Pac-10 Battle For Natyazhko

It didn't take Arizona and Arizona State long to fire up the old rivalry and get after it on the recruiting trail. Kyryl Natyazhko is looking at two schools whose coaches go back a long way.

The first battle between two old friends is Kyryl Natyazhko. The 6-foot-11 Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy standout, ranked No. 68 by, is on the cusp of deciding. Arizona and Arizona State are set to battle it out for one of the nation's best unsigned players.

We reached Vince Walden, IMG's coach, as he and the big fella boarded their flight for the Derby Classic on Thursday.

"The deal is that he's (likely) going to make a decision on Saturday," Walden said. "But, he wants to hold on and he's going to let me know if he wants to decide on the 11th."

It's very likely that Natyazhko pulls the trigger this weekend as planned. Walden said Natyazhko did not need to see Arizona's campus and if he picks the Wildcats, he'd do so on the strength of the relationship between Sean Miller, James Whitford and himself. They were recruiting Natyazhko at Xavier.

"He's really intrigued by Arizona. He's going to come down to Arizona and Arizona State. In terms of momentum Arizona is high and Arizona State is second."

This recruiting battle matches two head coaches who are intimately familiar with each other. ASU's Herb Sendek was Miller's boss at North Carolina State and signed Archie Miller, Sean's brother. By the magic of college basketball, the Pittsburgh natives have ended up in Arizona coaching rival teams in the same league.

The center, ranked No. 68 by, visited Arizona State in March.

Scout Hoops Top Stories