Arizona's Mark Lyons tosses the ball up to the basket while USC's Aaron Fuller closes in during the first half of the Wildcats' loss at Galen Center in Los Angeles. Lyons managed 14 points despite going 1 of 9 from the field.


LAS VEGAS - When Arizona coach Sean Miller received his first in-state recruiting commitment, from Phoenix's Daniel Bejarano in October 2009, it was a relatively rushed affair just after the shooting guard backed off a commitment to Texas.

It didn't work out too well, either, with Bejarano playing sparingly at UA as a freshman before transferring to Colorado State.

But Bejarano's mentor, Ray Arvizu, said that recruitment was nobody's fault - saying Bejarano had decided to stay in state after his father died over that summer, severely limiting his options - and that Arizona is not recruiting with a rush anymore.

Arvizu should know. He's also the coach of the Arizona Stars travel team, with a highly regarded 2014 shooting guard named Dorian Pickens that Arizona is closely eyeing - but has not offered a scholarship to yet.

"I love their approach," Arvizu said. "They're not just handing it out to anyone in the state. They're getting the whole staff to watch them. If you've got an in-state kid, you want to make sure it's successful."

UA associate head coach James Whitford was on hand for the Stars' 8 a.m. game Friday and, so far every member of the Wildcat staff has seen Pickens except Miller.

That may change soon.

"From what it sounds like, they like everything he brings to the table," Arvizu said. "He's about 6-5 and he is one of the best shooters in his class in the country in my opinion. … They were going to get Sean to watch him sometime this week and if he likes him, maybe they'll offer him."

That would be fine with Pickens, who already has offers from ASU, Oregon State, Boston College, New Mexico, Rice and San Francisco.

"Arizona hasn't offered me but I took a visit down there (in May) and talked to coach Miller," said Pickens, who helped Phoenix Pinnacle reach the Division I state semifinals last season. "We have a good relationship and hopefully we'll get to that point soon."

Pickens said he watched a UA game in person in December but he also took an unofficial visit in May to view the facilities. He said he hopes to return after this month's travel-ball play ends to watch a Wildcats practice; UA is holding full practices in advance of its Aug. 9 departure to the Bahamas.

Miller, meanwhile, has offered a scholarship to another in-state 2014 player, Mesa Mountain View center Payton Dastrup. But that move demanded early action: Dastrup is a skilled big man with a collection of offers all over the Pac-12 plus schools such as BYU and Virginia.

"Payton's recruiting is blowing up," said Dwain Schallenberger, Dastrup's coach on the Arizona Select travel team. "He doesn't even list any schools right now because he's playing so well.

"I think his mental side of the game might be his biggest asset because he just takes things in stride and he has a long-term perspective. His post game has improved and he's hitting threes and has extended his game. His face-up game is as good as any big guy in the country."

While BYU was one of the teams Dastrup followed as a child, the big man said he has no favorites yet, and no plans to make a decision before his senior season. However, he said he did enjoy an unofficial visit to Arizona in May.

"I was really impressed," Dastrup said. "Coach Miller is a great guy and coach (Joe) Pasternack is a really good guy, too. I like the whole atmosphere there."