Tidbits (Thurs. 2:45 p.m. update)

If it looks like a blog, smells like a blog then it must be...the tidbits. Early notes include Jerryd Bayless and Andy Lopez. 2:45 update: FORMER CAT SIGNS NFL DEAL.

May 17th, 2:45 p.m.
Former Wildcat fullback Gilbert Harris signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Harris was out of football last year but impressed the Chiefs' brass in recent workouts.

Verran Tucker, an El Camino College WR committed to Cal. The Wildcats had offered Tucker a scholarship.

May 17th, 12:15 p.m.
Depending on how things shake out this weekend, Wildcat coach Mike Candrea may have to face his son Mikel, who is an assistant at Pacific. The Tigers play Mississippi State in the opening game, while the Wildcats face off against Howard.

"I am excited for him, but when game time comes around I want to kick his butt," the elder Candrea said.

The Cats beat the Tigers 11-0 earlier in the season.

Mikel, who used to coach with his dad on the Wildcat staff, claims he did not watch the NCAA selection show.

May 17th, 12:20 p.m.
Arizona sophomore Preston Guilmet has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2007 Roger Clemens Award, the Great Houston Baseball Association announced. He's the only Pac-10 pitcher to make the cut.

Guilmet, who enters the weekend 10-1 with a 1.70 ERA, has been named national pitcher of the week three times, a record for Wildcat pitchers.

I actually interviewed Guilmet for the Wildcat Hour radio show earlier in the week. When Matt Rector, the media relations representative, approached Guilmet to do the interview, the sophomore pitcher was doing some light weight exercises. He answered my first two questions while still lifting the weights. Now that is dedication!

May 17th, 10:00 a.m.
It is interesting to read the message board and listen to talk radio regarding Kirk Walters. Most fans seem to assume/want the Wildcats to go small and shift either Chase Budinger/Jawann McClellan/Jamelle Horne to the four spot. While that could be a line-up we see at times, I think Walters will be the guy in the middle, with Jordan Hill at the power forward.

Although you will give up some offense, Walters will help defensively. With Walters and Hill, you have two players on the court who can block/alter shots. That was an aspect the Cats sorely missed a year ago. Without a consistent presence in the middle, the Wildcats could not extend their defense like they would have liked.

The team has made it no secret that defense will be a priority, heck they added Kevin O'Neil to shore up the defense. Walters, while not a great on-ball defender, is a seven-footer in the middle and by combining him and an improved Jordan Hill, the Cats should be formidable in the middle.

May 15th, 10:00 p.m.
El Camino College's website posts video of all their top prospects. There is video of both new signee Joseph Perkins and Vuna Tuihalamaka plus 2007 prospect Simi Kuli, Cedric Mack, Daniel Mafoe, Justin Thompson and Verran Tucker. The Cats have offered all five, as well as Colorado commit Corey Surrency.

Joseph Perkins
Vuna Tuihalamaka
Simi Kuli
Cedric Mack
Daniel Mafoe
Justin Thompson
-Verran Tucker

May 15th 5:50 p.m.
In an interview with Brandon Huffman, quarterback prospect Dominique Blackman listed Arizona in his top-seven. This is significant because the Cats had not been listed among his favorites in some time.

I still think Arkansas' Tyler Wilson is the most likely quarterback to commit, but Blackman is a really good prospect, so having him interested is a good thing and shows that the new offense is attractive to offensive prospects.

May 15th, 12:00 p.m.
Word is that Joseph Perkins, the JC free safety who just signed with the Cats, is a real steal. I've heard he has the ability to come right in and push for playing time, although the flexibility to redshirt is considered a bonus. Some feel that had he stayed another year at El Camino, he'd have been recruited by everyone.

One thing to keep an eye on is that to join the Cats in the fall, he'll have to do extra coursework over the summer. No one anticipates it being a problem, but he still has to get it done.

May 15th, 11:05 a.m.
Everyone assumes that Jerryd Bayless is a one and done player. That may very well be the case, but I was recently speaking with a number of recruiting analysts and draft people and they believe there is a very good chance Bayless is at Arizona for 2-3 years.

While Bayless certainly has the ability to play pro basketball, his true value will be as a point guard. According to those I spoke with, right now he has pro talent, but does not have a position. If he wants to go high in the draft, he'll have to do it as a point guard. To be a lottery type point guard he'll need at least a few years in the system.

Their thought is that he could leave after a year, but he'd be a fringe first rounder. If he plays a few years at the college level and develops his point guard skills, then most of those I spoke with feel he can go very, very high in the draft.

A good comparison may be Monta Ellis. He was an all-everything guard in the 2005 class who went pro as a high school senior. He had shooting guard skills, but most felt he needed to be a point guard in the pros. He was a second round draft pick and is still learning on the job as a reserve for the Golden State Warriors. Had he gone to college (committed to Mississippi State) and developed as a point guard, many feel he would have become a first rounder.

In the end it may come down to how bad Bayless wants to get to the league. Assuming he does not develop in a single season, Jerryd will have to make a decision, leave early and prove himself at the pro level (possible the D-League) or stay a few more years and get the higher, safer draft slot. Leaving early worked for Gilbert Arenas, but not everyone is so fortunate.

How upset was Andy Lopez after Monday night's 4-2 loss to USC? He gave the team a nearly two hour tongue lashing on the field.

He also closed Tuesday's practice, which means the team could be in for some more scolding.

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