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What happened to Arizona from its group of recruits in 2011 reaffirms my belief that nobody can guarantee the value of a recruiting class. Nobody. Not the experts at Rivals.com. Nobody at Scout.com or 247Sports.com. No one.
People get wrapped up on what recruit has narrowed his wish list, verbally committed or visited. Never mind that most of these individuals are 17 or younger.
Arizona’s Class of 2011 was so promising entering the 2011-12 that it was thought of as one of the best in the program’s history.
Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner were considered by many, including yours truly, to be one of the best backcourt tandems signed in one class by Arizona. Little did we know that Johnson has much more promise with his new backcourt mate, Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell.
Angelo Chol was a shot-blocker extraordinaire who could run the floor, forecast to cause problems at both ends. He is gone.
Sidiki Johnson, a strong 6’9″ and 225-pound power forward, was a Rivals.com four-star recruit and Scout.com labeled him as one of the best frontcourt players in the New York area. He is gone.
Only Nick Johnson remains. Sidiki Johnson lasted three games in the 2011-12 season before Sean Miller kicked him off the team for violating team rules. Josiah Turner was suspended three times for disciplinary reasons that season, including the Pac-12 tournament at the end of the season.
Chol stuck for two years but was not utilized extensively in Miller’s rotation. He decided in May to move back home and play for San Diego State. He averaged only 8.5 minutes, 1.9 points and two rebounds a game last season.
Turner, who a month after leaving the program was arrested on a DUI charge in Tucson, is about to start his second season of pro basketball in Canada after not following through on his decision to transfer to SMU.
Sidiki Johnson transferred to Providence and did not last a full season there before having to leave the Friars for personal reasons. He transferred in August to Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Ill.
It was reported Friday via a Tweet from @VerbalCommits that he has signed with an agent and has forgone his eligibility.
To be blunt, school was not a good mix with Turner and Sidiki Johnson. They were each kicked off their team in their senior year in high school, a time in the careers when they should be viewed as upperclass leaders.
Turner admitted he placed more of a value of playing professionally than getting a degree when interviewed by Yahoo! Sports last year.
“My dream is to be a professional athlete in the NBA and I think this is what’s going to bring me closer to it,” Turner said about foregoing his college career. “In college, you get your degree and everything, but going pro is getting me closer to my dream and what I want to do in life.”
Good luck Turner. Good luck Sidiki Johnson, who must have the same blind ambition as Turner. Neither were drafted tonight in the NBA D-League draft. Here’s hoping they realize sooner than later that life is much more than basketball.