After previously claiming that he planned to wait until spring to sign his National Letter of Intent with Arizona, USA TODAY Chosen 25 guard Nico Mannion instead decided to sign on the line to join the Wildcats on Wednesday, the first day of the signing period for basketball and a host of other sports.
Mannion tweeted his intention to sign Wednesday morning, adding a bear and down emoji to tie to Arizona’s “Bear Down” slogan.
No visual proof has been provided of Mannion signing his letter of intent at Pinnacle High School (Phoenix), where he stars, or anywhere else. As of 3:15 p.m. EST he was still listed as a “committed” athlete on 247Sports, indicating his paperwork had not arrived in Tucson yet.
Still, there was no indication that he had second thoughts about signing at first opportunity, either, and it is now expected that he’ll be at the forefront of Arizona’s new class.
Mannion’s decision to sign on the first day of the window is a bit of an aberration from other top recruits; in recent years, many have held out from signing their Letters of Intent until after the Final Four, when it becomes more clear which top programs will lose underclassmen to the draft and which may also have a coaching change. In fact, the top five players in the Chosen 25 all opted to wait until later in the year to make their decision … and potentially sign with a school then.