Arizona has landed its biggest commitment yet of the Sean Miller era.
6-foot-8, 190-pound Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep power forward Brandon Ashley has committed to Arizona, one day after an unofficial visit to Tucson.
Oakland Soldiers coach Mark Olivier says the decision was made on Sunday.
"I think it was the flight back," Olivier said. "Brandon is a thinker; he's not the kind of guy who will make a decision quickly, he thinks about it. He was thinking about it on the plane ride and made the decision."
"Over the past three years I've built a pretty good relationship with coach (Sean) Miller," Ashley added. "I have former teammates that already go there in Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner and knowing that Grant Jerrett and Gabe York are going there as well just made it that much more appealing."
Olivier said Ashley's commitment to Arizona is due to the Wildcats' head coach.
"Number one is he vibes with Sean Miller; Sean can really talk to him," Olivier said. "The comfort he felt with Sean was incredible. He felt very comfortable. Number two is that he has a great relationship with Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson.
"I think the direction of the program also has a lot to do with it. When you finish in the final eight, your program is on the swing. That always helps, no question."
"It's just somebody that I've really gotten to know pretty well over the past three years," Ashley said. "I mean he really showed me that he wanted me to come to his school. Out of all of the AAU games that I've played over the past two years, he never missed one. He's just somebody I feel like I can relate to. Somebody I've actually really gotten to know over the past couple of years."
Arizona got a quick jump on Ashley's recruitment, and Olivier says that Miller never took his foot off the gas pedal.
"They were one of the first colleges to call," Olivier said. "Before he got into the rankings, they saw something in him. And it was Sean Miller. I didn't get calls from other coaches on the staff, it was Sean Miller. Sean Miller was at probably all of Brandon's games and he's been following him longer than any coach. I think that was a big thing."
Ashley will show up in Tucson with one of the nation's top recruiting classes, as the Wildcats already have 2012 pledges from Grant Jerrett and Gabe York. That class plus Arizona's current roster made the five-star prospect feel more comfortable with UA.
"Grant Jerrett and Brandon get along so well," Olivier said. "They've been playing against each other - like in the state finals - and I think they have a relationship. With Josiah, Nick, Sidiki (Johnson), Kyle Fogg and those guys, I think the vibe is incredible.
"We were just there and it's the camaraderie and team concept of Arizona. Everybody is pushing everybody. Sean Miller is like that too. He's giving you direction, but at the same time, he's pumping you on. Sean is pretty good with knowing Brandon's game because he's been watching him so long. I think Brandon felt a trust in Sean."
"Grant Jerrett, he plays similar to me," said Ashley. "We kind of have similar game styles. We play together quite often and we feed off each other, so playing with him should be a lot of fun. Gabe York, he's a great guard, very athletic, good handle and he can shoot the ball, so it should definitely be a lot of fun."
Ashley has high expectations when he gets to Arizona.
"I just plan on becoming an all-around better player, a better person, I definitely want to win a national championship, and I want to prepare myself to get to the next level if that's possible," he said.
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