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Arizona coach Sean Miller amassed the most 5-star recruits in one class in program history with four before Kobi Simmons was assigned a new rating by Scout.com and Terrance Ferguson opted this week to pursue professional opportunities overseas.
Now, according to Scout.com, Miller has two, which is still a quality effort. Simmons, a point guard/shooting guard from Alpharetta, Ga., was rated a 5-star player during the season by Scout.com but was recently assessed as a 4-star player.
A statement released today by Miller officially ends the speculation of Ferguson’s plans.
“Terrance Ferguson informed me earlier this week that he has decided to pursue professional opportunities instead of attending the University of Arizona this fall,” Miller stated. “I hope this next chapter of his basketball career goes well, and his goal of one day becoming an NBA player is realized.”
Sums it up. Terrance Ferguson's decision: pic.twitter.com/SQlcPtB7RK
— Kevin Zimmerman (@KZimmermanAZ) June 30, 2016
Arizona’s two 5-Star recruits in the Class of 2016 are power forward Lauri Markkanen of Finland, and shooting guard/small forward Rawle Alkins of Queens, N.Y.
Rivals.com lists Markkanen as a 4-star recruit and Simmons a 5-star talent. Scout.com and Rivals.com list Arizona signee Keanu Pinder, a Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College transfer, a 3-star player at power forward.
Over the last 15 years, this is the third time a high-profile recruit did not attend Arizona, opting to play professionally instead.
Brandon Jennings signed with Arizona, but decided to play in Italy for a season before being the 10th overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2009 NBA Draft. Five-star power forward Ndubi Edi committed to Arizona in 2003 but Edi decided to enter the NBA draft (high school graduates were eligible then). He was the 26th pick overall in the first round, selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Edi played in 19 games over two seasons with the Timberwolves before his release. He has played the last 11 years overseas. Jennings has played seven seasons in the NBA with Milwaukee and Detroit. He was traded to Orlando in February.
Here is a list of Arizona’s five-star talent recruited by Lute Olson and Miller since 2002:
ARIZONA’S BASKETBALL RECRUITS 2002-2016 RATING
Source: Scout.com. *-Never attended Arizona. **-Lute Olson on leave of absence.
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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.