November 13, 2008

Sun Devils sign Lockett, add Pateev

Arizona State signed one recruit and earned a hard fought verbal commitment from another on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins 6-foot-5, 205 pound wing Trent Lockett faxed his letter of intent to school officials around noon following a signing ceremony at his high school.

"Trent is a tremendous addition to our basketball program," Sun Devil coach Herb Sendek said in a statement released by the program. "He is a model student-athlete excelling in the classroom and on the court. He is a true gentleman, a real leader and an explosive athlete with a excellent mind for the game."

Lockett wore an ASU shirt and hat for the occasion, but he forgot something more material to the process when he left his home Wednesday morning.

"I actually forgot the paperwork at home so I had to call my mom and have her bring it to me," Lockett said. "That was pretty funny. Here I was looking forward to this day for over a year and I go and do that. But it was real exciting and I'm looking forward to my senior year and after that my college career."

ASU's other committed recruit, Ruslan Pateev, a 7-foot, 240 pound center at Montverde Academy in Florida, spent his day determining which college's hat he would put on at the school's 4 p.m. press conference.

At late as an hour before the announcement, Pateev had still not decided between Arizona State and Florida State

"I've been doing this for over 20 years and I've never had a guy vacillate as much as Ruslan did," Montverde coach Kevin Sutton said. "It was back and forth an in the end Arizona State was where he decided he felt most comfortable. It's not that he didn't feel comfortable with Florida State, but he just felt the overall combination at Arizona State, academically, athletically and socially was very impressive and he felt he had a great chance at early playing time there as well."

Pateev, who also considered NC State and SMU, averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots last season for Montverde, which went 24-6.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Pateev signed his letter of intent, but ASU could not announce the addition until his parents sign also sign. The paperwork has to be sent by express mail overseas and the process could take several days.

"Ruslan has a high skill set and he came to the United States as a good basketball player already. He has a high basketball IQ and he was well taught back in Russia," Sutton said. "In his two years with us, he worked on his skills with [numerous other Division I big men] here at Montverde. Ruslan is going to be a good player because he has a high skill set." national basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer evaluated Pateev this summer, and came away relatively impressed.

"Watched him at the NBA Players Camp. He was effective," Meyer wrote. "Hard worker, finished shots he should make and got rebounds he should have gotten. Average athlete and a little stiff and methodical but solid. Just missed getting ranked but a definite high major prospect."

With Pateev and Lockett on board, the Sun Devils may eventually sign as many as two others in the class. A day prior to the start of the signing period, reported that San Leandro (Calif.) guard Jared Cunningham would not be signing with the program due to academic issues, despite being committed for more than a year.

Lockett, the No. 73 overall prospect and No. 18 shooting guard in the national 2009 class, committed to the Sun Devils in October of 2007 after several unofficial visits to the Tempe campus in the preceding year.

"Coach Sendek showed me a tape of when he was at NC State and I couldn't believe how many easy buckets there were getting, just all over the place," Lockett said following the commitment last year. "Everyone was so unselfish and that's the type of program that I want to be a part of and I know that's what it will be like at Arizona State."

As a junior, Lockett played for a Hopkins team that went 27-2, losing in the third round of the playoffs to cross-town rival Minnetonka High School. He averaged 14.9 points per game.

This season, Hopkins is favored to win the state championship, as it returns seven of its top eight players in the rotation.

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