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Arizona's bright future gets brighter with Chol commitment

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

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No college basketball program in America had a better day on Thursday than Arizona.

The Wildcats won their seventh consecutive game, downing Washington State, 79-70, to remain in first place in the Pac-10, one game ahead of UCLA and two ahead of Washington in the loss column.

But their already-bright future got even brighter.

Angelo Chol, who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 76 prospect in the 2011 class, gave his pledge to second-year coach Sean Miller. The 6-foot-8 Sudanese forward out of San Diego's Hoover High gives the Cats their fourth high-profile member in this year's recruiting class.

Chol chose Arizona over Kansas, North Carolina and Washington.

The star-studded class already includes …

Josiah Turner, who Rivals lists as the No. 2 point guard in the 2011 crop.

• 6-foot-8 Oak Hill (Va.) Academy power forward Sidiki Johnson, who committed to Miller at the beginning of his junior season

• Shooting guard Nick Johnson — A sticky 6-foot-3 defender and high-flier out of Findlay (Nev.) Prep. The Phoenix area native is the nephew of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson.

The only senior on an Arizona team that's currently 22-4 and ranked 12th in the nation is reserve forward Jamelle Horne.

In one recruiting class, Miller will take in two potential replacements for sophomore forward Derrick Williams, who could be the Pac-10 Player of the Year and a first round NBA draft pick this June. He also adds the natural play-making point that his current team could use to tie it all together. Finally, he gets a player in Johnson who has shut down the likes of DeAndre Daniels and LeBryan Nash this season and is a SportsCenter highlight waiting to happen.

Not bad for a coach who was hired two years ago only after Tim Floyd and others turned down the gig.

Miller has established an Arizona team without much depth or a proven point guard as the Pac-10's best this season. The future now looks downright scary, as the Cats look capable of staying at the top of the league for the next several years.

For top recruits, going to Arizona is again becoming a cool thing to do. The rest of the conference better keep pace.

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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