Bay Area's Historic Recruiting Crop Ignoring Stanford, Cal
Brandon Ashley heads what many scouts and observers say is the strongest Bay Area recruiting crop in years.
Bay Area coaches “are putting the time in, but it’s almost like the game changes when the bigger programs come calling,” said Mark Olivier, director of the Oakland Soldiers, a powerhouse A.A.U. team that features several top recruits, including Ashley.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller arrived in San Francisco after his team's elimination from the 2011 NCAA Tournament, where he predicted “an absolute war” over Bay Area talent.
“If you gave me one area of the country to be successful recruiting the next two years, the area that I would pick is this one right here,” Miller told a group of Arizona fans during a May 19 speech at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Miller has already signed two Oakland Soldiers players: guards Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson, who committed to Arizona last year.
Ashley, ranked by ESPN as the No. 6 recruit in the country, has Arizona on his short list, along with U.C.L.A., Kentucky, Oregon, Texas, Syracuse and Georgia Tech.
“Let’s say Cal or Stanford finished last year like Arizona did,” Olivier said. “I guarantee that would probably make it easier to recruit.”
In 2003, when the region had its last big talent surge, Cal signed three highly rated Bay Area recruits, including the future N.B.A. player Leon Powe out of Oakland.
“It would be huge for a Bay player to come into a Bay college and lead them to success,” Ashley said. “But it comes down to players’ really wanting to come to the school where they can win and that’s going to help them the most.”
The class of 2013 includes Aaron Gordon, a 6-foot-7 forward at Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose; Jabari Bird, a 6-foot-6 guard at Salesian High in Richmond; and Stephen Domingo, a 6-foot-6 forward at St. Ignatius High in San Francisco. Gordon, Bird and Domingo are currently ranked 9th, 11th and 57th among 2013 recruits by ESPN.