Brandon Ashley picks Arizona
Brandon Ashley, the No. 4 overall player in the ESPNU 100, committed to Arizona coach Sean Miller over UCLA, Oregon and Kentucky on Monday.
Miller time in Arizona
Sean Miller is getting comfortable in Tucson. Real comfortable, especially on the recruiting trail.
Taking over for a legend like Lute Olson comes with its own set of challenges, but mix in the fact that Miller is from Pittsburgh and people wondered how he would get it done in the desert. Well, the fact of the matter is that 12 of the 15 prospects Miller has recruited to Arizona were in the ESPNU 100 and each year has been better than the previous. Now that Brandon Ashley (Oakland, Calif./Findlay Prep) is committed, Miller can claim a lottery pick in Derrick Williams, two top-10 overall prospects in Ashley and Grant Jerrett (LaVerne, Calif./LaVerne Lutheran), as well as a trio of stud guards in Gabe York (Orange, Calif./Lutheran), Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson.
The trio of York (No. 36), Ashley (No. 4) and Jerrett (No. 9) is enough firepower to slide past Indiana and take over the top spot in the 2012 class rankings.
After analyzing Arizona's depth chart, the next position for Miller to strengthen is the point guard slot. He has Turner, Johnson and York, who can double as combos but their long-term future will be according to their growth and based on the new NBA collective bargaining agreement. You can bet in 2013, Miller will dispatch his assistants with the intention of getting a big-time point guard. Nate Britt (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga) was on campus Sunday afternoon.
This program is poised to make a run at the Wildcats' fifth Final Four appearance.
-- Dave Telep
"I'm ready to commit to Arizona," Ashley said. "After all the time thinking about it and getting to know Coach Miller and having two great teammates, (fellow 2012 commits Grant Jerrett and Gabe York) I knew it was the right choice for me."
The nation's No. 2-ranked power forward won back-to-back NorCal Division III titles for Bishop O'Dowd before he transferred to perennial Fab 50 team Findlay Prep this summer. He has steadliy raised through the ranks thanks to his talent, athletic ability and dedication. This past summer at the NBPA Top 100 Camp he and only four others earned the titile "workout warriors" for their desire to do extra workouts during the camp.
Ashley is not your prototypical power forward in build or in game. He possesses explosive athleticism along with a long frame and broad shoulders. He impacts the game with his shot-blocking and ability to finish in the paint. However, the 6-foot-8, 215-pound prospect is comforable knocking down high-post jumpers and even driving to the basket.
"We are going to work with Brandon to try and expand his skill level out to the arc," Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck said. "At the same time, he is a smart player and understands he dominates right now in the paint."
What's even more exciting, especially to Arizona fans, is that he still has plenty of room to grow and his upside is limitless. Miller wanted to make sure Ashley didn't go anywhere else.
"[Sean Miller] was one of the first head coaches in early on Brandon," Oakland Soldiers director Mark Olivier said.
"Coach Miller showed up to just about every AAU game, open gym or high school game," Ashley said. " He showed he was dedicated."
When you look at the Wildcat's incoming trio, the amount of talent is incredible and all three can shoot the basketball and come from winning environments. Don't be surprised to see Ashley and Jarrett trailing the break and being part of pick-and-pop situation.
This is the type of recruiting class that can make a deep run in the tournament.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter. Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.