Sean Miller has brought in another fantastic recruiting class full of promising freshmen. Last year Nick Johnson was the most consistent member of the heralded 2011 class. This years class is different in that it brings much needed size to the Arizona roster. Last season Miller was forced to use 6’7″ Jesse Perry at center more than he wanted to and has addressed that issue with three players 6’8″ or taller. 7’0″ Kaleb Tarcewski should step right in as the starting center. 6’10″ Grant Jerrett and 6’8″ Brandon Ashley should see significant time at the power forward spot. The least heralded, but arguably most explosive of the group is 6’3″ combo guard Gabe York. With the 2012 NBA Draft finally in the books, let’s take a look at the pro prospects for Arizona’s incoming class.
Kaleb Tarczewski 7’0′ 240, C, Fr. – Tarczewski brings much needed size and athleticism to the Wildcat front court. He is the likeliest one and done candidate of the bunch, but realistically, he will be a 2 year player. He runs the floor well for his size and has good hands to catch and finish around the basket. He has a nice jump hook over his left shoulder to work off of and decent footwork that will have to improve to increase his effectiveness inside. He is a capable shot blocker and rebounder and will give coach Miller a viable option to throw the ball down to on the low post in late game situations. Could be a lottery pick in 2 years.
Grant Jerrett 6’10″ 225, PF/C, Fr. – Jerrett is the most skilled player of this highly touted group. He can shoot the ball out to 17 feet, is a good passer and has a very high IQ. He is long and can get out and run the floor in Miller’s up tempo system. He should be able to be effective in pick and pop situations and as a passer in some high/low sets. He is not the most fluid athlete and lacks elite explosion, but he is crafty and will finish over people when it’s least expected. He is a high character kid who will work on his deficiencies and be an integral part in the upcoming season. With added strength and explosion in the strength and conditioning program, Jerrett could find himself in the first round of the draft in 2 to 3 years.
Brandon Ashley, 6’8″ 225, PF/SF, Fr. – Adding to the the Wildcat front court talent is Northern California native Ashley. Once thought to be an eventual 7 footer, Ashley topped out at 6’8′ and has worked to expand his game to be more of a threat away from the basket. He has greatly improved in this area over the last couple of years. Ashley has expressed a desire to move to the wing full time and the Arizona coaching staff will give him every opportunity to prove that he is capable of making the switch. He is very skilled at putting the ball on the floor and has shown an emerging jump shot out to 17 feet. His handle has improved to the point where he can take 2 dribbles and get to the rim. If he were 2 inches taller, he would be legitimate one and done candidate. With his talent level he could be gone in 2 years, but with the switch he is attempting to make to the wing, I see him being more of a 3 year guy before he’s ready for the NBA.
Gabe York 6’3″ 190, SG/PG, Fr. – York is the most explosive athlete and scorer of this class. He can put up points in a hurry and had some highlight reel finishes during his senior year. He enters the program with the same questions that Nick Johnson had coming in. Can he transition full time to the point guard position? Coach Miller being a former point guard is the best guy to get York to buy into being a true point guard and showing him the in’s and out’s of the position. His scoring and athleticism will without question raise the eyes of scouts all over the NBA, but the true measure of his pro potential will be his ability to run a team. If his learning curve moves fairly quickly, I can see York possibly being able to leave after 2 years.