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FEATURED CLASS OF 2017 ARIZONA WILDCATS TARGET
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AAU TEAM: Earl Watson Elite
OVERALL CLASS OF 2017 RANKING:
Scout: No. 61 (No. 8 power forward)
Rivals: No. 50 (No. 9 power forward)
247Sports: No. 53 (No. 5 center)
ESPN: No. 77 (No. 12 power forward)
OTHER TOP CHALLENGERS FOR LEE: Texas, Oregon, Cal, USC and Kansas.
SCOUTING REPORT: From Scout.com — Ira Lee is one of the top rebounders in 2017. He’s an athletic power forward whose athleticism, motor and feel as a rebounder help him dominate the glass on both sides of the court. He’s a little undersized for the position but makes up for it with how hard he plays. He can face up and hit midrange jumpers or score around the basket. His handle has improved and is best offensively from the high post. Lee is a committed defender and hard worker.
HOW HE FIGURES IN AT ARIZONA: Lee, who is presently a four-star talent who is not rated extremely high, would be an ideal addition for Arizona to shore up their frontcourt for an extended term. He is a prospering talent who is relentless around the glass, the kind of player Sean Miller would love to have year to year. He would complement power forwards Lauri Markkanen and Keanu Pinder in 2017-18 because of his strength in the paint. Markkanen and Pinder are more stretch power forwards who can play on the wing. Lee can also play facing the basket with a soft shooting touch from mid-range and good ball-handling ability for a big. Some analysts, such as those at 247Sports, project him to be a post player in college because he may put on another couple of inches and more bulk in the next year or two. Arizona could use reinforcement at the post too with Dusan Ristic a senior in 2017-18 and Chance Comanche needing competition for a starting role.
BACKGROUND: Lee, son of former USC football player Zeph Lee, was born and raised in Glendale until he was 13. He did not start playing competitive basketball until he was 12. The Wildcats currently lead for his services, according to 247Sport’s Jerry Meyer. WildcatAuthority.com recruiting guru Jason Scheer wrote that Lee was impressed of the Arizona program following his unofficial visit late in June. Cal and Arizona have recruited Lee the longest, since his freshman season in high school.
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Ira Lee is described by recruiting services as relentless with his effort, important trait to have as a power forward.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.