UA basketball snags 5-star recruit, Josiah Turner, for 2011

The pieces of the puzzle are rapidly falling into place for Sean Miller, as the head coach works on the task of rebuilding the basketball program at the University of Arizona.

The latest came today, when Josiah Turner verbally committed to play for the Wildcats.  He is the most recent addition to a class of 2011 that is already loaded with talent.

Considered by most recruiting sites to be the best point guard in California, Turner may be the turning point for returning Arizona to the glory days under Lute Olson when the school was appropriately dubbed, “Point Guard U”.

And the best high school point guard in Arizona is already on board.  Daniel Bejarano, the No. 1 prospect in the state when playing for North High School in Phoenix, will be on the floor when this season opens.  Bejarano, who can play point or shooting guard, will likely see plenty of playing time right out of the chute.

Still another guard who can play either position is also included in the class of 2011.  Nick Johnson from Gilbert High School, who is ranked as the No. 8 shooting guard in the country, committed last month.

UofA has been chasing Johnson since he was in eighth grade, and Miller stepped in when he arrived in Tucson and intensified the effort.  Johnson is 6’3″ and a match-up nightmare for opponents.  He can drive the lane, shoot the short jumper, and score from behind the arc.

And Turner is a mirror-image of Johnson, a 6’3″ impact player who has impressive speed and dribbling skills and can score in a variety of ways.  He attacks the rim with authority and can finish with either hand.

He still had Kansas and UCLA on his short list, and was scheduled for an October official visit to the Tucson campus.  But he moved that up to this weekend, when he found out Johnson was going to make his visit then, and then committed after checking out the practice facility and getting a little court time with some of the players.

Turner was a teammate of Johnson’s on their AAU team during the summer and the two became good friends.  After Johnson committed to UofA, he talked about wanting to bring Turner along with him.

It looks like he got the job done.

And there’s more of that recruiting help in the works.  Another 2011 commit, Sidiki Johnson, also has friends who are on Miller’s hit list.

Johnson, a 6’9″ wing from New York City, will be attending Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his senior year.  Quinn Cook will be a classmate – and also played summer ball with Johnson.

And guess who else was on that summer team? Yep, Josiah Turner.

Cook is a Top 25 point guard from Maryland who has been sidelined with a partially-torn ligament from a summer all-star game.  He appears to be leaning toward Duke…  but Arizona and UCLA are still on his short list.

So Miller is getting lots of help from his teenage recruiters.  But it has been his dogged efforts during the summer, catching as many tournaments as possible all over the country, that is beginning to show results.  Kids were impressed with the fact that the head coach himself showed up in the gyms, rather than just sending out his assistants.

Turner is the first 5-star recruit for Miller, who took over the Cats program in April of 2009.  That includes the coach’s time at Xavier, where he took his teams to the NCAA Tournament all four years before taking the Arizona job.  The Musketeers made it to the Sweet 16 twice.

So think what Miller will be able to do with some real talent.

Lute who?