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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Top hoops prospects arrive on campus today

    Solomon Alabi
    Solomon Alabi

    Although Arizona’s next recruiting class appeared to be settled, the Wildcat brass will have two top-tier recruits in for official visits this weekend.

    Kyle Singler, a 6-foot-8 forward from Oregon and the No. 1 small forward in the 2007 class, according to the recruiting Web site Rivals.com, and Solomon Alabi, a 7-foot-1 center from Montverde, Fla., ranked No. 24 overall (No. 4 among centers), will arrive in Tucson today.

    Five players from next year’s class have already verbally committed to play for Arizona, which has allotted the maximum of 13 scholarships this season.

    But the Wildcats have just three seniors in Mustafa Shakur, Ivan Radenovic and Kirk Walters. The coaching staff expects Marcus Williams to bolt for the NBA Draft at the end of the year, and junior Bret Brielmaier is on a year-to-year scholarship, meaning his scholarship can be taken away next season.

    If Arizona decides to sign either Singler or Alabi, one other player currently on the roster would have to either transfer, leave for the NBA or give up his scholarship.

    Alabi participated in the Arizona Cactus Classic, an AAU tournament held in McKale Center this summer, and has risen on recruiting Web sites. Having only played three years of organized basketball, the Nigeria native is still a work in progress.

    “”He’s new to the game, but the advantage that he has of being new to the game is that he doesn’t have as many deficiencies or bad habits,”” said Alabi’s high school coach, Kevin Sutton, who will have Alabi for a second year this season.

    Alabi, listed at 230 pounds, grew up playing soccer, and Sutton said the 7-footer has “”great hands and great feet.””

    “”Solomon is long and athletic, and I think his best basketball is ahead of him,”” Sutton said. “”He’ll be able to learn how to play with his back to the basket and certainly will be able to play facing the basket as well.””

    Having visited Virginia last week, Alabi has narrowed down his choices to the Cavaliers, Arizona and Florida State, where he will visit next week.

    Sutton said the three schools are all on a level playing field at this point.

    “”The three things that are most important to Solomon are he wants to have a successful career where he’s looking for strong academics, he’s looking for a school that will continue to enhance his basketball skills and he wants to play at the highest level athletically,”” Sutton said.

    Singler has a longer list of schools, five to be exact, according to Rivals. The South Medford High School senior, who averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game last year, has Arizona, Duke, Kansas, UCLA and Washington listed.

    A good friend of UCLA’s top recruit Kevin Love, with whom Singler has played AAU since junior high school, the 210-pounder may be influenced to go to Westwood, but the recruiting war appears to still be up for grabs.

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