Duke, Florida, Michigan, San Diego State and UCLA were all shunned by Arizona on one of the top prospects in he nation on Wednesday as the 11th ranked prospect according to Scout.com announced his commitment to the Wildcats.
— TJ Leaf (@Tyleaf_22) November 19, 2014
Now landing a top recruit is not anything new over the last few years for Sean Miller and the Wildcats but what does stand out is the fact that a 2016 prospect of this magnitude with the choice to go just about anywhere he wanted made this decision so quickly. Leaf told Scout.com that whether he made the decision today, or weeks from now, it would have still been the same.
The means to me that Arizona is proving themselves to be that much more dominant in the recruiting world. No one thought anyone would get near to what John Caliparri is doing at Kentucky with the best of the best each and every year selecting Kentucky early and often. But Arizona has now cemented themselves as the other program that can land just about anyone at any time as seen in signing the top 2015 class in the nation and now already making a statement in 2016.
T.J Leaf has the makings of special player at the next level. As a sophomore at El Cajon Foothills Christian in California, the 6-10 power forward averaged 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Scout.com’s Josh Gershon gave fantastic analysis of what to expect from Leaf which you can read here.
It is not just about what the Wildcats are doing but it is how they are doing it. So often the players you see commit early are the ones that feel they have reached their ceiling as it pertains to offers and want to strike early on their decision so that they can cement their spot in the class and not be bumped. Arizona did exactly that but with the 11th ranked player in the country. Leaf wants to make sure that he is the power forward of the future for this team and the Wildcats can build around him. Only the Dukes, Kentuckys and Kansas’ of the world have been pulling that for the last decade or so.
Now pencil Arizona in that category as early commitments from the nation’s elite for Arizona is not just an every-so-often occurrence, it’s consistent. People think there are other jobs out there that Sean Miller should eventually bolt for which are higher in stature than Arizona. But what he has been able to do at the helm of this program from a recruiting stand point shows that the ceiling in Tucson for this program is as high as any.