Dennis Lee/MaxPreps

Five-star 2014 prospect Stanley Johnson commits to Arizona

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Dennis Lee/MaxPreps

During Sean Miller’s tenure at Arizona, the program’s annually been in the running for many of the nation’s top recruits and they’ve landed their fair share. On Friday the Wildcats received a verbal commitment from one of the best players in the class, as Mater Dei HS (Calif.) wing Stanley Johnson announced his decision to attend the Pac-12 school on national television.

Johnson, a consensus Top 10 player, was also considering Kentucky and USC before making his decision official. He becomes the fourth commitment in the 2014 class for Arizona, joining guards Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Kadeem Allen (JUCO) and forward Craig Victor.

As a junior at Mater Dei Johnson posted averages of 19.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and he’s been a highly valuable member of three California CIF Division I state champion squads. Johnson is the latest product of the Oakland Soldiers grassroots program to pick Arizona during Miller’s tenure. Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner were the first two, followed by Brandon Ashley and then Aaron Gordon.

If operating under the assumption that Gordon’s off to the next level at the end of this season, Johnson will certainly help the Wildcats account for that departure on the wing. Johnson’s ability to score from anywhere on the floor, along with his competitiveness and toughness, will benefit the Wildcats immediately.

And it isn’t as if the Wildcats will lack depth on the wing either, as Nick Johnson has another season of eligibility remaining and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Elliott Pitts and Gabe York all have multiple seasons remaining. Johnson would have been a game-changing recruit for Andy Enfield at USC, and had he committed to attend Kentucky an already strong class would get even stronger. But the same can be said for Arizona, with Johnson and Craig Victor anchoring one of the best recruiting classes in 2014.

This class, when combined with the players likely to return to Tucson in 2014, should be enough to keep the program entrenched atop the Pac-12 with an eye towards contending nationally as well.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.