Breaking down Leaf's game
Arizona landed a big commitment on Thursday when 6-foot-10, 205-pouund El Cajon (Calif.) Foothills Christian power forward T.J. Leaf ended his recruitment, choosing the Wildcats. The 2016 prospect chose Arizona over offers such as Duke, Florida, Michigan, San Diego State and UCLA. What kind of player is Arizona landing in Leaf, who is Scout’s 11th ranked prospect in his class? Leaf has an extremely unique game for a junior forward, almost like they brought him straight from Europe, as you just don't see many young Americans with his skill set. He has a true inside/out game and is willing to exploit mismatches when he has them on the perimeter or in the post. Leaf has a narrow frame with good length and has a lot of the attributes you're looking for in a college four man. On defense, he's best in the interior and while he’s a good but not elite athlete, his motor and instincts make him a very good shot blocker. He can grab the defensive board and start the break better than the average four man. On offense, he's capable of taking his defender off the dribble and pulling up to hit midrange jumpers. He can hit catch and shoot threes but it’s an area he’ll want to become more consistent at. While he's a capable shooter, he can also play in the post, where he has pretty good footwork, isn't afraid of contact, has a right hook, grabs offensive rebounds and has nice touch. Leaf is a terrific passer and when he doesn't have anything on the drive, he's almost always under control and will find the open man. He always plays hard and his versatility and talent make him one of the top prospects in the 2016 class nationally right now. As is the case with most young prospects, you’ll have to continue to monitor how his athleticism is impacted one way or the other with maturity but Leaf's skill level is so high and with his size, length and motor, he just impacts the game in so many ways it may not matter. Due to Leaf’s very impressive and diverse skill set, he has one of the highest floors in the 2016 class and is a player that Arizona fans can count on to have a very productive career in Tucson.
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