Q&A With Ari Stewart

Ari Stewart, of Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, is a hot name among college coaches and the 6-foot-7, 185-pound wing took some time to answer a number of questions for Scout.com.

Ari Stewart is getting interest from a ton of schools across the country. During our chat he mentioned Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU, Arizona, Clemson, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan State, Oregon, Texas, UAB, UCLA, Wake Forest, Xavier, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Our 15-minute interview with Stewart provided a good look at his recruitment and his thoughts on a number of schools. Here's a number of the questions that Stewart answered:

Which schools are making you a priority?

Wake Forest, Xavier, Georgia Tech and Florida. Those are mainly the ones that I talk to the most.

What are those four schools doing differently?

There's just been a lot of communication like hand written notes when they send mail. Instead of sending junk mail they'll send hand written notes. Wake Forest even called me and wished me a happy birthday on my birthday. It's little stuff like that, that really make a difference and make me feel like I'm a high priority to them.

What are you looking for in a school?

I'm looking for a school that matches my style of play and likes to get out and run. Location isn't really an issue, just a school that matches my style of play and a place where I feel comfortable. Academics are a big part too.

At one point you were thinking about visiting Wake Forest, is that still in the works?

I'm not sure. I don't know if I'm going to Wake Forest next weekend or not. I took the ACT test this weekend and I guess I was supposed to go down there, but I took the ACT. I'm not sure if I'm going next weekend or not.

How did you think you did on the big test?

Me and DJ (DeQuan Jones) took the practice ACT a lot and his mom would grade them and give them back to us and I did pretty well.

Are their any other visits coming up? Are there any other schools that you want to visit?

I would like to visit every school that I'm considering, but that would be real time consuming. I'd love to visit everybody just to see what their campus is like and see the town, the facilities and to see if I'd be comfortable in that environment. I'm going down to Xavier November 10th for their first game.

Where did Xavier's interest start?

There interest got strong over the summer. At the beginning of the summer in April or May when we were playing in Ohio. At all the AAU tournaments they saw me play and their coach said he fell in love with the way I play, so they started recruiting me.

They were one of the first schools to offer me a scholarship. Auburn and Xavier were the first two to offer me a scholarship. With Xavier I just want to see what there program is about. They say they aren't afraid to play anybody, just because they are in the Atlantic-10 conference. There's just a lot of stuff behind that.

Georgia Tech is a local school and they've been on you pretty hard, what has their interest been like?

Georgia Tech always has been recruiting me pretty strong. Charlton Young at Georgia Tech and I have talked pretty often and he's real cool. I have a real good relationship with him. Even though Georgia Tech is right here in Atlanta, I haven't had a chance to get down there. So I'm probably going to go down there, it'd be real convenient.

You've already visited Florida, talk about your interest in them.

I'm real close with Billy Donovan and Coach Lewis Preston. I like their coaching staff, I like their team and I feel really comfortable in that environment. I like Florida. It's just a real good place for me. I could see myself there.

North Carolina has been involved as well, how has their interest been?

I've just been talking to Coach Robinson, but I haven't had the chance to sit down and talk to Coach Roy Williams. I have talked to Coach Robinson quite a bit though. He was talking to me and he was like ‘we have a scholarship here for you.'

Where do you go from here with the whole recruiting process?

From today I'm just going to take it school by school and visit by visit. It's all a matter of time and I'm just going to sit down and try to figure out which school will be the best for me.

I think I'll probably wait until next year. I really do want to commit while I'm on an official visit and not an unofficial visit just because there's more to see on an official visit. So it'll probably be around this time next year when I commit.

How is your high school team going to be this year?

We are going to be real good this year. I think we are going to be better than last year, even without J.J. Hickson because of the fact that we will be a lot faster and we'll have a bigger presence on defense.

Most of our speed will be faster and we'll be able to play a faster style of basketball. Last year we had two guys that were 6-8 or 6-9 big man that got tired over the course of the game and that slowed us down. This year we have a lot of athletic players and we can all move real fast, play good defense and get the ball out for wide open dunks. We are a lot more athletic this year.

Losing J.J. Hickson, even though he's a beast down low, we'll be able to do good without him. Just because of the fact that without him other people can play their style of basketball and we'll be able to run.


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