Monday, October 31, 2011
Kaleb Tarczewski commits to Arizona
By Adam Finkelstein
ESPN Recruiting Nation
Seven-foot center Kaleb Tarczewski, rated the No. 6 overall prospect in the ESPN 100 for 2012, has committed to Arizona, choosing the Wildcats over Kansas.
Arizona, which already had the nation's top-ranked recruiting class to date, had the potential to put together one of the best recruiting classes college basketball has seen in recent years by adding Tarczewski (Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's), the nation's best available center. The Jayhawks had been considered the frontrunner in Tarczewski's recruitment for over two years.
"Everything just felt right at Arizona," Tarczewski said Monday, "from the coaches, to the current players, to the incoming recruits."
At Arizona, he will join a class including three other players from the ESPN100 for 2012: Fourth-ranked Brandon Ashley (Oakland, CA/Findley Prep), ninth-ranked Grant Jerrett (La Verne, CA/La Verne Lutheran), and 36th-ranked Gabe York (Orange, CA/Orange Lutheran).
Tarczewski took official visits to both schools in recent weeks, traveling to Kansas for their Midnight Madness-style celebration "Late Night at the Phog" and the opening weekend of practice before spending the next weekend on Arizona's campus.
Following those visits, Tarczewski took this past weekend to meet with his parents, who had already planned to be on St. Mark's Southborough, Mass., campus for parents' weekend, and finalize his decision.
"It was a very long road," Tarczewski said. "Both schools were wonderful programs with great histories and coaching staffs, and I was so fortunate to have the options I did."
Tarczewski was highly-sought not only for his powerful seven-foot frame and ability to run the floor, but for his humility and desire to improve. He's grateful to those who have helped him go from a relative unknown three years ago to one of the nation's preeminent big men.
"I still have a long way to go as a player, but I've had a ton of help along the way," Tarczewski said. "Without people like T.J. Gassnola, Jay Murphy, Dave Lubick, and John Carroll, I wouldn't be in this position."
Adam Finkelstein covers college basketball recruiting for ESPN.com.