Posted on: August 29, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 7:37 am
By Jeff Goodman
My fellow Arizona alums didn't want me anywhere near campus last year. I was the skeptic, the one who had the Wildcats ranked lower than any other AP voter, the one who just never believed in the cast surrounding Derrick Williams.
Now it's time to attempt to get back on the good side of my fellow alums.
Arizona will contend for the national title in 2012.
With the recent news that elite forward Brandon Ashley decided to commit to Arizona over Oregon and Kentucky on Monday, Miller has done the unthinkable.
He's taken Arizona from one of the most unstable programs in the nation just a few years ago back to where it's again a legitimate national power.
Check out this potential core group in 2012:
Point Guard - Josiah Turner, Jordin Mayes
Shooting Guard - Nick Johnson, Gabe York
Small Forward - Kevin Parrom, Solomon Hill
Power Forward - Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett
Center - Angelo Chol, Sidiki Johnson
And if Arizona can somehow beat out Kansas for 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski, the Wildcats could be the favorites to win it all in 2012.
Even without Tarczewski, this will be a team capable of cutting down the nets. However, with him, they could be like the Wildcats of the old days, the ones that were loaded with future NBA'ers.
What Miller - who had absolutely no recruiting ties to the west coast - has done in his two years in Tucson has truly been remarkable. Not only is he a proven coach from his days at Xavier, but he showed he can get the most of his talent with the Elite Eight run a year ago.
He's also showcasing he can be an elite recruiter.
Miller's buddy, John Calipari, dug in on Ashley and came up short. Oregon has Nike backing and lost out to Arizona.
I was a skeptic a year ago.
That's no longer the case.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 4:31 pm
Despite being considered an Arizona lean for much of his recruitment, Brandon Ashley still had a long list of suitors on his trail.
On Monday, Ashley confirmed popular opinion and committed to Arizona.
“He committed minutes ago,” Findlay Prep assistant coach Todd Simon told CBSSports.com.
Ashley visited Arizona’s campus on Sunday after the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game in Venice Beach, Calif. He chose the Wildcats over Oregon, Kentucky and UCLA.
Ashley, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Oakland who transferred to Findlay for the fall, is ranked No. 6 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He has one of the best skillsets of any frontcourt prospect, using his athleticism and length to make plays in a variety of ways. Ashley can run the floor and finish in transition, but he also has effective post moves around the basket. He can step out and knock down face-up jumpers, and he is also solid on the defensive end and on the glass.
Ashley is the third top-30 commit in Arizona’s 2012 class, joining guard Gabe York (No. 24) and forward Grant Jerrett (No. 30).
Photo: Five-Star Basketball
Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:09 pm
By Jeff Borzello
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When discussing the top players in the class of 2012, Brandon Ashley is not always mentioned in the case for number one.
Ashley takes offense to that.
“I definitely feel like I belong in the top five,” he said. “I know I’m just as good or better. My skill level is not an issue. I just have to play harder, play more consistently.”
The 6-foot-9 forward from Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) certainly made his case at the NBPA Top 100 camp last week. Ashley showed off his all-around skill set, scoring with his back to the basket and knocking down face-up jumpers. He runs the floor better than most big men, and also handles the ball and passes well for someone his size.
Ashley’s potential is through the roof, and when he brings maximum effort, he is tough to contain.
“I’m trying to become an all-around better player, an inside-outside player,” he said.
Ashley has plenty of suitors at this point, but said he is ready to cut down his list in the near future. For now, though, it seems a number of colleges have a shot at him.
“I’m wide-open, but a lot of the same schools [are involved],” Ashley said. “The Pac-10, the SEC, Kansas, schools like that. Everyone is coming at me the hardest.”
In addition to the entire Pac-10 and Kansas, Wake Forest, Texas, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Connecticut and others are also recruiting him.
One school mentioned in association with Ashley in the past has been Kentucky, but he said the Wildcats’ pursuit has tailed off.
“They’ve sent me a few emails, but that’s it,” he said.
When Ashley does make a final decision – which doesn’t look like any time soon – he is looking for a school that already has established talent on the roster
“I want to go to a place where I’m surrounded by good players, with a good coaching staff,” Ashley said.
Photo: Media 411