Tarczewski chooses Arizona over KU
Center Kaleb Tarczewski was Kansas’ No. 1 target for the better part of the last two years. “Kansas invested so much time in Kaleb,” explained ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep.
The interest was mutual.
The 7-foot center from Claremont, N.H., reportedly developed a strong relationship with Kansas assistant coach Joe Dooley and, as a Jayhawk, would have the opportunity to develop under heralded big man coach Danny Manning.
But Arizona head coach Sean Miller wouldn’t be outdone.
Miller and his staff once again flexed their recruiting muscles, stayed on the ESPN No. 6-rated recruit, and eventually stole Tarczewski from the Jayhawks as the center committed to the Wildcats on Monday.
“For Arizona to get him, to beat out Kansas for a guy like this, it’s a huge commitment,” Telep said.
Tarczewski also had offers from North Carolina and Kentucky, but it was down to the Jayhawks and Wildcats. He visited Kansas during its Midnight Madness on Oct. 14 and came to Arizona for the Red-Blue Game on Oct. 22.
While Kansas was the frontrunner for months, Tarczewski went with his gut.
“I had great programs and great coaches recruiting me,” Tarczewski told CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman. “It just felt right at Arizona. I fell in love with everything — from the current players to the staff to Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Gabe York.”
With the 7-foot, 220-pound center, and power forwards Jerrett and Ashley the Wildcats now have what Telep called “an embarrassingly talented frontcourt.”
Ashley, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound athletic forward from Findlay Prep, is the No. 4 ESPN-rated recruit, while Jerrett, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound skilled forward, comes in at No. 9. York is the only guard in the group and is rated the No. 36 player in the 2012 class.
“I think all three of those guys have a real good chance to be professional basketball players,” Telep said. “They’re all very different. It’s an imposing collection of guys. I think it’s interesting how they just re-tooled the backcourt and retooled the frontcourt for the following years.”
Telep says Tarczewski, who’s played at St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts for the last three years, will mesh well with both Jerrett and Ashley.
According to former UA point guard and LaVerne Lutheran coach Eric Cooper Sr., Jerrett, who was the first of the 2012 commits is “real fundamental. He’s not really the superstar player. He’s more like a Lamar Odom, the sidekick that’s really really good and doesn’t mind being the second option or the third option.”
Ashley, or Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, Nev., is an athlete that can play multiple positions. Telep said Tarczewski is going to “play off the athleticism of Brandon Ashley really well.”
“He’s a more upright guy,” Telep added. “He’s a true back-to-the-basket player.”
Arizona’s 2012 recruiting class is the unquestioned No. 1 in the country, according to both ESPN and Scout. That trend might continue.
“The real interesting part in this to me is how Arizona can go both coasts. They’re bi-coastal right now,” Telep said. “I don’t ever know if they’ve ever been like that before. Even when they were playing for championships and Final Fours, I don’t know if their reach was as big as it is right now.”