Just a few hours before Arizona would tip off against Stanford, 2017 Jaylen Hands was in Sean Miller’s McKale Center office, talking to the Wildcats’ head coach about how he might fit into the future of the program.
A 6’3 point guard out of Mater Dei Catholic (San Diego), Hands is already Arizona’s top priority in the class of 2017.
Hands already has offers from UCLA and San Diego State, and many more are likely on the way this summer when he plays for the Compton Magic.
While he may only be a sophomore, Hands possesses a strong command for the game and can shoot from most anywhere on the court.
This unofficial visit was Miller’s chance to sell Hands on why Arizona is not just the best, but the only option for a premier west coast point guard.
Before the Saturday meeting, Miller and his staff had already put together all the usual stomps.
An opportunity to see the Wildcats practice up close Friday afternoon, followed by a shooting session in Richard Jefferson gymnasium. A tour of Arizona’s state-of-the-art facilities. Even a discussion with an academic advisor.
Later Friday afternoon, Miller and assistant coach Joe Pasternack put together a 45 minute power point for Hands and his father.
That night, Hands headed to Gentle Ben’s Brewery for dinner.
But the real action came on Saturday, when Hands was joined by 2017 classmates Alex Barcello and Ira Lee. All three have a long ways to go in their recruitments, but a package deal could shape up down the road.
“We all like Arizona,” Hands said. “You never know.”
After a breakfast at IHOP, where every worker had Arizona gear on according to Hands’ twitter, it was time to head back to McKale, first for a shoot-around and then the meeting with Miller.
With a 27-3 record, the best facilities in the west, and near perfect weather, Miller provided substance to the style that defines Arizona basketball.
“It got me more in tuned with the staff,” Hands said. “I got to know the team and how Coach Miller coaches them. They talked a lot about how many point guards have come through, how Sean Miller and Damon Stoudamire are on staff, and how they want to keep the tradition going.”
A few hours later, Miller’s words became motions, as TJ McConnell graced the McKale floor for the last time in an Arizona uniform.
Hands had a front row seat to McConnell’s final home game. The atmosphere, as he put it, was insane.
“The craziest part was probably the fans,” Hands said. “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up.”
After the game, Hands watched Arizona raise the Pac-12 Championship banner and cut down the nets. Then it was one final talk with the coaches before heading home.
Miller had made his statement.
“I loved the visit,” Hands said. “I definitely would like to come back.”