Robert Swift has a leader

Robert Swift, a 7-0 center from Bakersfield (HS), Calif., is quite possibly the nation's best big man in the Class of 2004. Last weekend he took his first official visit and he has two other schools high on list.<BR>I spoke with Swift and he told me which school was No. 1 and why.

"USC is No. 1," Swift said. "I know who's going there and I like the coaches a lot and I like the team. I also like Arizona and San Diego State."

Swift spent last summer traveling the Adidas circuit, playing at the ABCD Camp in Teaneck, NJ and ended the summer by playing the End of Summer Tournament at Loyola Marymont University. This summer Swift will play for the California Team Select, sponsored by Nike. He'll play at the Nike All-America Camp in Indianapolis and the other Nike events throughout the country.

Swift's Bakersfield High team is current 30-1, ranked No. 2 in California Division 4 and No. 19 the nation by USA Today. The team's only lose was to Garces Memorial of Bakersfield.

At 7-0, Swift has been a dominant player at the high school level. He hasn't always been challenged, but at the ABCD Camp last summer he was matched against older players with skills that matched and at times exceeded his.

"I got off to a slow start at ABCD," Swift said. "I wasn't playing well at all. But after I had time to adjust I started playing better and I felt I did okay when the camp ended."

Swift says he'd like to play for a school that will allow him to play inside, but also let him step out and shoot the perimeter jumper.

"That's why I like USC," Swift said. "I like the way they use Rory O'Neil. I want to be able to move around and find my spots."

When Swift speaks of Arizona he says, "Arizona is a guards schools. I like the way SC used Sam Clancy and the way they use O'Neil."

It's still early in the recruiting process and USC has a head start, but I would not count the Wildcats out of it just yet. The UA might be a guard oriented school, but any big man with aspirations to move on to the next level knows if he's going to get there he's not going to do it alone. He better have some great guards to feed him the ball.

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