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Jefferson Commitment Solidifies Zona’s Recruiting Clout

September 13th, 2012 News No Comments

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AK Murthy

It’s good times in Wildcat country right now.

Surely, you’ve followed the recruitment and commitment of 2013 Chester, PA point forward Rondae Jefferson. Jefferson gives Wildcat fans a dynamic, well-rounded forward with a familiar surname, but he also gives Arizona a top-10 level player in their third consecutive recruiting class. If you’re scratching your head trying to remember the last time that happened in Tucson, don’t worry. It’s the first time in school history.

When Grant Jerrett committed to Arizona in November 2010, the ball started rolling. When Brandon Ashley committed in August 2011, the ball was moving downhill with some serious momentum. And when east coast big man Kaleb Tarczewski committed two months later, Arizona recruiting was charging onward in full-force, leaving a path of destruction in its wake after snagging three of the country’s top 10 players.

And now, in September 2012, the momentum has somehow gotten stronger. Yes, Jefferson gives the Wildcats an extremely skilled wing to inherit the voids left by Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom. And yes, his defensive prowess fits the Sean Miller mold to a T. But what’s truly exciting about the Jefferson commitment is what it means to the Arizona brand and the program’s attempt to be a recruiting powerhouse on the national scale.
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To be clear, Rondae Jefferson does not make or break Arizona. Individual players rarely shape a program’s future single handedly. But being able to pluck a top 10 player out of Philadelphia less than a year after landing a top 10 player out of New Hampshire is a major coup for a western school that has traditionally raided California, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest for its star players. But with the machine that Miller and Co are building, Arizona’s clout is beginning to make geography a non-factor in the recruiting game. With Jefferson and Tarczewski under their belts, the coaching staff can point to a history of top players making the cross country trek. Simply put, it’s just the beginning of the deluge of talent coming to the desert.

Many have lobbed criticism at Kentucky and John Calipari for their revolving door of top flight talent and one-and-done’s, but I would caution Arizona fans not to throw stones. While Arizona hasn’t pumped out the number of NBA selections that the Bluegrass ‘Cats have in recent years, don’t be surprised if people are calling U of A the “Kentucky of the West” in a few seasons. With the number of talented recruits that Miller is bringing and will continue to bring in, it’s only a matter of time before David Stern is calling their names every summer.

Don’t let your distaste for UK or Calipari sour you on this notion. Say what you will, but coach Cal has revolutionized the recruiting game and other coaches are adapting. If the idea of Arizona becoming the “Kentucky of the West” bothers you, you’re overthinking it. Sean Miller came to Arizona with the intent of recruiting the best players in the country, year in and year out. And now, he’s actually doing it.

It’s good times in Wildcat country right now.

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