Arizona lands five-star 2018 point guard Jahvon Quinerly

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Arizona landed perhaps the most important piece of its Class of 2018 recruiting haul on Tuesday night as five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly pledged to the Wildcats during the televised Steph Curry Select All-Star Game.

The 6-foot-2 Quinerly picked Arizona over his other finalist, Villanova, as Rivals has him as the No. 16 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 national rankings.

The pledge of Quinerly is important for head coach Sean Miller and Arizona. Not only is Quinerly the highest-rated player to commit to Arizona so far in this class, but he’s also possibly the most important player they could get in this entire recruiting class.

Others that Arizona might eventually land could be better during freshman season or be ranked higher in national rankings, but Quinerly gives Miller something he hasn’t had in years: a five-star, pass-first point guard who wants to make other players around him better.

While other recent five-star Arizona guards like Rawle Alkins, Allonzo Trier and Kobi Simmons are all immensely talented players, all three of those players have been more ball-dominant scoring types. Quinerly is the highest-rated pure point guard that Miller has recruited since taking over the program.

Things didn’t work out for Arizona with lead guards like Josiah Turner or Justin Simon and they’re hoping Quinerly can make more of an impact at point than Parker Jackson-Cartwright. If Quinerly can play at all like T.J. McConnell did during the height of his Arizona tenure, then Miller can finally rely on having a consistent coach-on-the-floor type of guard. That should make things a lot easier for Arizona’s offense as Miller shouldn’t have to worry too much with his new five-star guard running the show.

The commitment of Quinerly gives the Wildcats another five-star prospect as he joins five-star big man Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaq, and four-star guard Brandon Williams in the Arizona Class of 2018 recruiting haul. The hope is that Quinerly can now help recruit more talented players with him to Arizona.

Many elite Class of 2018 players have expressed their approval of playing with Quinerly at camps and many of his Under Armour peers cited him as having the best handles of any player in the league. This is the type of commitment that other players will notice and it’ll be interesting to see if Quinerly can get more talent to come with him to Arizona.

Ristic, No. 19 Arizona holds off Texas A&M

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON — Playing with a seven-man rotation, Arizona coach Sean Miller admitted his team wore down late against Texas A&M.

The Wildcats had just enough left to fight off the Aggies on Saturday.

Dusan Ristic tied a season-high with 18 points as No. 19 Arizona had to hold off a furious rally by Texas A&M for its fourth straight victory, 67-63.

“We have seven scholarship players, and we hit around that 10-minute, 8-minute mark and guys start missing shots and defense is not that easy as it once was,” Miller said. “That is why depth is so critical. . When they sensed we were running out of gas, they put it into overdrive.”

Ristic scored 14 of Arizona’s first 24 points and finished 8 of 12 from the field for the Wildcats (10-2), who shot 40 percent from the field, including 48 percent in the first half.

Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and seven rebounds, and Kobi Simmons chipped in 14 points for the Wildcats.

“We were fortunate to hold on, but I also think we deserved to win,” Miller said.

Tyler Davis had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Robert Williams added 15 points and Admon Gilder had 13 points for the Aggies, who shot 45 percent from the field, including 53 percent in the second half.

Texas A&M (7-3) had its three-game winning streak snapped.

The Aggies mounted a rally over the final 5 minutes, using an 18-0 run to close within 65-63 with 22 seconds left on a 3-pointer by DJ Hogg.

“It demonstrates that we have the ability if we show effort on both ends of the court to win games against really good teams,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “Arizona was better than us for the majority of the game.”

But Rawle Alkins hit two free throws with 15 seconds left to put the Wildcats up by four.

“After the first one, I felt comfortable,” Alkins said. “Coach trusted me and Lauri to make the play happen.”

Tonny Trocha-Morelos missed a 3-pointer, and Davis missed the ensuing putback, allowing Simmons to grab the rebound and dribble out the clock.

Arizona ended the first half with a 9-0 run led by Alkins’ five points to take a 41-28 lead and carried that momentum into the second half, pushing the lead to as many as 22 points with a 17-8 spurt over the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Texas A&M didn’t hit a field goal over the last 5:17 of the first half and shot 3 of 10 with eight turnovers to start the second half.

“For a large portion of the game, that was our best effort because we were playing against a really good team as well,” Miller said.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: The Wildcats have continued to play well since losing to No. 8 Gonzaga on Dec. 3. Arizona defended well, forcing 14 turnovers and converting them into 18 points. The Wildcats were aggressive and attacked the paint, scoring 32 points.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are still looking for a marquee win after falling to 0-3 against the Pac-12 this season. The Aggies allowed Arizona’s post players to control down low until the final 10 minutes and couldn’t take advantage of 15 offensive rebounds, scoring 13 second-chance points.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Arizona: The Wildcats could move up a couple spots after their fourth straight win.

Texas A&M: The Aggies, who were receiving votes to start the season, will likely remain without votes.

JACKSON-CARTWRIGHT UPDATE

Arizona junior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who missed his fifth straight game Saturday with a high ankle sprain, is closer to returning, Miller said.

“We are anxious to get him back,” Miller said. “He is moving in the direction of coming back. If we can have a couple good weeks, we might get him back a little more to the beginning of the conference season.”

UP NEXT

Arizona: Hosts New Mexico on Tuesday before taking 10 days off ahead of Pac-12 play, which starts Dec. 30 at California.

Texas A&M: Hosts Saint Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday before an eight-day break ahead the start of SEC play Dec. 29 against Tennessee.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

VIDEO: Arizona’s Ray Smith shows off moves in lip sync battle

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Arizona wing Ray Smith hasn’t had a chance to play basketball at the school yet due to injury, but he showed off some moves on the Wildcats’ court earlier this week.

The former five-star prospect engaged in a lip sync battle with Arizona baseball player Robby Medel as the two each performed two songs.

Smith brings great energy to this competition and ends up working with some classics, including a surprising choice on how to perform the final song.

Five-star 2017 power forward trims list to eight

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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One of the top prospects in the Class of 2017 announced on Monday that he’s trimmed his list down to eight schools. 6-foot-10 power forward Wendell Carter Jr., a native of Atlanta, revealed his final list Monday afternoon on Twitter with some of the nation’s best programs making the cut.

The final eight schools in the running for Carter’s commitment are Arizona, California, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Kentucky and North Carolina.

The power forward position in the Class of 2017 is loaded, with Carter joining the likes of DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba at the head of the class. Seeing perennial powers on Carter’s list comes as no surprise given his skill level, with both in-state power conference programs still in the mix as well. The inclusion of Harvard may surprise some, but Carter’s performance in the classroom has opened that door for him should he choose to go that route.

Something else to keep in mind when it comes to Carter’s recruitment: how guard Gary Trent Jr. approaches his recruitment. It’s been reported in the past that the two friends are hoping to attend the same school. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, as recruiting tends to be a fluid situation, but it is something to consider as Carter, Trent and the rest of this class makes its decisions as to where they’ll attend college.

Top 2018 prospect trims college list to six

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As one of the top players in high school basketball regardless of class, 2018 forward Marvin Bagley III doesn’t lack for attention on the recruiting front. But even with many high-major programs looking to land his commitment, and there’s being two years before he’ll set foot on a college campus, Bagley has decided to narrow the focus on his recruitment down to six schools.

Thursday evening the Sierra Canyon (California) HS student announced via Twitter that Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Kentucky, Oregon and UCLA are the six programs that remain in contention for his commitment.

The 6-foot-10 forward is currently ranked tops in the Class of 2018 by Rivals.com, and this has remained the case despite the fact that California transfer rules kept him off the court at Sierra Canyon this school year. In early January Bagley made the move to Sierra Canyon from Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, only to be declared ineligible to compete this season by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

Bagley played his freshman season at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Arizona, leading the program to a 34-1 record and a Division I state title in 2014-15.

Bagley’s performed well on the Nike EYBL¬†circuit for the Phoenix Phamily program, and obviously his status during the high school season did nothing to deter the college programs looking to sign him. There’s still a long way to go in Bagley’s recruitment, but his announcement Thursday provides a little more clarity to the situation.

Video credit: Rivals.com

Pac-12 all-star team to tour Australia in July

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While the majority of summer tours in college basketball consist of teams making the trek overseas (or to Canada) together, there are all all-star teams put together to represent a conference or some other entity. The Pac-12 has put together an all-star team of sorts in recent years, and on Tuesday they announced the 12-member squad that will visit Australia to play three games in early July.

Two of those games will be played against the Australian men’s national team, which will be preparing for the Summer Olympics to be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.

The coaching staff will be led by Mike Montgomery, who led the programs at both Stanford and California before retiring in 2014, with former Stanford head coach Trent Johnson and former Stanford players Casey Jacobsen and Brevin Knight serving as his assistants. Ten of the conference’s 12 teams will be represented on the roster, with Oregon (which has some players hoping to reach the Olympics for other countries) and UCLA being the teams without a player making the trip.

Also of note for Oregon is the fact that they’ll be taking a summer trip to Spain in August, so their¬†players are already set up for a busy summer.

Arizona and Oregon State will each have two players on the roster, with Kadeem Allen and Chance Comanche making the trip representing Sean Miller’s program and Drew¬†Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr. doing so for Wayne Tinkle’s program. Of the 12 players two earned honorable mention all-conference honors (USC’s Jordan McLaughlin and Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson), and Colorado’s Wesley Gordon was a Pac-12 All-Defensive Team selection.

Below is the full roster, and the team is scheduled to depart for Australia from Los Angeles July 7.

G Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
C Chance Comanche (Arizona)
G Tra Holder (Arizona State)
G Stephen Domingo (California)
F Wesley Gordon (Colorado)
F Drew Eubanks (Oregon State)
F Stephen Thompson Jr. (Oregon State)
G/F Dorian Pickens (Stanford)
G Jordan McLaughlin (USC)
G Lorenzo Bonam (Utah)
F Matisse Thybulle (Washington)
F Josh Hawkinson (Washington State)