Of all the elite-level high school seniors to sign letters of intent with Arizona last week, no one got more national attention than Mater Dei (Calif.) wing Stanley Johnson, who made his announcement live on ESPNU.
Given Johnson’s national basketball profile, here’s my list of the UA’s big four signees last week:
1. George Cunningham, men’s golf. Ranked No. 2 nationally by Golfweek magazine in the Class of 2014, Cunningham, who has lived in Tucson for two years and is home-schooled, is probably the highest-ranked golfer to sign with Arizona in more than 10 years.
“George actually committed to (former UA coach) Rick LaRose before I took the job,” said UA coach Jim Anderson. “We were fortunate to keep him. George has already played in the European Tour qualifying school. He’s played everywhere; his whole deal is that he’s absolutely driven to be the most successful pro golfer he can be. He will literally set up his school schedule so he can play golf all afternoon.”
2. Michael Kopech, baseball. Perfect Game baseball ranks Kopech the No. 35 prospect in the Class of 2014. The right-hander from Mount Pleasant, Texas, has been clocked with a 94 mph fastball. He struck out 105 in 60 innings in his high school junior season.
3. Alexandra Martelle, swimming. The versatile Charlotte, N.C., resident has been on the national recruiting radar since 2011, when she won the North Carolina state title in the 200 IM by five seconds.
4. Natalia Forero, women’s golf. UA coach Laura Ianello’s two-person class of Salpointe’s two-time state champion Krystal Quihuis and Forero, is among the best in NCAA golf. Forero was a world champion when she was 13, in 2009. The high school senior from Cali, Colombia, won an IJGT event in Phoenix this year by 13 strokes and is ranked No. 47 in the world for girls 17-under.