It took some time, but four-star 2014 point guard prospect Parker Jackson-Cartwright finally holds an offer from Arizona. The 5-foot-9, 140-pounder received his offer from the Wildcats Monday - a day before his squad from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola was set to take on Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei in the CIF Division I State Championship playoffs.
"I'll start by saying that it's a blessing, because there are so many kids that want to be in my position and would love to have one of the best, prestigious programs offer them," Jackson-Cartwright said. "But, it's a great school and and a great program. They've had a lot of good players and a especially a lot of good point guards in that program who they've sent into the league (NBA).
"It's just great watching them year by year and seeing them get better. And they have a great coach."
There was a time before his sophomore season when the 'Cats weren't recruiting the nation's 25th-best prospect as hard as some of the other schools in the Pac-12 - namely UCLA and USC. The staff's focus was shifted elsewhere at that time, but things certainly started to pick up lately and it culminated with Monday's offer.
Even though it took some time for head coach Sean Miller's staff to come around, Jackson-Cartwright said he's not disappointed in the time it took UA to make an offer.
"I just think them being such a prestigious program, they want to take the best," he said. "And they wanted to see if I would fit, and it just took them a little longer. It's hard to get offered by such a top program, so it's understandable.
"I totally understand. They always go for the best, so it's great that they offered me. I was a little bit surprised, but I think they just wanted to feel me out a little bit more and see me play a little bit more."
Up to this point the two programs that have made no secrets about their desire to land the point guard recruit have been the Trojans and Bruins. Jackson-Cartwright said not much has changed on that front with his season going on and his focus being more on the task at hand.
"It's (his recruitment) going well," he said. "UCLA and USC, those have been the two schools - with them being so close and local - they've been the two schools who have really been there the whole season. They've really watched me and my games, and I've built a good relationship with both of their coaching staffs.
"And they want me to come there, and I really appreciate it. But I've been so focused on my own team's success that I haven't really been worried about my recruitment too much."
Like any young player who is still making his way through the high school ranks, Jackson-Cartwright said there are areas of his game that have improved. But there is one particular trait that he has noticed improvement in more than any other this season.
"Of course [there's been improvement]," he said. "Leadership is one of the areas. From freshman year, I was never really vocal and I was real quiet. Being a point guard you can't really be quiet on the court.
"It's like a quarterback, and you need to direct people on the court. So I think that I've improved a lot in leadership and just getting people in the right spots."
Although he is a leader on one of the best teams in the state of California, Jackson-Cartwright often hears about his frame and how it might hinder his ability to make a major impact at the next level.
He has never made excuses and the point guard recruit continues to get noticed and make a name for himself by using the skills he does possess to make people forget about his small stature.
"I'm just relentless," he said. "Me being small, I could use some other abilities. I have long arms and I'm very lengthy, and I'm not quick but I do quick things. I'm quick to the ball and I have really long arms, so I just like to use my other abilities because I'm not the tallest and I'm not the biggest.
"I think some people are still surprised by how lengthy I am and how I can jump, so they'll try to throw a ball over me and I can get a steal - or I can jump up and get a block.
"I don't let it bother me at all, ever. I'm relentless and I just have to be tough. And I think I do that."
At this point Jackson-Cartwright said his timetable for a decision is still the same as he wants to let things play out a bit more.
"Yeah, it's still the end of my junior year, maybe even before that," he said. "But it's just when the time is right and when I feel I have a good handle on where I want to go."