Angelo Chol, the top available big man in the ESPNU 100, committed to Arizona over Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina and Washington on Thursday from the Hoover High School auditorium in San Diego, Calif.
"There were many reasons for my decision," said Chol. "[Coach Sean Miller] has had great success with players like Derek Brown (who played at Xavier and is now on the Charlotte Bobcats) and current Wildcat Derrick Williams and they feel I can be in the same mold."
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound native of Sudan has come a long way from being the last player off the bench as a seventh grader. In 2009, he was the California State Sophomore of the Year, is closing in on 2,000 career points and has led Hoover High School to a fourth consecutive Eastern League Championship. Chol is also one of the best rebounders and shot blockers all-time in the state of California.
Offensively, the long, athletic and left-hander possesses a sweet jump hook over his right shoulder, which is his go-to move inside and has improved each year under Hoover coach Ollie Goulston. He also goes after missed shots, has impressive footwork, brings energy to his team, consistently works on his jumper and is improving from behind the arc.
"Angelo is like a sponge, he listens and learns, along with a great work ethic," said Goulston. "The sky's the limit for him."
To reach his full potential he must continue to work on his game, especially posting up, catching passes at the rim and developing his weak hand close to the basket. As he gains strength, Chol will also have the balanced lower base to make and maintain contact and back his defender down under the rim. However, his ceiling is especially high because of his aptitude and willingness to please his coaches. If Chol invests his time wisely and develops under Miller, he could turn heads in the Pac-12.
In a short period of time, Miller and the Wildcats are making a lot of noise on the recruiting front and with the addition of Chol they jump up to No. 8 in the class rankings from No. 12. He joins three other ESPNU 100 prospects to commit to Arizona in shooting guard Nick Johnson (Gilbert, Ariz./Findlay Prep), point guard Josiah Turner (Sacramento, Calif./Quality Education Academy) and power forward Sidiki Johnson (Bronx, N.Y./Oak Hill).
With the art of the block in his DNA, Chol will influence and impact the Wildcats' team defensive field goal percentage as well as start their fast break. His presence protecting the rim next year will allow Arizona to press more because Miller knows Chol is back there to block or alter shots. Offensively, he's improved enough that he can play inside and be a threat as well as facing the basket in Arizona's 4 out 1 and be a factor in the Wildcats' pick-and-roll action.
"I wanted to be in a situation [where I could] play early in my career and have a chance to win a national championship," said Chol. "I feel with this recruiting class we will have that chance."
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.