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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Hoops gets new coaches, recruits”

    Sean Miller has had a very productive first week as the head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team.

    On Friday, Miller announced the hiring of two former Xavier assistant coaches, James Whitford and Emanuel “”Book”” Richardson.

    “”I’m interested in finding the best people for my staff,”” Miller said in a statement, “”and I believe that James and Emanuel are two outstanding coaches. Obviously, we’ve had a great deal of success together, and I look forward to continuing that here at Arizona.””

    The following day, Arizona picked up its second and third verbal commitments for the 2009-10 recruiting class: 6-foot-10, 250-pound center Kyryl Natyazhko(pronounced KAH-rill NAHT-yazh-ko) and 6-foot-6, 195-pound forward Solomon Hill.

    Both four-star recruits are expected to sign with Arizona on Wednesday, along with junior college transfer Tremayne Johnson, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward who was recruited by UA assistant coach Reggie Geary.

    Hill,’s 28th-best recruit in his class, originally committed to play for Arizona last summer, but shifted his verbal declaration to USC after Lute Olson retired.

    “”The way things look, I’m headed to Arizona,”” Hill wrote in a text message to “”I like coach Miller and the new situation. There is a stable base at Arizona, and it’s looking good there.””

    Natyazhko, who is‘s 75th overall player in the 2009 class, picked Arizona over ASU and Pittsburgh. The Ukraine native averaged 24 points and nine rebounds in his senior year at IMG Academy in Florida, and will join 6-foot-11 center Alex Jacobson as Arizona’s post players, with Jordan Hill off to the NBA.

    Whitford was the lead recruiter in landing Natyazhko, but the player had nothing but good things to say about Miller.

    “”I like coach (Miller) a lot, the assistant coaches and just everybody there,”” Natyazhko told “”I’ve known (Miller) for a little over one year. Every time I talk to him, he tells me only the truth -ÿhe never lies to me – and I feel like he’s the coach that is going to push me the best. He just wants the best for me.””

    While Arizona picked up its two newest verbal commits, Miller was in Houston to meet with Nic Wise’s parents. Wise has said he will test the NBA waters during the offseason, but will not sign an agent, to preserve his eligibility.

    The Wildcats will have six scholarships available if Wise returns and walk-on D.J. Shumpert does not receive a team scholarship.

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