The Associated Press 2005

Nic Wise watched the Texas 5A high school title bounce in, around and eventually out of the Ervin Center rim Saturday on his ill-fated three-point buzzer shot.

It was not the only victory Wise was shooting for in Austin. The UA signee also was trying to convince Dallas South Oak Cliff High star forward Darrell Arthur, the nation's highest-rated remaining player in the class of 2006, to join him in Tucson this fall.

Wise might have a chance to win this one at the buzzer, too.

Rodney Johnson, publisher of the recruiting Web site, said Arthur's finalists now are the UA, SMU and Kansas entering the spring signing period next month.

A power forward with inside and outside ability, the 6-foot-9-inch, 220-pound Arthur initially did not list Arizona among his finalists, and did not include the UA among the five official visits he already has taken.

But Arthur is looking for a team that needs inside help, and the UA needs inside help.

So UA coach Lute Olson and assistant Josh Pastner watched Johnson work out Tuesday in Dallas, and Wise spent plenty of time with him last weekend in Austin between the 5A games he played in and the 4A title contest that Arthur and South Oak Cliff won.

Johnson and Jim Hicks, a Houston-area recruiting analyst, both said Wise made a powerful sales pitch to Arthur.

"You think Josh is a recruiter?" Hicks said. "Let me tell you, Nic Wise is the best."

Arthur also will team with UA signee Chase Budinger on the West team in the March 29 McDonald's All-American Game.

No matter what Arthur decides, though, Wise clearly finished his high school career as a winner. Although his Kingwood High School team failed to defend its 2005 5A title when Wise's three-pointer rimmed out, Wise finished his career with a 125-17 record among stints at Cinco Ranch, Hightower and Kingwood high schools.

During the 60-58 loss to Plano in Saturday's final, Wise made 7 of 13 other three-pointers, the most any Texas prep player made in this year's tournament.