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April 18, 2014

Looking at 2014-15: Craig Victor

Incoming freshman Craig Victor was on Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack's radar since his eighth grade year.

At 6-7 and 205 pounds, the stout power forward has an interesting skill set. He wanted the right coach to mold him into the best NBA prospect possible.

In his scouting report, Rivals.com national columnist Eric Bossi labled Victor as a "hard working, blue-collar power forward."

"He works the glass on both ends of the floor and also has some face up skills," Bossi wrote. "He gets to the free-throw line and has a solid all-around game."

Earlier this week, UA head coach Sean Miller made a strong point that replacing players of dire importance to the roster, such as NBA draft-bound Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon, is never easy.

Granted, Victor is not the athlete Gordon is, but Victor does have some abilities that Gordon did not. Victor's versatility allows him to play both forward positions, an attribute that kept the Wildcats from falling apart after Brandon Ashley went down with a season-ending foot injury. Gordon was able to spend time at both the three and four; Victor's similarities will pay dividends if another injury occurs.

Victor is another player that fits Miller's team model and the four-star forward should be able to contribute almost immediately next season. He has the size and strength to hold down his position from a defensive standpoint.

In regards to his offensive game, Victor is an intriguing case. At 18 years old, he has a top-notch motor and a perimeter game that allows him to score as far out as 18 feet. He can also put his back to the basket and score from the post.

Victor seems primed and ready to make the next step, and become an important piece to a national championship contender.

"I think it's a great advantage for kids to leave home and be in that type of structured environment at Findlay Prep on a daily basis in a competitive environment," Miller said about Victor back in November. "Craig has intangibles, he's a great competitor and a winner. He is a versatile 6-7, 6-8 forward who can step away from the basket, a physical type of player who's only getting better right now. We're excited about Craig."

Victor fits quite nicely in Miller's system. With the loss of Gordon, Miller will need another versatile forward to fill the void. Victor will likely not have the same impact as the Pac-12 Conference freshman of the year, but he will complement an already deep Arizona team.

Defensively, Victor can guard both forward positions and has a keen ability to control the glass on both ends. He is an active-area rebounder who posted an average of 8.6 rebounds per game. The No. 28-ranked overall prospect fits into a Wildcats team that ranked 18th nationally in rebounding with 38.9 per game.

As an incoming freshman, Victor has the advantage of learning under an ultra-skilled frontcourt in Ashley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarczewski.

Miller brought together another top-five recruiting class. Stanley Johnson, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Kadeem Allen and Dusan Ristic will join Victor in Tucson for the 2014-15 season. The loss of Gordon and Nick Johnson are big, but Miller has what some might consider an even better roster next season.

Joseph DuruakuJoseph Duruaku
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer

Email Joseph



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