Sean Miller‘s recruiting reach has just expanded again.
Now the University of Arizona‘s head basketball coach has just made a huge acquisition in Louisiana with the addition of a 5-star power forward that has been ranked by some services among the nation’s top 25 prospects in the Class of 2014. (We could cleverly call it “The Louisiana Purchase” since it’s a pretty significant acquisition – but the NCAA frowns on any reference to money.)
Craig Victor, who will be wrapping up his high school career this year, is originally from New Orleans where he played at St. Augustine High School. But he will play his senior year at Findlay Prep, the high-profile basketball factory in Nevada that has claimed three national prep championship titles in the last five years.
Miller already has two on the Cats’ roster from Findlay, Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley, so maybe his staff needs to set up an outpost in the school’s hometown of Henderson. Or maybe they already have.
A little bonus for Miller… Findlay just hired a former NBA player to provide the kind of instruction that will make Victor even better prepared for the next level. The school hired Jerome Williams, a first-round pick of the Detroit Pistons who played nine years for four different NBA teams.
And Victor, a 6’8″, 225-pounder, should prove to be a quality pupil for Williams, who should be able to add a little perimeter offense to a game that already includes solid rebounding, inside-the-lane scoring, and good defensive skills. Victor’s highest national rankings came from Scout.com, which put him at No. 14, and a No. 21 position in the Rivals assessment. Sporting News has him at No. 22.
Since Miller took over the Arizona program five years ago, he has become generally recognized as one of the top five college basketball recruiters in the country. He has locked in on California, where he has picked up four of the top prospects in the country in the last couple of years, but also has mined places like New York, Philadelphia, and schools in the New England area.
Now he’s fishing in the Bayou. And has pulled in a big one.
How big? Victor had offers from some of the top programs in the country and had narrowed his final list to include tradition-rich powers Louisville and Kansas.
It’s probably safe to assume that his associate head coach, Joe Pasternack, had more than a little to do with this latest acquisition. Pasternack, who joined Miller’s staff in 2011, is a New Orleans native who was the head coach at the University of New Orleans for four years before coming to Tucson.
Victor is the second commitment in the Class of 2014, joining another 5-star recruit that created a buzz back in February when Parker Jackson-Cartrwright committed to the Wildcat program to bring renewed optimism after another 5-star prospect washed out of the program last year. (See 2/26/13 Phxfan article)
Jackson-Cartwright is a quick, spring-loaded 5’9″ point guard that has a keen understanding of the game and awareness on the court. ESPN ranked the youngster out of Loyola High in Los Angeles as the seventh-best point guard in the Class of 2014. He should make up for the loss of Josiah Turner, who departed the program after just one season.
Miller will be adding more talent to this recruiting class because he should have a few more slots open up after this season. But, with just two players committed to the Class of 2014, it looks like the former point guard from Pittsburgh could have another top-five group headed to Tucson in less than a year.
(Photo: Arizona Athletics)