MILLER

Arizona basketball: Sean Miller hoping to enlist a few more good Soldiers

2012-07-30T00:01:00Z 2012-07-30T15:39:04Z Arizona basketball: Sean Miller hoping to enlist a few more good SoldiersBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 30, 2012 12:01 am  • 

LAS VEGAS - The tiny Durango High School auxiliary gym was overflowing with fans and coaches Saturday evening, but Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller and assistant Joe Pasternack managed to cram themselves in the doorway.

They had to. The Oakland Soldiers were playing.

Since Miller took over the Wildcats in April 2009, he's developed a key recruiting pipeline with the prestigious Bay Area travel-ball program. UA sophomore guard Nick Johnson and freshman forward Brandon Ashley are alumni of the program, as is since-departed UA guard Josiah Turner.

This summer, the Soldiers have a few more players the Wildcats would love to put in McKale Center. Players that just about everyone is trying to get, too, from a team that won last week's Peach Jam event and lost in the quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Classic on Sunday after surviving a 70-67 scare from the Arizona Stars on Saturday evening.

"We just focus on winning, and let everything else fall into play," Soldiers coach Derrick Artis said. "We think we do a pretty good job with that."

Here's a breakdown of the Soldiers players Arizona is interested in:

Jabari Bird

• Class: 2013

• Position: Wing

• Size: 6-5, 180

• High school: Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)

• Rankings: 11 (ESPN), 16 (Scout), 18 (Rivals)

• Other schools considering: California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado

• Notable: As a Bay Area product whose father played for Cal, Bird is believed to be leaning toward staying near home to play for the Bears, and he says Washington is another favorite.

• What he says: "My dad went to Cal, so he pushes me to go there. I know the players and the coaching staff, and it's in my backyard so it wouldn't hurt to stay home for college. Washington has a really good system that fits my style of play. (At Arizona) I liked their facilities. They had a lot of good stuff there. You could tell they were really trying to get their players bigger and stronger for the future."

Aaron Gordon

• Class: 2013

• Position: Power forward

• Size: 6-8, 210

• High school: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)

• Rankings: 4 (ESPN), 5 (Rivals, Scout)

• Other schools considering: Washington, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Stanford

• Notable: The younger brother of former UCLA forward (and onetime UA target) Drew Gordon, who transferred to New Mexico before joining the Dallas Mavericks' summer camp as an undrafted free agent this summer.

• What he says: "Sean Miller is a really good dude. He knows how to win. (In his system), if the fours (power forwards) get the rebound they can push the fast break, so that's something I really like."

Stanley Johnson

• Class: 2014

• Position: Forward

• Size: 6-6, 200

• High school: Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)

• Rankings: 17 (Rivals), 27 (ESPN), 40 (Scout)

• Other schools considering: Colorado, Marquette, Missouri, San Diego State, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC, Washington

• Notable: Johnson said he has scheduled an unofficial recruiting visit to Arizona for Aug. 7.

• What he says: "Coach Miller is a great coach. The staff is great. They're great people to have there. I want to see how it really is."

Ivan Rabb

• Class: 2015

• Position: Power forward

• Size: 6-9, 200

• High school: Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)

• Rankings: 10 (Scout), 25 (ESPN)

• Other schools considering: Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, Notre Dame, Stanford, Oregon State, Oregon, Florida, Seattle

• Notable: May take an unofficial visit to Arizona this fall to watch former O'Dowd player Brandon Ashley play for the Wildcats.

• What he says: "I haven't really thought about what schools I'd like to go to, but I like a lot of things about Arizona."

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