Pastner on the 2007 class

Pastner on the 2007 class

It's official. The Wildcats five man class is signed, sealed and delivered. All five players signed their Letters Of Intent and faxed them in to the school by late Wednesday afternoon. Once signed the coaches can discuss the players and Josh Pastner did just that.

The class is well rounded with a big man, two winds and two combo guards. Even better is that each player has his own unique skill set that is different from the other players in the class.

"We are very excited about the entire class," Josh Pastner said. "We love the potential of all five guys and think it is a great class both as players and people."

The biggest name in the class is Jerryd Bayless, the ninth rated player in the class. Bayless committed to the Cats last fall and then hedged on the verbal pledge to make sure Arizona was the right choice. After a few months on the open market, the five-star recruit decided his initial pick was the right one.

"He's a tremendous player and a person," Pastner said. "He is both a big time score and can really distribute the ball."

Pastner was quick to point out that Bayless is not only an elite talent, but he is a player that works to become great.

"He has unbelievable abilities but he also has an unbelievable work ethic," Pastner said.

It is only natural that Wildcat fans would be critical of a player that wavered on his initial decision, but the coaching staff has nothing but good things to say about Bayless.

"He has great intelligence on and off the court," Pastner said. "He's just a very smart kid with a great personality. Wildcat fans should be very excited to see him play."

For a player rated in the top-25 nationally, Jamelle Horne just does not get a lot of headlines. Don't worry, he will. He's the type of long, athletic wing that Lute Olson loves.

"He's a big time stud," Pastner gushed. "He's in the Richard Jefferson mold as an athlete. He is better offensively than Richard was at this stage."

If that is not high enough praise, Pastner was quick to point out how good a defender the San Diego native is.

"He's a tough defender who is always working to get better," the assistant coach said. "He's also a super kid who is just great to be around."

Laval Lucas-Perry committed during the period that Bayless was indecisive but he was offered a scholarship on his own merits. Lucas-Perry brings a toughness to the class that comes from being a big time football player in the state of Michigan.

"He's the sleeper of the class," Pastner said. "He's a tough, hardnosed kid. He's a great scorer who can also distribute the ball."

While many elite basketball players give up football after accepting a scholarship, Lucas-Perry was not going to limit himself. Some coaches don't want their players being a two-sport guy, but the Cats seem to like that he is still playing on the gridiron.

"He's a tough son of a gun," Pastner said. "He's tough, a great contributor and can really score. He's also a great defender. I am sure football helps bring out that toughness."

Zane Johnson came on late and earned a scholarship with his performance at the Arizona Elite Skills Camp. One reason that Johnson was sort of a late bloomer is the fact that he is a "young senior".

"From an age standpoint he should be a junior," Pastner said. "He's got great upside and we are excited about what he can become."

Although Johnson is improving every aspect of his game, it is his ability to stroke it from behind the arc that attracted the most attention.

"Zane is a big time, big time shooter," Pastner said. "He can hit from all over the floor and can really extend a defense."

Although Johnson's natural position is at the three, he looks like he can play the two, three and maybe the four. He also had to play some point guard this past summer for the Arizona Magic at a few AAU events.

"He's got such a high basketball I.Q.," Pastner said. "We can't wait to coach him and see what more he can learn."

Alex Jacobson is the lone big man in the class. A legit seven-footer, Pastner is excited to coach a pure big man down low.

"He's hungry, he wants to be good," Pastner said. "He'll be here over the summer to get bigger and stronger and get a jump start on his academics."

Most high school big men are either way underweight or slow of foot. While Jacobson could improve his footwork, he has a nice balance between bulk and quickness.

"He's not skinny," Pastner said. "He's got good size on him and is a legit seven-footer. You can't teach seven-foot."

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