Josh Pastner is finishing his third season as a full-time assistant coach for the Arizona men's basketball team, working primarily with the team's frontcourt players. He has helped recruit in such states as Texas in recent seasons, as well as develop the Wildcat big men. Pastner played in 42 games for Arizona and was part of the 1997 national championship team.
Pastner sat down with the Wildcat to discuss Hassan Adams' uniform next season, Salim's and Channing's draft prospects and the next - great? - Arizona point guard.
Wildcat: Will (junior forward) Hassan Adams be back in an Arizona uniform next year?
Pastner: Obviously we'd love for him to be back because he's such a great player, but right now he's in the process of determining that with his mom and (head) coach (Lute) Olson. They're all getting the information gathered and absorbed and making a very smart and knowledgeable decision, whatever that may be. We want what's best for Hassan. Of course, we'd love Hassan back because he's a great kid and obviously a great student athlete.
Wildcat: Based on your talks with scouts, where will (seniors) Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye go in (June's) NBA Draft?
Pastner: A lot of it will be determined by what Salim does in Chicago (in player workouts). I don't think Channing will play in Chicago. (Channing's stock) will be determined by what happens in individual workouts. Right now, Channing may have a shot to move up into the lottery. A lot of people are saying he could be the second big man taken behind (Utah sophomore) Andrew Bogut. I think Salim's stock will skyrocket once he gets into the workouts in Chicago, and they see his shooting ability up-close, first-hand.
Wildcat: What's your recruiting schedule been like?
Pastner: Coach Olson and myself went out on April 6 at 8 a.m., which was the first day we were allowed out in April. It was April 6 through April 10, and then Monday-today is a dead period when we can't be off campus. Starting Friday until April 30, we'll be on the road recruiting for the rest of the month. We won't be in Tucson. We'll be out and about, seeing prospects.
Wildcat: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the three freshmen coming in next year: (forward) Marcus Williams, (point guard) J.P. Prince and (forward) Fendi Onobun?
Pastner: With Marcus, he's about 6-foot-8, he's long, slender and can score. He's obviously got to get stronger. He's a good scorer. He was the leading scorer in the state of Washington the last two years in the highest classification.
J.P. Prince, he has to get stronger, too. He has great court vision and can see the floor. He's a lefty and he can really pass the ball. We have to get him in the weight room and he has to really work on his perimeter shooting.
Fendi, he has the body and the athleticism, but he needs to keep working on his ballhandling and shooting.
Wildcat: In the Nike Hoops Summit (April 5), featuring a USA select team versus a World select team, Prince played just five minutes and went 0-for-1 from the floor.
In the EA Sports Roundball Classic (March 22), Williams tallied four points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
What was your take on these players' performances?
Pastner: In the all-star games, you can't get a good feel. The all-star games are overrated, just big hype machines. You can never tell a kid by evaluating him from those games. We're just extremely pumped up with the class we have coming in. They are three student -athletes that we figure will help keep this program at a high level.