|ESPN.com: Men's College Basketball||[Print without images]|
Arizona landed a valued recruiting target Thursday when small forward Rondae Jefferson (Chester, Pa./Chester) committed to the Wildcats.
Jefferson, ESPN's No. 14 prospect in the Class of 2013, had been looking at Florida, Texas, Rutgers, Syracuse, Memphis and Temple. Jefferson's brother, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, stayed in Philadelphia to play for Temple, and Rondae was in tune with the benefits of leaving home.
"When you go away, you can really focus," Jefferson said. "You don't know anybody, you have to learn. It makes you really focus."
Jefferson hasn't had any problem focusing on his game during the high school season. Since losing the seventh game of his sophomore season, Jefferson's Chester team has 58 consecutive wins and a pair of state titles.
Arizona coach Sean Miller, a native of Pennsylvania, recruited the city when he was at Xavier. The Wildcats were the pre-summer favorite to land Jefferson, and the courtship culminated with an in-home visit Thursday evening when Jefferson offered up his pledge. Jefferson's commitment moves the Wildcats to No. 8 in the updated ESPN class rankings for 2013.
Arizona spent all of last recruiting season shoring up its frontcourt, and its 2012 class of four consisted of three headliners taller than 6-foot-8, including two who were McDonald's All-Americans.
This year, the Wildcats have addressed the perimeter and the hybrid small forward position. Elliott Pitts (Dublin, Calif./De La Salle), another ESPN 100 prospect, committed to the Wildcats in August.Miller's focus was on toughness and team, and Jefferson exemplifies both.
The last player to commit to Arizona from Philadelphia was point guard Mustafa Shakur in 2003. Since arriving at Arizona, Miller has made it a point to recruit both coasts, landing center Kaleb Tarczewski from the Northeast in 2012.