The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Arizona fills huge need by landing elite small forward Rondae Jefferson

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Rondae Jefferson (Rivals.com)

For Arizona's 2013 recruiting class to be considered a success, Wildcats coach Sean Miller had to land a standout wing capable of making an immediate impact.

Mission accomplished.

Arizona landed its top wing target Thursday afternoon when 6-foot-7 Pennsylvania native Rondae Jefferson committed in the wake of his official visit to Tucson this past weekend. Jefferson, a consensus Top 20 recruit, will help the Wildcats absorb the departure of seniors-to-be Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom next season.

Adding wings was critical for the Wildcats because they figure to be strong at every other position for the 2013-14 season. Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell is the heir apparent to Mark Lyons at point guard, while perhaps the three most heralded members of the Wildcats' decorated 2012 class were all big men.

Jefferson has drawn comparisons to ex-Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist because of his defensive prowess, his relentless rebounding and his ability to attack the rim off the dribble. Like Kidd-Gilchrist, Jefferson's jump shot remains a work in progress and is not a strength of his game at this point.

That might be more disconcerting for Arizona were it not for the other wing the Wildcats have already landed for the class of 2013. Elliott Pitts, a 6-foot-5 standout at Northern California's Concord De La Salle High, figures to contribute immediately as a perimeter shooter.

Arizona is still in the running for two more elite recruits: forward Aaron Gordon and shooting guard Keith Frazier. Even if both go elsewhere, however, Jefferson makes the Wildcats' 2013 class an instant success.

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