact, Duke landed the verbal commitment from Livingston then found themselves without a player when he bolted for the NBA.

Thanks to rule changes the Blue Devils won't have to worry about Singler going pro, but just like three years ago, the Cats will be fine without Singler.

Truth be told, the Cats did not have a scholarship available for Singler at this moment and were counting on a player either going pro or transferring. They also have a five man recruiting class that stands on its own without Singler. Conceivably, the Cats look to bring in a pair of McDonald's All-Americans in Jerryd Bayless and Jamelle Horne, plus very talented players in Laval Lucas-Perry, Alex Jacobson and Zane Johnson. Adding Singler would have been the frosting on this very tasty cake.

Singler having Arizona in his top three was actually a huge accomplishment. There was a time when many thought the recruiting battle for the Oregon native was between UCLA and Duke. The fact that Kansas and the Cats made up a lot of ground and were finalists, show just how good a job the two staffs did.

Landing a player of Singler's ability certainly would have benefited the Wildcats, but losing out on him does not set the program back. Frankly, the team had to be preparing for next season as if they were not going to get him. It is not like last year when the Cats essentially passed on a chance to land Quincy Pondexter to get Chase Budinger. The move paid off. However, if the Cats had let Pondexter go to Washington and not landed Budinger, they could have found themselves without a top tier wing in the class.

With or without Singler the Cats appear on paper to be an elite team for the next few seasons. They could head into next season with players like Jawann McClellan, Budinger, Horne and Bayless. McClellan and Budinger were McDonald's All-Americans and Bayless and Horne have legitimate shots.

If Singler had chosen to play with the Wildcats he most likely would have played out of position at the four. While Singler could easily be a great inside-outside power forward, his natural position is the three. His shooting and passing would have fit in perfectly with the Wildcat offense, but would he cause chemistry problems? The Cats add four perimeter players to the team with this class already and should return Nic Wise, J.P. Prince, Daniel Dillon, McClellan and Budinger, not to mention Fendi Onobun who would love to get minutes at the three.

With so many bodies outside, the 6-8 Singler would have to move inside and there are plenty of bodies there as well. The Cats bring back Onobun, Mohamed Tangara, Jordan Hill and Bret Brielmaier, while also adding the 7-0 Alex Jacobson.

Now the Cats can concentrate on the 2008 class. They are already in great shape with a number of big men in the class, and will have a better idea of how many scholarships they can dole out. With players like Luke Babbitt, Matt Simpkins and Drew Gordon among those who are seriously considering Arizona.

Singler would have been a great fit at Arizona, but they are a good enough program that he was not a make or break recruit. Duke is a better team for gaining his verbal commitment, but Arizona will be just fine.

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