Ashley makes it a loaded frontcourt

Brandon Ashley made his decision to go to Arizona, and that is a very good thing for the Wildcats, and has a big impact on the entire league.

On the West Coast two frontcourt players emerged from the pack in the class of 2012. Brandon Ashley, a native of Oakland, and Grant Jerrett, a native of LaVerne, California, both garnered the attention of schools from coast to coast. In the end however they both decided to go the same school.

It came as no surprise when Ashley announced his intention to go to Arizona. The Wildcats had long been assumed to be the strong leader in his recruitment, and after taking an unofficial visit to the school the writing was seemingly on the wall. Maybe the only lingering question was how would he and Jerrett fit in together.

The answer is, Jerrett and Ashley will have absolutely no problem co-existing. While both probably fancy themselves as power forwards, their skill sets are uniquely different from one another. Jerrett is someone who prefers to play in the mid-range using his skill and nice shooting touch. Ashley has developed a game near the perimeter, but is still at his best finishing down low and rebounding using his length and athletic ability.

Athleticism and rebounding have been two of the concerns with Jerrett, and they happen to be the strengths of Ashley's game. Also given Jerrett's size, he can easily slide over to center, while Ashley could probably not do that, there is a chance that by the end of his career he could steal a few minutes on the wing if his skills keep developing on the perimeter.

Overall Ashley comes in at No. 3 in the nation and Jerrett at No. 23, and while they may be similar, there is no question that at Arizona they will be able to not only coexist with each other, but also thrive.

While this commitment has a big impact on Arizona, it should move them into a position to challenge Indiana for the top spot in the team recruiting rankings, it also means a lot for the entire Pac 12.

By landing the top two players in the state of California, Arizona has really asserted its will on the state. In 2011 they snagged Josiah Turner, the top player from the state, and now the foothold looks strong, especially with the Oakland Soldiers AAU program. Add in the pledge of Gabe York this year with Angelo Chol last year, and the Wildcats are treating California like its home base.

UCLA has tried to control this, and did a very good job in landing point guard Dominic Artis from the Soldiers program in the 2012 class, but Arizona seemingly has put its foot down in the state.

To this point Washington and Oregon have done a solid job in the Pacific Northwest at keeping kids home and then have found a way to dip into Northern California, specifically the Ducks with Jabari Brown.

Still it looks more and more like to get the elite level prospects, some schools on the West Coast are going to have to look east. In recent months UCLA has really turned the heat up on kids such as Kyle Anderson from New Jersey and Amile Jefferson from Phildaelphia, to go along with their already increasing presence in Atlanta. Oregon has always made a point to recruit nationwide, and now USC is showing more interest in kids hailing from the eastern and central time zones as well.

While no school will ever have monopoly on the state of California, right now Arizona is making it tough on the rest of the conference to land the difference makers on the West Coast.


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