Wildcats Recruits Solidify Coach Miller's Standing

Stanley Johnson Headlines 2014 Class

For many years, Arizona Wildcats basketball was characterized by competitive teams led by Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson.  Olson coached the Wildcats for 25 years, and during that time his team appeared in 5 Final Fours, including a National Championship in 1997.  Those Wildcats teams consistently churned out NBA talent under Olson’s tutelage, so it was reasonable for some to question how the team would perform once Olson retired in 2008.  However, the University’s hire of Sean Miller from Xavier has proved to be a great one, with the team bringing in a number of top-ranked recruiting classes. The 2014 recruiting class has proved to be no different. 


The discussion of Arizona’s 2014 class starts with wing player Stanley Johnson out of Mater Dei High School (California).  Johnson was a consensus top 10 recruit and was heavily pursued by Kentucky and USC as well.  


Coach Miller has made Johnson’s AAU team, the Oakland Soldiers, a virtual farm team for the Wildcats, as Johnson will become the fifth player from the team to play at Arizona.  Current star forward Aaron Gordon was one of those players to come from the Soldiers, yet any discussion of his teaming with Johnson was dismissed at once by Johnson, who is assured that Gordon will make a move to the NBA after this season.  


Stanley Johnson may be the most exciting player in the class, but the other players are no slouches by any means.  Forward Craig Victor out of Findlay Prep (Nevada) is ranked as a top 30 player in this year’s class by ESPN.  If Gordon and center Kaleb Tarczewski do leave as seems likely right now, Victor could step right into their roles as strong scoring and rebounding threats.  


Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright is another ESPN top 100 recruit who will be at Arizona next season.  Jackson-Cartwright grew up watching Olson’s teams battle in the NCAA Tournament, and called the chance to play for Arizona, “a dream come true.”  While Jackson-Cartwright is relatively small at 5’7, he is seen as an explosive threat who attacks the basket well. 

                                                                                                                                                                    While Miller’s recruiting has drawn rave reviews thus far, the Wildcats’ class could have been even better this year if they had landed Justise Winslow, a small forward out of Houston.  Instead, Winslow decided on Duke, joining top recruits Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, who committed there last week.  There won’t be many complaints in Tucson though, as Miller continues a tradition of excellence that Lute Olson started thirty years ago.