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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hoops spring signing period begins

Last spring, after former USC head coach Tim Floyd resigned amid the OJ Mayo scandal, Arizona head coach Sean Miller pounced on the opportunity.

Miller convinced three of the Trojans’ 2009 recruits — Solomon Hill, Momo Jones and Derrick Williams — that Arizona was the place for them, even though they had previously passed.

Miller received the best freshman in the Pac-10, a prospective point guard and a forward who can just about do it all.

Even though those recruits couldn’t help extend the Wildcats’ NCAA tournament streak to 26, they showed flashes of greatness.

With the spring signing period officially starting today, Miller hopes to sign one player from the class of 2010 — to add to the three who have already signed or made commitments — before the signing period ends on May 19.

“”If you look at what we’ve done over the last 12 months, we’ve signed nine players,”” Miller said. “”I’m optimistic that were going to add at least one more player to the 2010 class.””

Six-foot-four Phoenix guard Daniel Bejarano signed in November during the early signing period, while 6-foot-1 Los Angeles shooting guard Jordin Mayes and transfer 6-foot-8 forward Jesse Perry are expected to sign today.

Perry, coming from the junior college level, will most likely have the most immediate impact. He impressed his coaches during his two-year career at John A. Logan Community College in Illinois.

“”In 25 years I’ve been at the junior college level, the young man has made more progress than anyone that I’ve ever coached,”” said Logan College head coach Mark Imoff. “”He has the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter at 6-foot-8 inches. He can score in transition and rebound.””

Imoff says that Perry can score inside, which would be a major plus for the Wildcats, considering their lack of depth on the frontcourt behind current forward Williams.

Miller hopes to add an additional recruit, and the best fit may be Ray McCallum out of Detroit Country Day School.

“”I think the style of play that coach Miller has brought to Arizona and the skill set that Ray has, I’ve told him this: Arizona would be a great fit for him,”” said Detroit Country Day School head coach Kurt Keener, who also coached NBA players Chris Webber and Shane Battier.

Keener’s son Joseph is a student manager for the Arizona basketball program.

“”It’s a young up-and-coming program with talented players, and, with the graduation of Nic Wise, he would be able to step up and fill a need,”” Keener said.

McCallum is also considering Florida, University of Detroit Mercy, and UCLA, which is making a major pitch, according to Keener.

“”UCLA and their recruiting pitch is that Coach Howland has produced a number of number of NBA point guards,”” Keener said. “”Like most kids his age and ability level, they’re looking to play beyond the college level.””

“”They’re saying UCLA needs a point guard very badly,”” he added. “”(UCLA is saying) ‘You could come here and be that point guard and we’ve had a great deal of success of sending guys to the NBA over the last half dozen years.'””

McCallum is expected to make his decision today at 1 p.m. on ESPNU. If he chooses to play elsewhere, Arizona’s most likely alternative is big man Kadeem Jack.

Keener doesn’t expect Florida to be in the picture but wouldn’t be shocked if McCallum were to choose the University of Detroit Mercy, where his father, Ray McCallum Sr. is the head coach.

“”Would I be shocked? No, because it’s been his lifelong dream to play for his Dad,”” Keener said. “”I also think he wants to play on the biggest stage possible.””

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