Twin prep centers may rethink oral commitment to UCLA

By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 7, 1996

With the termination of UCLA basketball coach Jim Harrick, Arizona's situation in many recruiting battles might have been significantly altered.

Most importantly, the effects may lie in the race for Jarron and Jason Collins, the highly touted 7-foot twins from Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) High School.

"The effect that this could have on (UCLA's) recruiting remains to be seen - but I'm sure that is of concern to UCLA," UA head men's basketball coach Lute Olson said. "The biggest concern would be the effect with the fall national signing date being (Nov. 13)."

The Collins brothers had not verbally comitted, but prior to yesterday's events they had been leaning heavily on UCLA. The brothers were also reported by one media source to be involved in the dinner on Oct 11, which led directly to Harrick's dismissal.

They also were concerned with the Pac-10 investigation on potential recruit Baron Davis' sister buying a car listed in Harrick's name.

"I haven't talked to them today, but I know that a major factor in their decision was Jim Harrick being the coach," Harvard-Westlake athletic director Gary Thran said. "If it were me that was making the decision, I would be concerned."

The three schools in contention for the Collins brothers are Arizona, Stanford, and UCLA. Thran said one brother was impressed with Arizona with the other seriously considering Stanford. However, since they want to enter a program together, UCLA was the f rontrunner.

"What the boys are going to have to decide is how they will fit in the new program under (UCLA head) coach (Steve) Lavin," Harvard Westlake men's basketball coach Greg Hilliard said. "I think the rumors are getting blown out of proportion. Right now all t hree schools are very much in contention. The events regarding Harrick could sway their decision, but I think it will just complicate the issue. I think they will spend a lot time locked in a room thinking about this up till Nov. 13."

UCLA may also miss out on another top recruit, 6-1 point guard Baron Davis. Davis, from Crossroads (Santa Monica, Calif.) High School, has already verbally comitted to UCLA. But the top prep point guard in the nation in the Nike Basketball Camp is now als o looking as some other schools, most notibly Duke.

"One reason he orally comitted to UCLA was that Jim Harrick was the coach," Crossroads High School athletic director Chuck Ice said. "He hasn't made any official visits, even to UCLA. I think will put a lot of thought into the situation before he signs on Nov. 13."