Arizona the latest to establish a pipeline

Arizona has it rolling recruiting the Oakland Soldiers. The pipeline is fertile and treating them well. Here is a look at some other notable recent recruiting pipelines.

There is no denying the job that Sean Miller and his staff have done in recruiting the Oakland Soldiers AAU program. The Soldiers have been one of the most successful programs over the past five summers on the AAU circuit, and no one has done a better job than Miller of mining the top talent.

Sure Miller and his staff have missed on kids from the program such as Kyle Wiltjer, Dominic Artis, Jabari Bird, and Jabari Brown amongst others, but those players all dispersed around the country and ended up eventually at different schools.

By contrast with Stanley Johnson making it official on Friday, Arizona has now landed five prospects from the Soldiers in the last four classes. All of those commitments ranked among the 50 players in their respective class.

Keep in mind when it comes to recruiting the best thing that can happen is an alumni of a certain high school or AAU program speaking positively to the younger players in that program about his experience at a school. Likewise the worst thing that can happen is if a player speaks negatively about his experience there, so clearly Miller and his staff have done a good job of creating a positive impression on the kids in their program and that has led to more success as the years have gone on.

While it is impressive what Miller has been able to do, this is far from a new phenomenon. In fact coaches have been establishing pipelines with different programs for years now due to establishing strong relationships with coaches and trust amongst kids.

One of the first, most famous and most effective recruiting pipelines took place at St. John's. Then Head Coach Mike Jarvis hired Riverside Church AAU Coach Dermon Player to be a coach on his staff. From there Player absolutely went to work on the recruiting trail.

At the time the Church was one of the most successful and loaded AAU programs going, and Player protected his home turf. Guys like Omar Cook, Ron Artest, Anthony Glover, Erick Barkley, and Reggie Jessie all picked the Red Storm.

This run of players turned the Red Storm into a monster in the Big East. At the time the city of New York was churning out talent at a high level, and St. John's was getting more than their share. Sure St. John's missed, for example Elton Brand played for Riverside and went to Duke, but this pipeline was huge for their success.

In recent years a few other schools, notably Ohio State, Indiana, and Kansas State all greatly benefited from an AAU pipeline to their school.

With Ohio State, they have absolutely mined the All-Ohio Red program. Since 2007 when Ohio State landed Jon Diebler, the Buckeyes have added another six prospects from there. Keys to OSU's success such as Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft played for the program, and also current freshman Marc Loving as well as incoming freshman Jae'sean Tate ran with All-Ohio Red.

Now a lot of that success can be tied to the fact that Ohio kids tend to go to Ohio State. The same can be said with what Tom Crean did at Indiana with the Indiana Elite AAU program.

In an impressive five year run, Crean landed Jordan Hulls, Yogi Ferrell, and Cody Zeller as well as other pieces such as Hanner Perea, Austin Etherington, and Jeremy Hollowell all played with Indiana Elite.

Maybe the most notable and successful recent pipeline however was also from the state of California. It was what Ben Howland had going at UCLA with the Pump N Run AAU program.

From around 2004-10 Pump N Run had was stockpiling talent, and Howland and his staff were getting them to Westwood. It all started with Jordan Farmar and Lorenzo Mata. Then Howland kept it going with prospects such as Aaron Afflalo, Jrue Holiday, Reeves Nelson, Jerime Anderson, and Tyler Honeycutt. All of them committed to the Bruins out of high school. Also Howland would add David and Travis Wear via transfer as well as Larry Drew II, all three of those prospects also were stars for Pump N Run.

In fact you can begin tracking the fall of UCLA's dominance under Howland to when Pump N Run stopped being the dominant force in California on the AAU circuit

So clearly it is nothing new what Miller and his staff have done with the Soldiers. It has been going on for years with programs all over the country.

Now for Arizona it is on to 2015 stud Ivan Rabb who also plays for the program. Can they continue the pipeline and land Rabb, only time will tell, but one thing is for sure no staff has proven to recruit the Bay Area and the Oakland Soldiers better than Arizona.


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