The commitment of North High School (Phoenix, Ariz.) star Daniel Bejarano, No. 28 in the MaxPreps 2010 Top 100, capped a big week on the recruiting trail for the Arizona Wildcats.
Bejarano, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound wing, averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior in leading North to a 5A Division II state title. The verbal to Arizona on Friday came just one week after he opted out of a pledge to Texas.
“It was between ASU (Arizona State) and U of A (Arizona),” North head coach Joseph Bustos said. “Arizona State backed off for whatever reason, but the program at Arizona will fit him perfectly.”
While plenty of excitement existed over the idea of Bejarano playing for the Longhorns in the Big 12 Conference, a Phoenix star signing on to play for the ‘Cats – an institution in the Grand Canyon State – carries even more appeal locally.
“I think that definitely is a plus,” Bustos said. “While he was committed to Texas, people would congratulate him but joke, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to go to ASU or U of A?’ Having a local, talented young man stay and help build the program, that’s huge for the state of Arizona.”
Earlier in the week, Wildcat coach Sean Miller secured another verbal commitment from 6-8 forward Rod Odom of Middlesex School in Concord, Mass. Odom is a native of Bellport, N.Y., and played on the summer circuit with the New York Panthers.
“Rod is multi-talented kid that can play multiple positions,” New York Panthers coach Gary Charles said. “He is a very skilled young man who understands the game. He can play from the four position to the one, at times. He sees the floor very well, has a decent jump shot, just a very smart player.”
Miller has created a bit of a pipeline into the Panther program during his seven months on the job in Tucson.
“Rod has known Sean (Miller) for a while, so he is extremely comfortable with him,” Charles said. “Book (Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson) is from New York, so he is our guy. Kevin (Parrom) is a former Panther along with Mo-Mo (freshman guard Lamont Jones), so there are a couple of guys already there that he is familiar with.
“Going out there with the warm weather and sunshine doesn’t hurt either.”
The last New York City recruit to play for Arizona was Christ the King product Khalid Reeves, who led the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1994.