Tuesday, September 20, 2011
UCLA, Arizona in a recruiting arms race
By Diamond Leung
UCLA's recruiting class in 2012 shot up to No. 2 in the ESPNU rankings following the commitment of Kyle Anderson, the nation's fifth-ranked recruit who announced Monday night that he would become a Bruin.
The only class ranked higher than UCLA's belongs to longtime rival Arizona, and for both programs, there are still big-time players left on the board who they hope to ultimately secure.
For UCLA coach Ben Howland, the prize is No. 1 overall recruit Shabazz Muhammad, who, like his friend Anderson, can play the guard and small forward positions. The Bruins already have other top-100 commitments from small forward Jordan Adams and guard Dominic Artis.
For Arizona coach Sean Miller, his sights are set on No. 6 overall recruit Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-foot center who would go well alongside power forwards Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett, the nation's No. 4- and No. 9-ranked recruits who are already committed to the Wildcats. Arizona also has a commitment from top-100 guard Gabe York.
This compilation of talent by two schools now recruiting on a national level helps elevate the stature of the Pac-12. Not only does it put pressure on the rest of the conference to catch up, but it also might set up two storied programs to make deep postseason runs and continue jostling going forward.
Here's a tweet from Miles Simon, the ESPN broadcaster who won a national championship playing for Arizona and experienced the old-school West Coast rivalry:
AZ and Ucla going at it reminds me of my playing days. Recruit for recruit, title for title. Going to be great battles for yrs to come
And how did Anderson, the New Jersey native who is heading to Westwood, describe his expectations for his freshman season?
"Of course, winning the national championship and being a strong contributor," Anderson told ESPN.com.