Arizona Lands Top Point Guard
Sports Illustrated once gave Arizona the greatest gift a media outlet could bestow upon a university: a cool nickname to be used in recruiting mail outs. In fact, it was a nickname – Point Guard U. – and feature article in the magazine that most certainly will be circulated throughout the nation to floor generals for years to come.
Don't think for a second it didn't help the Wildcats in their recruitment of Mustafa Shakur. On Tuesday, Shakur announced that he would continue his basketball education at Arizona. He had narrowed his choices down to Arizona and North Carolina State.
His decision was as difficult as it was easy. For starters, NC State clearly needed a player to come in and assume the role of point guard. Shakur would have been the best candidate for that role after Chris Paul selected what amounted to hometown Wake Forest. The Pack was willing to handover the reigns of the offense to only the nation's top creators. They had a need and spent their time in the high rent district of point guards. They weren't about to compromise the quality of kid and player they were looking for.
Plus, State was a 50 minute plane ride and 6.5 hour car drive from his home. Throw in the ever popular "they're in the ACC" reference recruits like to toss around and there's little doubt NC State had the ways, means and reasons to lure Shakur.
But, Arizona had something kids these days covet: a history of graduating players at the point position to the NBA.
We would venture to guess that history foiled the Pack's plan. Right now, Arizona has it rolling when it comes to lead guards. Jason Terry, Mike Bibby and Damon Stoudemire. They aren't the very best in the NBA (though Bibby is on the rise) but they are in the NBA making millions and in today's world that's a huge recruiting tool. Toss in the fact that Jason Gardner, the ‘Cats current point guard is a potential all-american and has seen his share of Final Fours and all of the sudden, ‘Zona gets attractive in a hurry.
Think about Lute Olson's month so far. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame, watched one of his kids get married, landed the nation's top power forward and topped it off with a commitment from the nation's best point guard. Right now for Olson, life is good.
But it can get better.
In fact, it can get better in New Orleans, San Antonio, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Atlanta. Those are the sites at which the Final Four will be held from 2003 through 2007.