Among the many theories why the Arizona Wildcats are attracting a flood of elite high school talent:
• Went to the Elite Eight last season.
• Turned Derrick Williams from Top 150 prospect to No. 2 NBA draft pick.
• Have updated facilities, with a fancy locker room, a practice gym and private workout room.
• And they'll greet you at McKale Center with life-size action murals of the program's many NBA draft picks. Then bathe you in sunshine, and surround you with a passionate fan base.
There's also this theory: Maybe coach Sean Miller just tries really hard.
"He works his tail off," said Clark Francis, longtime head of the HoopScoop recruiting service. "You work your tail off and good things are going to happen. Last summer (in 2010), the most visible head coach out there recruiting was Sean Miller. And this year he was the runner-up (behind UCLA's Ben Howland). I go to the best events and there's usually a correlation between who goes the most and who gets the best recruits."
Francis' HoopScoop is one of the many sites ranking Arizona's 2012 class No. 1 nationally as of now. The Wildcats are expected to sign four consensus Top 50 players when the fall signing period begins Wednesday: center Kaleb Tarczewski, forward Brandon Ashley, forward Grant Jerrett and guard Gabe York.
Rivals put UA atop its updated rankings Thursday, while Scout analyst Evan Daniels said his site also would when it releases its next update.
"You have to look at Sean Miller and what he's been able to accomplish the past couple of years," Daniels said. "He was great at Xavier in recruiting and then he goes to Arizona. It's not a surprise. He's really good at his job."
Here's a look at the players Miller is expected to haul in next week:
Brandon Ashley, forward
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
School: Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Committed to Arizona: Aug. 29, 2011
Also considered: Kentucky, UCLA, Oregon
Rating: 3 (Scout), 4 (ESPN), 13 (Rivals)
Game: Long, quick and athletic. Has potential to be force inside, though aggressiveness is sometimes inconsistent.
Worth noting: Played on the same Oakland Soldiers travel team with current UA freshmen Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner.
The analyst says: "He can really run the floor, and he competes inside. He'll challenge at the rim and he's not afraid to run in traffic. He's a very smooth, athletic operator in the lane." - Dave Telep, ESPN.
Grant Jerrett, forward
Hometown: Chino Hills, Calif.
School: Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.)
Committed to Arizona on: Nov. 27, 2010
Also considered: UCLA, USC, UNLV
Rating: 9 (ESPN), 23 (Scout), 50 (Rivals)
Game: Long forward with good hands and passing ability. High basketball IQ.
Worth noting: Committed on same day as Lutheran teammate Eric Cooper, a 2013 guard and son of former Wildcat Eric Cooper.
The analyst says: Jerrett and Ashley "are very similar. Sort of finesse four men, not power players necessarily. They make shots consistently to 17 feet. Both long, rangy and good with the ball. With Ashley, I like his versatility on defense and he's just a good offensive player. You'd say basically the same thing about Grant but maybe he's not quite as athletic as Brandon." - Jerry Meyer, Rivals
Kaleb Tarczewski, center
Hometown: Claremont, N.H.
School: St. Mark's (Southborough, Mass.)
Committed to Arizona on: Oct. 31, 2011
Also considered: Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky
Rating: 6 (ESPN), 8 (Scout), 20 (Rivals)
Game: Solid all-around true center with good mobility and good hands. Developing hook shot, good rebounder and capable defender.
Worth noting: He's a fifth-year high school senior who will be 19 on Feb. 26.
The analyst says: "He's skilled, mobile and runs the court well. He didn't play as well as I expected this summer. … If you have three or four good players around him, he's very good." - Clark Francis, HoopScoop
Gabe York, guard
Hometown: West Covina, Calif.
School: Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)
Committed to Arizona on: July 10, 2011
Also considered: Washington, Marquette, Louisville
Rating: 31 (Rivals), 36 (ESPN), 42 (Scout)
Game: Natural, prolific scorer loves to fire away on the break but also has the athleticism to drive inside for baskets. Could improve defensively.
Worth noting: Committed shortly after Arizona began recruiting him harder in wake of MoMo Jones' transfer.
He said it: "He's going to put up points in college; that's what he does in AAU. He's very similar to Nick Johnson. He's not as good a defender as Nick but they both can be explosive scorers." - Meyer
On StarNet: Follow the Cats this season with Bruce Pascoe at: azstarnet.com/pascoe
Preview the Arizona Wildcats' 2011-12 season in the Star's annual special section.
• What: Valparaiso at Arizona
• When: 7 p.m. Monday
• TV; radio: ESPNU; 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)