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A perfect fit

By Dan Rosen
Arizona Summer Wildcat
June 16, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dan Rosen

In a recruiting season that has seen the likes of Jason Gardner signing on to replace Jason Terry as the point man, Lamont Frazier, Gilbert Arenas and Robertas Javtokas all coming in looking to learn the words to "Bear Down" as well, Lute Olson pulled off more of his Midwest magic by signing another star from the Hoosier state.

Gardner, who hails from Indiana, was a lock. We all knew that during the season. But the acquisition of 6-foot-6, 200-pound swingman Luke Recker might be the prize of this UA recruiting class.

Like Gardner, Recker is a former Mr. Basketball from the state of Indiana while playing for DeKalb High School in Auburn, Ind. But unlike Gardner, this guy has already proven that he can play at this level, and play well.

Recker excelled with one Hall of Fame coach in Bob Knight, leading his team in scoring with 16.1 points per game last year and earning him third team All-Big Ten.

The problem was that the Hoosier native did not feel like he was "progressing as a player" in the 'General's' system, so he decided to leave.

Recker left with a little more class than other Indiana players have done as of late. Take for example Neil Reed. He transferred out of Knight's program and cited physical abuse. Needless to say he has not been sorely missed by the Hoosier faithful.

But forget about the Hoosiers. Recker is a Wildcat now and has a year to get better, bigger, faster and a glowing tan - all the ingredients necessary for stardom in the Pacific-10 Conference.

Olson, formerly a coach in the Big Ten with Iowa, will have to wait a year until he can play Recker, but having him in practice everyday to face off against sophomore Richard Jefferson will make both players that much better.

Recker is a perfect fit with the Wildcats. He runs the floor very well with great up and down speed, which adheres to the Pac-10 style of play. He also shoots the ball well, plays tenacious defense and can hit free throws - a talent he displayed this past year against Michigan where he hit an unprecedented 22 of 25 in a 73-71 victory.

Another thing Recker brings to the table is a great love for basketball and a lot of heart to go with it. He is an emotional player that loves to get the crowd into the game, something that the McKale faithful need to do.

First came center Loren Woods from Wake Forest, then Frazier from Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas, and now Recker, meaning the UA may be earning a new nickname, Transfer University.

Luke hopes to get a free trip home come the end of March because the first Final Four of the new millennium will be played in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis - the same place the Wildcats introduced themselves to Americans by raising the national championship trophy in 1997.

Only 122 days until Midnight Madness.