TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Arizona men’s basketball coach Lute Olson announced Wednesday that five student-athletes have signed National Letters-of-Intent to attend the school and play basketball. The quintet will report to the school in the fall of 2007.
Jerryd Bayless, Jamelle Horne, Alex Jacobson, Zane Johnson and Laval Lucas-Perry each inked letters-of-intent during the first day of the November early signing period. Each of the players was ranked among the top 30 nationally at his position. The class was rated as No. 3 nationally by rivals.com.
“We are very pleased with this class,” said Olson. “Each of these guys is a quality individual and a great addition to the program. We feel very good about adding this group to our program.”
Bayless, a 6-foot-3, 193-pound guard from Phoenix, Ariz., is ranked as the No. 10 overall prospect in the country and the No. 2 guard by rivals.com. Bayless, who preps at St. Mary’s High School, averaged 37.9 points and 8.0 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 3.2 steals per game last season. A first-team all-state selection since his freshman season, Bayless was recently named “Best Leaper” by rivals.com. He is a dynamic guard with a tremendous ability to score.
“Jerryd is an explosive athlete and a great scorer,” said Olson. “From a personal standpoint, he is a great person and an outstanding student. When we recruit, we look for character, and Jerryd is just that.”
Horne, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward from San Diego, Calif., is ranked as the No. 19 overall recruit and the No. 5 small forward prospect by rivals.com. Horne, who preps at San Diego High School, averaged 23.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocked shots and 2.0 assists per game last season. He is a great defensive player and a superb athlete.
“Jamelle reminds me of Richard Jefferson,” said Olson. “He’s very athletic and a great defender”
Jacobson, a 7-foot-1, 223-pound center from Santa Ana, Calif., is ranked as the No. 23 center in the nation by scout.com. Jacobson, who preps at Mater Dei High School, helped his team to the 2006 CIF Southern Section Division II championship. He averaged 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game last season. Jacobson possesses a big body with great hands and touch around the basket.
“Alex has such a great work ethic,” said Olson. “He has soft hands and is very good around the basket”
Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound forward from Phoenix, Ariz., is ranked as the No. 83 overall recruit on Sports Illustrated’s Hot 100 Seniors and the No. 28 small forward prospect by rivals.com. Johnson, who preps at Thunderbird High School, averaged 23.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game last season. He is a strong outside shooter with unlimited potential.
“Zane is a great outside shooter with a lot of potential,” said Olson. “He’s a heady basketball player and his knowledge of the game will help us.”
Lucas-Perry, a 6-foot-1, 191-pound guard from Grand Blanc, Mich., is ranked as the No. 20 point guard prospect by rivals.com. Horne, who preps at Powers Catholic High School, averaged 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game last season. He is a tough combo guard who might be the surprise of this recruiting class.
“We feel that Laval is the sleeper of this class,” said Olson. “He’s a competitor who won’t back down from anyone.”
The Wildcats, ranked No. 10 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll, open the regular season on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Virginia. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and can be seen on FSN Arizona.
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