Nov. 12, 2003
Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 12) - The University of Arizona women's basketball program has signed three student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent, announced head coach Joan Bonvicini on Wednesday. Jessica Arnold, Ch? Oh and Chari Smith will join the Wildcats for the 2004-05 season.
A native of Tucson, Jessica Arnold is a 5-4 guard from Palo Verde High School. As a junior last year, she averaged 18 points, 6 assists, 6 steals and 5 rebounds per game while earning team Most Valuable Player honors. A two-time team captain, she was also a first-team All-Tucson selection last season.
Heading into the 2003-04 season, Arnold is ranked No. 57 out of the top 100 point guards in the nation by All-Star Girls Report.
"Jessica is someone who we've known for more than 10 years. She's come to our camps since she was a kid. She's even gone to Lute Olson's camp with the boys and was the MVP of her division," said Bonvicini, who is beginning her 13th season at the helm of the Wildcat program. "She has great talent, excellent skills. She's someone who's going to make an impact right away, and she's a great student. She's always been about the Wildcats - her parents are UA grads. We're very happy she's going to be part of our program."
Ch? (pronounced shay) Oh is a 6-0 forward from Monroe, Wash. As a junior last year, she led Seattle Prep to a state runner-up finish and was named to the all-tournament team. During the season, she averaged 11.6 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Her sophomore season, Oh helped Seattle Prep win both the Metro League and state championships. She played basketball her freshman year at Monroe (Wash.) High School, where she was a second team All-Wesco North League selection.
"Ch? is an excellent perimeter and power player inside; she plays almost like a Barkley. She's someone who is coming from a winning tradition, in both basketball and volleyball," said Bonvicini. "She's smart and is a good player who will be able to contribute early in her career."
A 6-3 forward from Hawthorne, Calif., Chari (pronounced shuh-REE) Smith is playing for Fairfax High School in Los Angeles this year after competing for two seasons at Hamilton High School. During her two years at Hamilton (2000 and 2001), Smith recorded averages of 18.6 rebounds, 12.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4 blocks per game. She was a first team All-Western League choice both seasons and was a second team All-Los Angeles City Section honoree as a freshman. Smith did not play basketball her junior year at Hamilton and transferred to Fairfax in 2003.
The All-Star Girls Report ranks Smith as No. 14 out of the top 100 power forwards in the class of 2004 nationwide.
"Chari could really push for a starting spot as a freshman," said Bonvicini. "She can shoot the perimeter jumper, she's quick, she's very versatile, and she has excellent leaping ability. She is going to be a good complement for Polkey. I think, down the road, she could end up playing the three for us.
"We have an outstanding recruiting class this year. They are all good kids and hard workers, and they all have the potential to push for starting spots as freshmen, which I think will just make us better."
The Wildcat women will play host to an Athletes in Action team on Thursday, Nov. 13, for one final exhibition game before officially tipping-off the 2003-04 season at home against Northern Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m.