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July 11, 2012
LAS VEGAS - Arizona head coach Sean Miller saw enough of 2015 recruit Ivan Rabb during the April evaluation period to extend an offer to the Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd standout. Since that time California has jumped on board as well, and after his performance at the LeBron James Skills Academy more are likely to follow.
The offer from the Wildcats came as somewhat of a surprise to the 6-foot-9 prospect, who plays his travel ball with the Oakland Soldiers, but it was what he was hoping for during that time period.
"I was real excited but I didn't want to show it because we were in the middle of a tournament - Boo Williams - and I just wanted to stay focused," he said. "Honestly I just wanted to go out and impress as many people as I could, and I got an offer from Arizona."
Although he doesn't know too much about the Wildcats, Rabb knows there is a familiarity with the program from those around him.
"I don't know a lot about them, I just know that there's a lot of people who have played for the Oakland Soldiers that went to Arizona," he said. "My head coach at Bishop O'Dowd knows the head coach at Arizona, but that's all I really know.
"Brandon Ashley came to a few games this season - to watch his former team - and once he heard I got the offer he called and told me he was proud of me and to keep working. And he said to stay focused in school and also athletics."
The 'Cats made an effort to bolster their front court with their 2012 recruiting class, and that's one thing the rising sophomore has noticed about the program.
"I haven't seen them play too much," Rabb said. "But it seems like they're focused on bringing more and more bigs to make an all-around team and not just guards. So if I see them play I can see how I would fit in, but I haven't watched them a lot yet."
Even though it is early in the process for Rabb, he does have idea of what he will be looking for as his recruitment moves forward.
"I kind of want to play for a coach who has played basketball before," he said. "They understand how difficult things are and they know how to push you."
Rabb originally made his initial impression during the spring evaluation period, and he hopes with some added work he can do the same this month as well.
"I want work on polishing my post game more, my face-up game and shooting more jumpers off the glass because that's what you don't see a lot," he said. "I've also been working on my three-step move and sky hook - which is sharp but I just haven't used it yet. So I just want to show everybody that I can do that."
The big man played up during some of the spring period and he held his own against the older recruits during the LeBron James camp, but that is something the 2015 recruit doesn't mind doing.
"I just want to show them that they have to respect me and I'm going to work hard," Rabb said about playing against older competition. "They might be bigger, but I noticed if you have a smaller frame and you work harder than everybody they're not going to call a foul. I work hard and hustle more, so I get a lot of rebounds and stuff like that."
Rabb said he picked up his offer from Cal about two weeks ago, but there are plenty of others who have shown interest. Texas, Oregon State, Miami and North Carolina were a few of the schools he mentioned as programs that have expressed early interest.