2008 recruiting targets

The Cats are expected to ink their 2007 recruiting class on Wednesday, but the coaching staff has already been hard at work on their 2008 class for some time. There are already a number of high level recruits interested in the Wildcats.

Right now the Wildcats officially have two scholarships to give, but that is likely to change. As of now it sounds like they are planning on adding three players, but as any Wildcat fan knows, a lot of things can, and probably will, change over the next 12 months.

Below are listed the top prospects for the Wildcats at each position. I have them ranked in the order that I liked them.

Bigs
Odds are the Wildcats will try and attract a pair of big men in the class. They have already lost out on Jeff Withey and Andy Poling, two more traditional centers, but there are a ton of talented, athletic big men to be had. 1. Luke Babbitt – 6-8, 215, Reno, NV
You really can't go wrong with anyone in the top three, but I give Babbitt the edge because he has the most diverse game. Babbitt is the rare big man who can stroke it that is also a banger in the inside. He is not afraid to mix it up under the glass, but offensively performs better on the outside. He's got a great feel for the game and reminds some of Luke Walton.

2. Drew Gordon – 6-8, 200, San Jose, CA
Gordon is more of a pure inside player. Make no mistake, he's very athletic, but he appears to be more suited down the line to be a low post player. He has very nice feet and is developing a variety of offensive moves. Gordon is more explosive than Babbitt and is going to be a very strong player.

3. Matt Simpkins – 6-9, 200, Sacramento, CA
Simpkins is the most raw of the top-three. He's a great athlete who is developing into a very good basketball player. Right now he operates best on the break or in space. A great leaper who can really finish. He's getting stronger, and is developing more of his offensive game.

4. Clarence Trent – 6-7, 200, Gig Harbor, WA
Trent is a tad undersized but makes up for it with tremendous athleticism. He reminds me a little bit of former Syracuse forward John Wallace, but has a ways to go to be as polished as the former All-American. He is still working on his shot and his fundamentals, but the kid can motor and leap.

5. Emmanuel Negedu – 6-7, 215, Wolfeboro, NH
Negedu is more of a project, but may have the most tools to work with. An advanced body, Negedu is not only strong, but explosive. He's not real polished offensively, but he has shown the ability to knock down the open outside shot. He has some of the same skill sets as a young Shawn Kemp. Negedu had been playing with a 16&Under team and will surely make a bigger name for himself when he goes up against top competition.

6. Steve Tchiengang – 6-9, 215, Houston, TX
The most raw of the bunch. He's another athletic, big man who needs some work. While he might become a great player down the line, the other five ahead of him on the list are more sure things. He is a player who bares watching and I could be singing a different tune next summer.

Wings

The wing spot does not seem to be a huge priority at this time, but that could change by next summer depending on who leaves.

1. Jrue Holiday – 6-3, 180, Hollywood, CA
Not much more you can say about this kid. One of the best players regardless of position in the class. Is becoming a better and better ball handler. As close to a sure thing as you will find in the class.

2. Demar DeRozan – 6-4, 180, Compton, CA
Many love his athleticism, but he still needs to refine his game. Some have been critical of his lack of fundamentals, but he has all the speed and explosiveness you could ask for. He will become a bigger priority if he shows marked improvement this summer.

3. Murphy Holloway – 6-7, 185, Irmo, SC
A lot of potential for the long, athletic small forward. He loves the Wildcats but we hear that they are still evaluating him.

4. Brendan Lavender – 6-4, 180, Mesa, AZ
Another player who is getting a long look. Lavender is really starting to make a name for himself. A smooth shooter, who is also a good passer, Lavender has made no secret he'd love for the Wildcats to get more involved.

Point Guards

Arizona wants a point guard in this class and they have some great one's to choose from. Right now the top four point guards in the 2008 class are giving the Wildcats at least some consideration.

1. Larry Drew – 5-11, 155, Woodland Hills, CA
IMG SRC=http://media.scout.com/media/image/26/261838.jpg align=right >So why take Drew over the other talented guards? I've seen him play more. Drew is a complete point guard. He's got a fantastic feel for the game and thrives when trying to get teammates involved. He has proven that he is able to set ego aside and get the ball to high scoring teammates. He's got NBA bloodlines as the son of a former player, and now a coach, and is the most balances of the point guards.

2. Anthony Crater – 6-1, 165, Flint, MI
I've only seen Crater play once, but he was impressive. Another player who can both score and pass and thrives doing both. Like Drew he's very comfortable getting other players involved but is not afraid to score when he has too. Also like Drew, he has played side by side with some big time players and feels comfortable playing alongside other big time talents.

3. Malcolm Lee – 6-2, 165, Riverside, CA
Lee is less polished than the two rated above him. He has a very nice frame and a good all around game, but needs to become a better decision maker. There have been a lot of rumors about a high interest in UCLA but so far he has not publicly confirmed them or ever listed the Bruins as his leader.

4. Brandon Jennings – 6-1, 170, Compton, CA
From a pure talent standpoint Jennings would be higher, but more and more it seems like Jennings and the Wildcats just aren't a good fit. He and the Wildcats still have some contact, but more and more it seems as if USC and UConn are the teams to beat. From an on-court standpoint Jennings is the best scorer of the bunch, but is not nearly the distributor that Crater and Drew are.


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