Miller Deserves Some Credit Too

It hasn't taken Sean Miller much time to do some damage at Arizona. He's already secured a highly touted class, and it didn't take him much time to get it done.

John Calipari received an endless amount of praise for his incredible recruiting efforts in such little time at Kentucky.

And let's be honest, what Calipari did to accumulate the nation's top 2009 recruiting class was one of the best recruiting jobs in recent history. But what Sean Miller has accomplished at Arizona in just 92 days is nearly as impressive.

Arizona's class doesn't quite measure up to Kentucky's. In fact, it's not close. However, the job that Miller and his staff did ranks just as efficient, especially when you consider that Calipari was handed two Top 50 prospects in Jon Hood and Daniel Orton.

Earlier this week, Miller secured his fourth Top 100 commitment and fifth overall pledge – the latest coming from former USC pledge Derrick Williams of La Mirada (Calif.) High.

Throw Williams, a four-star prospect by Scout.com, in the mix with Solomon Hill, Kyryl Natyazhko, Kevin Parrom and three-star guard Lamont "MoMo" Jones and you have a class that competes with the nation's best.

"Given the circumstances of when Miller took over, who was actually left and the chaotic nature of the spring, it's remarkable what they've been able to do," Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep said.

Keep in mind on April 5th the Wildcats still didn't have a head coach, much less a commitment from a high school prospect.

Eight days later, Miller had Hill, a top 10 small forward, and Natyazhko, a top 50 prospect, in the fold, and they were well on there way to building a recruiting class that will help rebuild the storied program.


Hill Made The Switch From USC To ‘Zona
"Obviously some things happened in college basketball that played to our advantage and we certainly took advantage of it," Miller said. "But I'm very excited about the class as a whole and to me it can be a group that can be associated with a new beginning so to speak."

A new beginning is exactly what the Wildcats need. With Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger leaving early for the NBA, the ‘Cats returned just one senior – Nic Wise – and just three players that played more than 15 minutes a game last season.

Miller needed talent, but his goal wasn't necessarily to put together a big class. The plan – which was executed to perfection - was to recruit Arizona level prospects, and not get caught taking the best available player, if they weren't good enough.

"When it's April and you're talking about seniors, there aren't a lot of players that are Arizona good. There just aren't," Miller said. "So for us, if it was one, great. If it was two, great. The number didn't matter."

After scoring the early commitments from Hill and Natyazhko, Miller and his staff methodically recruited Kevin Parrom, who had signed with Miller when he was at Xavier. By early June, Parrom was headed to Tucson..

Miller would have been perfectly happy with a three-man class that consisted of Hill, Natyahko and Parrom. All top 100 guys, and all players that could help get Arizona back in the thick of things in the Pac-10.

But then Arizona received a gift or sorts from Tim Floyd. The USC coach resigned in mid-June, and shortly thereafter the Trojan class dismantled. Noel Johnson left for Clemson, while Derrick Williams and Lamont "MoMo" Jones were allowed to explore other options.

Before July both Williams and Jones were a part of the Arizona program, thus making Miller's first class in Tucson one that ranks in the Top 10 nationally.

"In fairness when you're talking about Arizona, you can't just do it once," Miller said. "The goal is to continuously do it and become a program of recruiting classes."

Miller's right, but the groundwork has been laid.

In 92 days, he assembled a Top 10 class. Just imagine what he can do with a full year.


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