TUCSON, Ariz. – Head coach Sean Miller and the Arizona men's basketball staff took a major step in building for the future of A Player's Program over the last week, signing a nationally-ranked recruiting class that will arrive on campus for the 2014-15 season.
Kadeem Allen, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Stanley Johnson and Craig Victor comprise a class that is ranked No. 3 nationally by Scout, No. 4 by 247 Sports and No. 8 by ESPN. UA is one of two programs nationally that has ranked in the top-10 of ESPN's recruiting class rankings in each of the last three seasons, and will look to make it four-consecutive years when the final rankings come out next spring.
"A while back, we recognized as a staff that this was a very important class to solidify our future," Miller said. "I believe that this group of four certainly does that. We've added four hard-working, determined, well-coached competitors who will come in and add to the overall strength of our program from day one."
Arizona's 2013 Signing Class
A breakout star in the junior college ranks last season, Allen was named a first-team NJCAA All-American after averaging 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game to lead Hutchinson to an NJCAA Tournament appearance. Allen is a combo guard with length and athleticism who led the Jayhawk Conference in steals last season with an average of 2.5 per game. "Kadeem Allen has a chance to win a junior college national championship this year," Miller said. "He's a guard who can play multiple positions. He's an excellent defender. One of the striking things about Kadeem is his length and his 6-9 wing span. "When you look at him defensively, he can really guard a variety of players and pressure the basketball. On offense, he has a great feel for how to play the game. With that feel and his ability to defend, Kadeem is going to be able to contribute in a lot of ways and play with endless combinations of players."
Jackson-Cartwright is a prototypical point guard who averaged 15 points and eight assists per game with an 8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as a junior at Loyola. The 2013 MaxPreps Junior All-American has excellent court vision and thrives in the transition game.
"We identified Parker a long time ago as a priority for us," Miller said. "The point guard position, in particular, is a real key in programs sustaining excellence over a long period of time. Parker is the consummate point guard. He sees the floor as well as any young player I've ever watched, he thrives in transition and his style on offense is a great fit for our style as a program.
"Parker plays in an excellent high school program that has a chance to win a California state championship this year. I look forward to him having an outstanding career at Arizona as our future point guard."
One of the elite talents in this year's graduating class, Johnson is a punishing wing who has won a pair of gold medals with USA Basketball and earned MVP honors at numerous high-level basketball events. The consensus top-10 recruit and 2013 MaxPreps National Junior of the Year has a rare blend of size, skill and intelligence that makes him a matchup nightmare on the court.
"I haven't seen many players with Stanley's combination of skill level and physical attributes," Miller said. "His physicality and athleticism speak for themselves, but you very seldom see that type of player really know how to play the game, be that smart and that skilled of a player. It's that combination of skill and intelligence matched with that physicality that makes him an exceptional talent.
"Stanley comes from Mater Dei High School, where he's already won three state championships, and I think that speaks for itself. He's the ultimate winner. Two prominent players from Mater Dei to play at Arizona before my time here were Reggie Geary and Miles Simon, both of whom went to the Final Four and one of whom won a national championship, so we're excited to rekindle that relationship with Mater Dei."
One of the most versatile players in this year's class, Victor averaged a double-double as a junior last season at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans before transferring to Findlay Prep over the summer. The 2013 MaxPreps Junior All-American has a relentless motor on the floor and his combination of skill and size allows him to play either forward position.
"Craig Victor is a forward with tremendous versatility," Miller said. "So often, the word ‘motor' is used when describing players, especially forwards. Craig Victor has a high motor. He has the intangibles of a winner and he does a lot of things on the court. We look for players whose style of play is a good fit for our style of play at Arizona, and Craig's versatility caught our eye. He has the ability to step away from the basket, he has the ability to score in the post, he can pass and he runs the floor in transition. Defensively, he can guard a variety of players. I believe he'll be able to come in here and contribute in a multitude of ways and have an excellent career with us.
"Playing at Findlay Prep, Craig has a chance to win a national high school championship this season. Findlay has an excellent basketball program, and having already coached Findlay alums Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley, we know what type of competitor we're getting in Craig Victor."
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