Mother Nature On Top

West Virginia head coach John Beilein was expected to watch a Florida recruiting target recently, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

"Coach Beilein was supposed to come in, but Hurricane Dennis came through and cancelled all the flights," Palm Harbor University High's A.J. Tyler said with a chuckle. "That kind of set everything back a bit."

Consider the Mountaineer effort delayed, but not denied, however. Tyler said that Beilein might reschedule the trip, and, in any event, he will visit the WVU campus later this fall.

"I haven't set a date or anything yet, because I'm concentrating on AAU right now, but I will definitely take an official visit to West Virginia," Tyler said. "I've never been there before, so I want to check it out."

Tyler could be the next piece in the puzzle of the recruiting class of 2006 for WVU, which already includes the bookends of center (transfer Jamie Smalligan) and point guard (Joe Mazzulla). A still-growing forward, Tyler could fit in as one of the front-line players in what is expected to be a four- or five-player class.

The slender Floridian fits the classic Beilein mold - he's a good shooter who can play multiple positions is comfortable firing from three-point range as well as middle distances. However, Tyler says he's not a one-dimensional player.

"I can play both inside and out," the first team All-Suncoast and second team Class 5A all-state pick said. "On my high school team, I play every position. I bring the ball up the floor, and I can set up the offense, then go down low and post up. I do a little bit of everything. On my AAU team, I don't do all that, but I do play the three, four and five positions."

Tyler's Nike Team Florida squad is in the midst of a busy summer. He and his teammates are next scheduled to play in the Orlando Super Showcase, and also have plans for Las Vegas later this month.

That busy schedule, plus his desire to concentrate on his play, have left little time to narrow down his list of schools. While Tyler has offers from West Virginia, Clemson, Central Florida and South Florida, he hasn't been putting much time into prioritizing his potential college picks.

"I've been concentrating on AAU, so I haven't really paid a lot of attention to getting a list of schools yet," Tyler said. "The recruiting process has been busy, but it's better than not having it at all. Once AAU is over and school starts, I'll concentrate more on it."

Tyler, who admits that he wants to add size and strength to his six-foot nine-inch, 218-pound frame, also has interest from Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Maryland, among others.

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