Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats hoops more national, international brand


Rawle Alkins joins New Yorkers Khalid Reeves, MoMo Jones, Kevin Parrom and Mark Lyons as an Arizona basketball player.


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Aside from Sean Miller potentially gathering the largest crop of five-star players in one class, his Class of 2016 signees and commitments are unique because of where they come from.

Not one is from California, Arizona’s most fertile recruiting base over the years. In the Miller era at Arizona, he has coached or recruited 19 scholarship players from California. The next highest is New York with five. Players from 12 different states have played for Miller or are part of the Class of 2016.

One of this year’s recruits, forward Lauri Markkanen, who signed in the fall, is from Helsinki, Finland. He becomes the third foreign scholarship player under Miller following Kyryl Natyazhko (Ukraine) and Dusan Ristic (Serbia).

The rest of the Class of 2016 to this point:

Rawle Alkins, who signed his national letter of intent yesterday: Middle Village, N.Y.

Kobi Simmons, who signed at the start of the spring signing period: Alpharetta, Ga.

And Terrance Ferguson, expected to sign by the end of the signing period May 18: Dallas.

Next season’s Arizona roster could look like this, listed by origin:

California (3): Chance Comanche, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Elliott Pitts (if he returns).

Finland (1): Markkanen.

Georgia (1): Simmons.

Nevada (1): Ray Smith.

New York (1): Alkins.

North Carolina (1): Kadeem Allen.

Serbia (1): Ristic.

Texas (1): Ferguson.

Washington (1): Allonzo Trier.

Rarely has Arizona’s roster been so spread out. In Lute Olson’s last season of 2006-07, Chase Budinger was the lone scholarship player out of California. That was also the last year Arizona did not have an in-state scholarship recruit on the roster before Tucson’s Matt Korcheck exhausted his eligibility in 2014-15.

If Pitts opts to leave the program — his status remains uncertain — the number of international players would equal those from nearby California in 2016-17. It rivals the operations at Kentucky and Duke, where John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski make it an annual practice of drawing talent from all over.

Before Alkins, the New Yorkers who became substantial recruits since the Lute Olson years were Khalid Reeves, MoMo Jones and Kevin Parrom. Sidiki Johnson lasted only three games before he left the Arizona program over disciplinary issues. Mark Lyons, of Schenectady, N.Y., was a senior graduate transfer from Xavier.


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From 2009-10 to 2016-17

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The New York influence is assistant Book Richardson’s imprint on the program.

Richardson grew up in Harlem and South Bronx and was an AAU coach for the New York Gauchos before Miller hired him at Xavier.

Atlanta native Jordan Hill and Macon’s Morgan Taylor are the only Georgia standouts to play at Arizona before Simmons to join the program.

The last player signed from Texas was Garland Judkins of Humble, Texas, in 2008. The lightly-recruited player signed by the staff of interim coach Russ Pennell played in only 24 games in his first two seasons before transferring during Miller’s first season of 2009-10.


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Nic Wise, a reliable point guard, was signed in 2006 out of Kingwood, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Kelvin Eafon hailed from Seagoville, Texas. He originally came to Arizona as a basketball player but ended up with the football program. Jawann McClellan and Fendi Onobun both came to Arizona as part of the Josh Pastner pipeline from Houston.

In regards to in-state recruiting, Miller, like practically all elite college basketball coaches, is trying to land highly touted center Marvin Bagley, a Class of 2018 prospect from Gilbert.

Miller assistant Joe Pasternack is diligently recruiting Tempe Corona del Sol four-star point guard Alex Barcello, a senior next season. According to, Arizona has a 60 percent chance of landing Barcello compared to 20 percent each of Stanford and Virginia. 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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.


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