Brandon Ashley and Aaron Gordon have already played travel ball together, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came to know Ashley on the high school all-star circuit this spring.
But all three of the Arizona Wildcats players will have their first chance to bond together this weekend while competing in Colorado Springs, Colo., for a spot on USA Basketball's U19 World Championship team.
They may also have a chance to do some "recruiting," with one of UA's top 2014 targets, Houston wing Justise Winslow, also trying out for the team.
Winslow is one of only two high school players participating, along with big man Jahlil Okafor of Chicago, and the opportunity comes at a critical point. Winslow is not only busy with travel ball this spring and summer but also taking recruiting visits as he tries to decide among schools including Arizona, Duke and UCLA.
Winslow made a short repeat visit to Tucson last weekend, according to Winslow's godfather and travel ball coach, Steve Trauber.
"He's trying to narrow down his list and maybe make a decision relatively soon," Trauber said. "UCLA has made some progress but I still think Arizona and Duke are probably the leading candidates."
UCLA is making a late push under new coach Steve Alford, and Trauber said Winslow has a brother in Los Angeles that makes playing for the Bruins attractive.
USA Basketball will hold practices starting this afternoon, with two more scheduled Saturday and another on Sunday morning before about 15 finalists will be chosen. After more workouts, a final roster of 12 players is expected to be announced on Monday or Tuesday before the team leaves for Washington, D.C., and then the Czech Republic, where the U19 world championships will be held starting June 27.
Lyons changes agents
Former UA guard Mark Lyons has hired Octagon's Chris Emens, the same agent that is representing ex-Wildcat forward Solomon Hill in preparation for the NBA Draft.
Lyons had been represented by Brian Dyke, the same agent working with former UA forward Grant Jerrett, but Emens said Lyons hired him three weeks ago.
Lyons is not projected to be picked in the June 27 draft but is drawing some interest from NBA teams. Emens said Lyons has already worked out for Denver, Houston, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers. He is scheduled to work out for Dallas today, with Brooklyn and Detroit up next week.
Lyons' goal is clear: To convince NBA scouts that he has upside to improve as a scoring-minded point guard. He played off the ball most of his Xavier career before transferring to Arizona last season.
"It's been good," Emens said. "He's a much better athlete than I would give him credit for; I don't know if at Arizona he utilized that athleticism. He went from playing a completely different position and did pretty well. Not perfectly, but pretty well."
No recent APR blemishes
According to Arizona deputy AD Rocky LaRose, the Wildcats actually posted perfect Academic Progress Rate scores for the seasons of 2010-11 and 2011-12. Their four-year average of 969 was released Tuesday by the NCAA.
While LaRose declined to comment on specific individuals because of student privacy laws, the 2011-12 score indicates that UA was not penalized for the bizarre December 2011 dismissal of Sidiki Johnson. Speaking generally, LaRose said there are waivers that can wipe away APR points lost due to personal situations.
The perfect score in 2010-11 also likely indicates that MoMo Jones (Iona) and Daniel Bejarano (Colorado State) had grade-point averages of 2.6 or better when they transferred after that season. Teams are not penalized if a player goes to a four-year school with such a GPA.
On StarNet: Follow the Cats through the offseason at azstarnet.com/pascoe