CHICAGO - With the future of suspended guard Josiah Turner still tenuous, the Arizona Wildcats may have even more riding on a scheduled recruiting visit by Italian guard Amedeo Della Valle next week.
Della Valle, a senior combo guard at Nevada's Findlay Prep, is scheduled to visit UA on April 13. He is also planning to visit Michigan, has seen Texas A&M and is also considering Gonzaga and Ohio State, according to Findlay coach Michael Peck.
Peck said Turner's status would likely affect Della Valle's decision.
"That will obviously play a part in it," Peck said.
Della Valle, who has already visited UA unofficially, gave a similar indication to UMhoops.com.
"They might lose a guard, and I have a good relationship with Coach (Sean) Miller," Della Valle told the Michigan-based website. "I can see myself fitting into the program."
Miller has already signed two Findlay players: sophomore-to-be guard Nick Johnson and incoming freshman forward Brandon Ashley, who joined fellow UA signee Grant Jerrett in the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday.
The Wildcats have one remaining scholarship to fill this spring for the class of 2012, and two if Turner leaves. They are also expected to be recruiting T.J. McConnell, a sophomore point guard who announced he is transferring from Duquesne. McConnell visited Virginia on Wednesday, according to the blog From Old Virginia.
Muhammad praises UA
If he chooses to play college ball at Kentucky, Las Vegas guard Shabazz Muhammad could single-handedly help those Wildcats leapfrog UA atop the 2012 recruiting class rankings.
But even though Muhammad eliminated UA and hometown UNLV - narrowing his decision to Kentucky, UCLA and Duke - Muhammad praised Arizona and its recruiting efforts after the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday in Chicago.
"It was tough to eliminate them," Muhammad said of UA. "They're close to home, and they're just a good program.
"I love their style of play, and getting B-Ash, and Jerrett and Gabe York. … They had one of the top recruiting classes, and they really did a good job this year."
Ashley has played all over the country and on national television with Findlay Prep as a senior this season. But even he found himself somewhat in awe of the five-figure crowd at the United Center on Wednesday.
"It was nerve-wracking when you come out and see all those people," Ashley said. "I don't think anybody here has played in front of that many people before. It was fun."
Jerrett said most players were relaxed and "just having fun" but he, too, sensed the occasion.
"I was a little nervous," he said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
On StarNet: Follow the Wildcats and their recruiting chase on Bruce Pascoe's blog at azstarnet.com/pascoe