New Orleans prep forward last to commit

By Patrick Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Now that he has given a verbal commitment to attend Arizona next fall, prep forward Eugene Edgerson sized up a 1996 class that critics have said could give UA the best set of freshmen in the nation next season.

"I think we should be the number one or two recruiting class in the country," said the 6-foot-7-inch Edgerson, of New Orleans' St. Augustine High School. "With me, Mike (Bibby, of Phoenix's Shadow Mountain High School), and Stephen Jackson (from Virginia's Oak Hill Academy), that's a good team.

"I haven't played with them, but I've only heard good things."

The Wildcats also have received verbal commitments from 6-foot-2-inch guard Quynn Tebbs of Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, and Bennett Davison, a 6-foot-7-inch forward from West Valley Junior College in Saratoga, Calif.

Whatever Edgerson heard about Bibby, he must have liked. Edgerson said he asked Bibby to be his roommate next year in Tucson.

"I talked to Mike Saturday, and I said, if it was no problem, I would like to room with him," he said. "He's like me he puts school first, and he's a good player."

Edgerson's decision to attend Arizona came as a surprise in that it was sooner than expected. He said earlier in October he was favoring Arizona, but he wanted to use all five of his allotted visits, and still had Maryland scheduled for this weekend. Besides Arizona, Edgerson had visited Nevada-Las Vegas, Colorado and Pittsburgh.

But, Edgerson said, he committed now because he did not want to put off the inevitable.

"I couldn't find any school better than Arizona, it's simple," said Edgerson, whose high school won USA TODAY's national prep championship last year. "Pittsburgh, Colorado, UNLV none could compete with Arizona.

"I really enjoyed the players, they made me feel comfortable and told me how it would be, that I could get playing time and that this was a good place to be."

Edgerson also cited Arizona's success in recent years as a factor in his decision.

"I come from a winning program, and I want to win," he said. "I want to help this team go to the Final Four, not just go to the second round (of the NCAA Tournament) and get knocked out."

Under NCAA regulations, Arizona coaches are prohibited from commenting on recruits until they sign a letter of intent with the school. The fall signing period begins Nov. 7.

Verbal commitments are not binding.

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