Friday, April 21, 2006

Westbrook Signs National Letter of Intent with UCLA

By Bruin Basketball Report

Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 180-pound shooting guard from Leuzinger HS (Lawndale, CA), has signed a National-Letter-of-Intent to play basketball at UCLA, Bruin head coach Ben Howland announced Friday. Westbrook will be an incoming freshman next fall.

As a senior this season at Leuzinger, Westbrook led the Olympians to a 25-4 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Div. IAA. Westbrook averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.3 assists. He connected on 57 three-pointers and shot .760 from the foul line.

"I'm very excited about Russell Westbrook's decision to join the UCLA family," Howland said. "He's an outstanding basketball player who is an equally impressive young man. I think he's going to be able to come in and compete and help us win basketball games immediately."

A first-team All-CIF performer, Westbrook was third-team All-State and a two-time All-Bay League MVP. rates Westbrook as the No. 2 shooting guard in the West and as one of the Top 25 shooting guards in the nation. He was also a first-team Daily Breeze selection and the Wave Newspapers named him the Player of the Year.

"This is a great fit all the way around," said Westbrook's coach, Reggie Morris, Jr. "Russell is a high-quality individual with high-quality potential at the collegiate level. This is a good match for everyone."

In 2005-06, Westbrook had 14 double/doubles, scored 30 or more points on eight occasions and had a career-high 51 points on Jan. 6 at Carson. "I feel great," he said. "This is a great opportunity to play at UCLA. I'm honored to be recruited and chosen by UCLA, a school with such a great basketball tradition. I'm ready to get to school to start attending classes and playing basketball."

Westbrook is UCLA's third NLI signee, joining - McDonald's and Parade Magazine All-American 6-8 220-pound forward James Keefe (Rancho Santa Margarita HS) and 6-9, 225-pound post player Marko Spica, from Belgrade Serbia and Montenegro.


Bruin Fans Naturally Want Backcourt To Stay

By Bruin Basketball Report

While many UCLA basketball fans were expecting yesterday’s announcement by sophomore guards Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar to declare for the NBA draft, it’s tough for them not to be disappointed about the prospects of losing one or both its top players from a team which was only a single game away from winning a national championship.

And rightfully so, Bruin fans should be disappointed and frustrated about it.

It’s only natural.

UCLA faithful have been here before.

After advancing to the 1976 Final Four and losing in the semifinal game, junior Richard Washington became the first Bruin to ever declare early for the NBA draft. The following year, the 1977 UCLA team which included Marques Johnson, David Greenwood, Roy Hamilton, and a freshman by the name of Kiki Vandeweghe would have been the odds on favorite to win the championship with Washington still on the team, instead the Bruins lost in the second round.

If the 1970s is too far back for some to remember, then consider how much better this year’s UCLA team would have been if Trevor Ariza had not decided to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA early after just his freshman year.

But of course, this is exactly where the disconnect between the desires of UCLA fans and elite Bruin basketball players resides.

UCLA fans want national titles, and while UCLA players want to win championships too, the ultimate goal for many of them is to play in the NBA.

When both players committed to play at UCLA, Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar announced they wanted to help return UCLA basketball back to elite status, but at the same time, they carried with them their life-long dream of playing in the NBA.

And although the Bruins didn’t win the national championship this year, the basketball program under Head Coach Ben Howland, with the help of his first two star recruits – Afflalo and Farmar, has been returned to its rightful place as one of the top basketball programs in the nation.

Top blue-chip recruits want to play at Pauley again, and Bruin fans can realistically expect a run at the national championship every year in the foreseeable future.

UCLA is back. Mission accomplished.

As for Afflalo and Farmar's chances of playing in the NBA, they both have been deemed by some NBA general managers as possible first and second round picks in this year's draft.

UCLA coach Ben Howland said he talked to 17 or 18 NBA general managers, who projected Afflalo and Farmar would be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of the June 28 draft.

With those kind of odds who can blame them for pursuing their life-long dream of playing in the NBA after only two years of college?

In addition, both players are playing it smart. Neither of them has signed with an agent and thus they maintain their collegiate playing status as long as they withdraw from the draft by June 18.

By this date, both players will have received enough feedback from NBA scouts to decide whether they should stay in the draft or return to UCLA for additional seasoning.

“It's also good for me to test and feel and see what NBA people think about me and where I am in terms of reaching my goal,” Farmar said. “I can use this as a learning experience. If they say I'm not ready and I need to work on things, I can learn what I need to work on."

"It's a good opportunity to go in and feel out how I compete with some of the other players," Afflalo said. If he does well, "that will weigh on my decision. Otherwise, if this was not the smartest decision, I'm coming back to a great situation."

Afflalo and Farmar realize this is a thin draft, talent-wise, and both players received significant national exposure after UCLA’s thrilling run through the tournament. This is definitely the right time for both players to find out whether NBA teams are interested in drafting them.

While Bruin fans wish Afflalo and Farmar the best in their quest to play in the NBA, they certainly wouldn’t mind having them both back for another title run next season.

It’s only natural.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Afflalo and Farmar To Test NBA Draft

By the Associated Press

UCLA guards Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar both declared for the NBA draft Thursday, but neither will sign with an agent, giving them the option to return to the Bruins for their junior seasons.

Afflalo and Farmar plan to hold individual workouts for specific teams that ask, with each player paying his own way to the workout sites.
"My goal as a basketball player is to play in the NBA," Farmar said. "I can always come back with a great team. It's a good situation for me to test it and see what people think about me and where I am."

UCLA coach Ben Howland said he talked to 17 or 18 NBA general managers, who projected Afflalo and Farmar would be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of the June 28 draft.

"Whether they both go this year or come out at the end of next year, they're both going to be in the NBA. That's a given," Howland said at a campus news conference. "I am totally 100 percent behind them, as is our whole UCLA basketball family in their decision to test the waters."

Like Farmar, Afflalo said he would return to school if he wasn't assured of being a first-round pick.

"If it's not the smartest situation possible, I'm coming back to a great team," he said.

Farmar added, "A lot of guys don't have UCLA and the success we had to come back to."

The players have until June 18 to withdraw their names from the draft.

Afflalo's and Farmar's individual workouts won't begin before May 20, when they will be required to drop one of the three classes they're taking during the spring quarter and become part-time students. The quarter ends in mid-June.

At that point, the players will no longer participate in individual workouts with the UCLA team.

The duo said they wouldn't participate in the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando, Fla., because it doesn't allow players to showcase their individual skills as much as solo workouts do.

Afflalo and Farmar were the first two recruits Howland signed when he took over in Westwood three seasons ago. The sophomores led the Bruins to a runner-up finish to Florida in the national championship game April 3 after helping them win the Pac-10 regular-season and tournament titles.

"I'm indebted to them forever," Howland said. "They have helped start something we think is very special."

Both players said their families and Howland were helping shield them from agent inquiries.

Afflalo and Farmar, the Bruins' co-captains, shared the John Wooden Award as the team's most valuable players this season. UCLA finished 32-7, tying a school record for most wins.

Losing them would rob the Bruins of their offensive punch. Afflalo was the leading scorer at 15.8 points and Farmar was second at 13.5. He also led the Pac-10 in assists.

"If they come back, God bless them, I'll be so happy," Howland said. "If they elect to stay in the NBA and they go in the first round, that'll be great, too."


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Westbrook Verbally Commits To UCLA

By Bruin Basketball Report

According to, Russell Westbrook, a senior guard from Leuzinger High in Lawndale, California , has verbally comitted to play at UCLA next season; however at this time, the UCLA athletic department has not confirmed a verbal committment nor a signed national letter of intent from Westbrook.

Westbrook, a 6'3 175 lb guard, averaged 25.1 points per game, and scored more than 20 points in 22 of 28 games this season. He recorded a season-high 51 points and 14 rebounds against Carson in a January game. The senior guard also averaged an astounding 8.7 rebounds per game this season from his backcourt position.

Although recruited as a potential combo guard for the Bruins, Westbrook averaged 2.3 assists but also turned the ball over 3.6 times per contest. At Leuzinger, the fact Westbrook had the ball most of the time on offense and was counted on to score often may explain his subpar assists-to-turnover ratio; however, it will be interesting how his role will evolve on next year's squad.

Westbrook has clearly demonstrated the ability to be a scorer at the high school level, but it is his ball-handling skills and court vision, especially at the collegiate level, which will be tested during the offseason.

At point guard, whether or not sophomore guard Jordan Farmar leaves for the NBA, the Bruins still have Darren Collison and recently committed walk on, Mustafa Abdul-Hamid a standout guard from St. Louis; and thus the Bruins will have options besides Westbrook at the point - depending on how players develop during the offseason.

Yet, if either Farmar or Afflalo leave for the NBA draft this year, the signing of Westbrook certainly provides the Bruins with insurance in the backcourt for next season.

Westbrook led Leuzinger to the CIF I-AA quarterfinals this season before bowing out to East Valley of Redlands. He was a third-team All-State selection by this year.


Recognition Abound at UCLA Annual Awards Banquet

By Bruin Basketball Report

In a season with much to celebrate, the 2005-06 UCLA Annual Hoopster Awards banquet was held last night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

Starting sophomore guards and co-captains, Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar, were given the Coach John Wooden Award as the team's co-Most Valuable Players.

Both first-team All-Pac-10 players, Afflalo and Farmar helped lead UCLA this season to the NCAA championship game, the Pac-10 regular season title, and to the Pac-10 tournament championship .

In addition to being UCLA's best defender, Afflalo was the team's leading scorer, averaging 15.8 points per game. He was also third on the team in rebounding with 4.2 per game.

Afflalo was also an honorable mention AP All-American and earned first-team honors from the USBWA (Dist. IX) and the NABC (Dist. 15). He was an All-Tournament selection at the Oakland Regional and All-Pac-10 Tournament.

Farmar was the Bruins' second-leading scorer, averaging 13.5 points per game, and led the Pac-10 in assists with 5.11 per game.

He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament teams in Oakland and Indianapolis, and was UCLA's leading scorer with 12.5 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. He earned first-team honors from the USBWA (Dist. IX) and NABC (Dist. 15). Farmar was nominated for the prestigious Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Bob Cousy Awards this season.

During the evening's festivities, Afflalo was also given: the Bob "Ace" Calkins Memorial Award as the team's free throw percentage leader (80.6%), and the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Award as the Outstanding Defensive Player for the second year in a row.

Farmar received the UCLA Alumni Association Award for leading the team in assists.

Freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year who led the conference in field goal percentage shooting (53.8%), earned two honors: the Seymour Armond Memorial Award as the Most Valuable Freshman, and Gerald A. Finerman Award as the team's leading rebounder (8.2).

UCLA's two starting seniors, Cedric Bozeman and Ryan Hollins, each received awards Tuesday night.

Bozeman was given the Elvin C. "Ducky" Drake Memorial Award for Competitive Spirit, Inspiration and Unselfish Contributions, while Hollins received the Bruin Hoopsters J. D. Morgan Memorial Award for Outstanding Team Play.

Two other freshmen received awards; Alfred Aboya earned the UCLA Faculty Athletic Representative Award for Academic Achievement and Team Contribution, and Darren Collison received the Bruin Bench Basketball Award for Most Improvement in All-Around Play and Mental Attitude.


(photo credit: AP)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Afflalo Delays Announcement, Farmar Weighing Options

By Brian Dohn, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Daily News

UCLA was ready to hold a news conference today for sophomore guard Arron Afflalo to declare his intentions to make himself available for the NBA draft, but second thoughts have crept in for Afflalo, and an announcement was delayed, sources said Monday.

If Afflalo follows through and enters the NBA draft, he would remain enrolled at UCLA and not hire an agent, which would allow him to return for his junior season. A decision is expected by the end of the week.

"Nothing is set in stone right now," said Ben Afflalo, Arron's father. "He hasn't made a decision."

The Bruins are also awaiting word about the future of Afflalo's classmate, point guard Jordan Farmar.

"At this point anything is possible," said Farmar's mother, Mindy Kolani. "We still have to sit down and talk about it some more. By the middle or end of this week we could know. It will be Jordan's decision."

Sources said Afflalo and Farmar were leaning toward putting their names into the NBA draft (the deadline is April 29), but both would take the necessary precautions to maintain their collegiate eligibility.

Once they enter the pool, players have until June 19 to withdraw from the draft, which is June 28. Farmar previously intimated he would not leave unless he believed he would be chosen in the first round. Afflalo said days after the Bruins lost to Florida in the national championship game he expected to return for his junior season, and sources close to the player believe he will still be at UCLA next season.

Afflalo led UCLA in scoring at 15.8 points per game, but struggled offensively in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 11.5 points and shot 33.9 percent from the field in the Bruins' run to the title game, and was scoreless for the first 28 minutes in the championship game loss to Florida.

Farmar scored 12.5 points per game in the NCAAs. He shot 37 percent from the field and had 25 assists and 20 turnovers.

If they declare for the draft, Afflalo and Farmar would have the opportunity to work out for NBA scouts and general managers. It was unclear whether either would be invited to, or participate in, the NBA's pre-draft camp in Orlando June 6-10.

By continuing to attend classes at UCLA and not hiring an agent, each player would remain eligible under NCAA rules. Two years ago, Dijon Thompson did the same thing after his junior season at UCLA. He returned for his senior season and led the Bruins in scoring and rebounding, and helped them back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years.

But perhaps a sign of UCLA's concern at guard is coach Ben Howland's decision to offer Leuzinger High of Lawndale senior guard Russell Westbrook a scholarship. UCLA was recruiting Westbrook for a while, but held back on a scholarship offer until Friday.

On Monday, Bruins coach Ben Howland and assistant Kerry Keating had an in-home visit with Westbrook and his family, the player said. Westbrook visited Arizona State over the weekend and his school choice is narrowed to the Sun Devils and UCLA. He hopes to make a decision by the end of the week.

"I can see myself playing at both spots," Westbrook said. "I'll look at the opportunity to play, and if they have good coaches, and good players, and (offer) a good education."

(reprinted with permission)


Bruins Not Lottery-Bound

By Frank Burlison, Staff columnist
Los Angeles Daily News

The deadline for college underclassmen to enter their names into the NBA Draft pool is April 29.

And multiple NBA sources believe that among the names on that list will be two of the players most responsible for UCLA's run to the Final Four last season.

Sophomore guards Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo could make public their decisions to "test the draft waters" as soon as this week.

Both will are expected to bypass the NBA Pre-Draft Camp (June 6-10 in Orlando, Fla.) and work out for individual teams or small groups of teams, with some of the auditions possibly coming in Southland facilities (including UCLA).

Underclassmen have until June 18 10 days before the draft will be held in New York City to withdraw their names and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

Players automatically forfeit their eligibility if they sign with representation. The underclassmen invited to participate in Orlando (the Pre-Draft Camp used to be held in Chicago) will have all of their expenses paid for by the NBA but still maintain NCAA eligibility if they withdraw before the deadline.

But players (or their families) must pay all expenses, including room, board and transportation, incurred during other workouts with NBA teams up front. Even if expenses fronted by NBA teams are later reimbursed when the player elects to withdraw his name from the draft pool, the player will still face NCAA game suspensions next season.

If "getting into the first round, no matter how late in the first round" is the prime criteria that Farmar and Afflalo use in making their NBA or UCLA decisions, Farmar seems the most likely to keep his name in the pool and forfeit his final two seasons as a Bruin.

Two NBA personnel directors (from Eastern and Western conference franchises) contacted Monday said they tentatively rate Farmar as possibly going in the 25-to-30 range (the final six picks) in the first round, with Afflalo more in the "early to mid-second round" range.

"I think Farmar is quicker than some people believe he is," said the guy from the West. "But he is a little turnover-prone right now and isn't nearly the consistent shooter he needs to be.

"Arron is a very tough kid who plays hard all the time and defends well. But I don't see great 'athleticism' and his shot needs to be a lot more consistent, as well."

NBA employees aren't allowed to comment (at least, for attribution) about college underclassmen.

But the guy from the Western Conference franchise whose opinions are highly thought of by his peers isn't buying the notion, held by some, that UCLA's offensive pace or style somehow hinders the Bruins from demonstrating their potential as NBA prospects.

"(Coach Ben) Howland has done wonders for those (UCLA) kids," he said, emphatically.

"Both would help their (NBA) stock by coming back to UCLA next season."

More college hoops

Mustafa Shakur, a junior point guard at the University of Arizona, announced he was entering the draft pool. Questions about his jump shot and his decision making leave him as, at best, a potential mid-to-late second round pick if he stays in the draft, scouts believe.

Cal sophomore forward Leon Powe hasn't made his intentions public yet. But, if is expected, he enters the draft, he's projected by most NBA talent evaluators to be selected in the 22-to-30 range of the first round. He's undergone three knee injuries since his senior year in high school and the health of that knee will get the once-, twice-and thrice-over by NBA medical personnel.

USC coach Tim Floyd, in Las Vegas for the Mae Fisher/Vision Sports Easter Tournament over the weekend, said he doesn't expect Trojans sophomores Gabriel Pruitt and Nick Young to enter their names into the NBA Draft pool.

Bob Schermerhorn, a former assistant coach at UC Irvine and Arizona State, as well as the head coach at Southern Utah and Riverside City College, is expected to take over at Fullerton College for Dieter Horton, who left for Antelope Valley College after leading the Hornets to a 37-0 record and state championship.

Schermerhorn was at ASU when new Long Beach State athletic director Victor Cegles worked there.

"He's a great hire," Schermerhorn said, while watching games at the high school tourney in Las Vegas on Friday night.

"He's a tremendous fundraiser and someone who all of their coaches will enjoy working with."

High school hoopla

Alice Knox, mother of Dominguez High sophomore guard Brandon Jennings, confirmed Saturday that a transfer by her son to Mouth of the Hill, Va., Oak Hill Academy for next school year is "in the works.

"He will not be returning to Dominguez," she said in Las Vegas, while watching her son play with the eventual 17-and-under division championship-winning Southern California All-Stars in the Easter Tournament.

"I have nothing negative to say about Dominguez or Coach (Russell) Otis. But Oak Hill is a place where he can better focus on basketball and academics without a lot of distractions."

She said she doesn't plan to make the move East with him.

"He's a big boy," she said. "He doesn't need me around all the time."

Otis seemed resigned to the idea that Jennings will not be in a Dons uniform next season.

"I wish him the best of luck," he said Monday. "But Dominguez is going to be Dominguez. This means there will be an opportunity for someone else to step in and play."

Jennings, Daniel Hackett (St. John Bosco), Malik Story (Artesia) and the Mater Dei trio of Taylor King, Kamyron Brown and Alex Jacobsen would have been more than enough firepower to enable the Southern California All-Stars club to be a strong contender for the 17-and-under title in Las Vegas this past week.

But toss the most overwhelming post presence in the national class of 2007, Kevin Love of Lake Oswego (Ore.), into the mix for SCA and it's no wonder it waltzed through the competition, spanking the prep school players and 2006 high school senior-laden H Squad of Los Angeles in the final Sunday at Cox Pavilion at UNLV, 103-86.

Love (a 6-foot-9, 270-pounder who is almost universally expected to enroll at UCLA in the fall of 2007), 6-8 Kyle Singler (Lake Oswego, Ore., High/Portland Elite Legends) and 6-3 Jerryd Bayless (Phoenix St. Mary's/Arizona Magic Blue) were the three best senior-to-be prospects in the event.

Bayless committed to Arizona during his junior season. Singler, who could be rated the top prospect in the class a year from now, lists Arizona, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA and Washington as the programs he is giving most serious consideration to right now.

But, when the day is done next November, those with decent insight into the situation think he'll sign with either the Blue Devils or the Bruins.

The western-based player whose college stock got the biggest jump start in Las Vegas was 6-7, 215-pound Clarence Trent (Gig Harbor, Wash./Portland Elite Legends).

With Ben Howland (UCLA), Lute Olson (Arizona), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Bill Self (Kansas) looking on in the Durango High girls gymnasium Saturday afternoon mainly to check out and be seen by Singler Trent had an offensive rebound followed by a wind-up-and-palm-it-like-it-was-a-softball, yank-down-the-iron, dunk over the Los Angeles-based TKO squad that would have warranted some serious "SportsCenter" time that night.

And the thing is, Friday afternoon in the boys gym at the same high school the day before the NCAA coaches could watch the action, Trent had a drop-step-and-crank-it-to-the-back-of-his-neck-before-flushing-it-with-two-hands number against the H Squad that was even more startling.

That kind of stuff beats the tarnation out of those contrived "dunking contests," in my humble estimation.

The Compton Magic team won the 15-and-under division of the event.

Among its players were freshmen Sam Ferguson (Mayfair), Joe Burton (West Valley in Hemet) and Justin Hawkins (Woodland Hills Taft).

And California Team Nike, paced by freshmen Travis and David Wear (Mater Dei), Justin Cobbs (Bishop Montgomery) and Roberto Nelson (Santa Barbara), along with sophomore Jamal Trice (Mater Dei), won the 16-and-under division.

(reprinted with permission)


Monday, April 17, 2006

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (4/17)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup published periodically during the offseason.


The UCLA basketball program is still awaiting news on the admission of Marko Spica to the university. Spica, a skilled 6-9 post player from Serbia and Montengero, needs a qualifying SAT score by the end of this current school year in order to gain admission to attend UCLA next fall. Spica, who turns 20 in September, had been pre-admitted to UCLA when he signed a national letter of intent last December. He's already had his previous course work evaluated by the NCAA committee that oversees student-athlete admissions, a prerequisite to forwarding a national letter of intent. Bruin Basketball Report 4/16

Senior post players James Keefe of Santa Margarita and Alex Stepheson of North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake and junior swingmen Taylor King of Santa Ana Mater Dei and James Harden of Lakewood Artesia were selected to the All-State first team by Keefe, who has signed with UCLA, and Stepheson, who is headed to North Carolina, led their teams to Southern Section title games. L.A. Times 4/12


Russell Westbrook, the top unsigned player in the West Coast class of 2006, has seen his recruitment pick up dramatically in the last month. Westbrook, a 6-2 combo guard from Leuzinger High in Lawndale, Calif., has taken official visits to Miami, Wake Forest and San Diego in recent weeks. Arizona State, with new head coach Herb Sendek, has also offered a scholarship. But Westbrook is holding out for UCLA, which may or may not have a scholarship available, depending on whether or not Jordan Farmar goes pro. If Farmar decides to put his name in the draft, and UCLA extends a scholarship offer, look for Westbrook to end up a Bruin. FoxSports 4/14

The spring evaluation period gets underway this week and several top prospects will be competing in the Las Vegas Easter Classic. Kevin Love, Kyle Singler, Brandon Jennings and Darnell Gant are among the elite prospects expected to be in Vegas when action gets underway on Thursday. College coaches are allowed to watch the players beginning on Saturday. Fox Sports 4/14

Lake Oswego's basketball star Kevin Love helped lead his Southern CA All-Star team over the H-Squad in the championship game of the Las Vegas Easter Classic tournament held over the holiday weekend. Love was voted the MVP of the tournament. Bruin Basketball Report 4/16

Bayless was big at the Las Vegas Easter Classic, but he was not alone. Junior point forward Harper Kamp of Mesa Mountain View committed to Cal Thursday and four-star small forward Zane Johnson's (Phoenix Thunderbird) hot shooting continued to turn heads and should garner some big offers. With quality AAU programs developing people earlier and earlier, their will be more and more talent coming out of the Phoenix and the entire state. Tucson Citizen 4/17

KU coaches scouted a pair of AAU Tournaments over the weekend — the Easter Classic in Las Vegas and Real Deal on the Hill in Fayetteville, Ark. The top KU prospect in Vegas was Kyle Singler, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior from South Medford High in Oregon, who plays for Portland’s Elite Legends.’s No. 4 rated player has a list of KU, UCLA, Arizona and Duke. KU Sports 4/17

The team already has verbal commitments from three players and has a prime target for what appears to be the final slot. Arizona would like to add a combo-forward to a class that includes guard Jerryd Bayless, wing Jamelle Horne and center Alex Jacobson. Along with Portland's Kyle Singler, Houston native Gary Johnson is the top choice. Tucson Citizen 4/15

Senior post players James Keefe of Santa Margarita and Alex Stepheson of North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake and junior swingmen Taylor King of Santa Ana Mater Dei and James Harden of Lakewood Artesia were selected to the All-State first team by Harden led Artesia to the Division III state championship and King helped the Monarchs reach the Division II title game. ...Seniors Landry Fields of Los Alamitos, Deon Thompson of Torrance, Tyre Thompson of Compton Centennial and junior Dane Suttle of Westchester were selected to the second team.Brandon Davis of Ontario Colony, Calvin Haynes of Woodland Hills Taft, Jervaughn Johnson of Compton Centennial, Drew Viney of Villa Park and Russell Westbrook of Lawndale Leuzinger were third-team selections. Complete teams, including those picked by divisions and class levels, can be found at L.A. Times 4/12

Five-star forward Anthony Randolph is starting the AAU season strong. The gangly 6-foot-10 junior from Dallas (Texas) Woodrow Wilson High School scored a game high 23 points in a 67-54 win over Louisiana Future....Randolph said he is wide open and holds offers from a number of schools including North Carolina, Memphis, Louisville, Texas, UCLA, USC, Baylor and others, he said. Never one to show any favoritism to any particular school, Randolph maintained his openness to schools. Hickory Husker 4/15

The not-so-raw skills of a high school freshman forward were leaving the camp's directors wanting for more. It wasn't long that news reached University of Arizona men's basketball coach Lute Olson. Olson made a personal visit to watch the young phenom. There has been no question about the level to which Oxnard High's 6-foot-6 forward Omondi Amoke can take his game. By the time his career is over at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season, Amoke could hold Oxnard career records for points and blocked shots as well as ranking No. 2 for rebounds. Statistics don't always make the player or the man. In becoming the driving force for the Yellowjackets' run to the program's seventh Pacific View League championship in the last eight years and appearance in the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A semifinals, Amoke learned that an important element in pursuit of an all-around game is found from within himself. "Coach (Henry) Lobo taught me that it takes more than talent to be a good basketball player," said Amoke. "He taught me how to play with heart. Ventura County Star 4/15

Harper Kamp didn't need an official, red-carpet visit to California to make up his mind that was where he wanted to play college basketball.After working out with some of the Golden Bears during an unofficial visit last weekend, the 6-foot-8 Mesa Mountain View High junior center committed to the Berkeley school. AZ Central 4/14

The U.S. Albert Schweitzer basketball team concluded its preparations for Saturday evening’s tournament opener against Croatia with a 76-75 victory over China on Thursday night...Recipient of Jardine’s passes was his Philadelphia Neumann-Goretti High School teammate Rich Jackson, who scored 16 points. Luke Babbitt of Reno, Nev., added 14 points for the U.S. Stars and Stripes 4/15

Lin is the first CCS player named to the first team since Archbishop Riordan's Marquise Kately in 2001-2002, the first from Santa Clara County since St. Francis' Senque Carey in 1997-98 and the first from Palo Alto since David Weaver in 1992-93. Serra's Decensae White, a senior swingman, was named to the second team and Archbishop Mitty sophomore center Drew Gordon was a third-team choice. Mercury News 4/13

Drew Gordon- The cerebral big man runs the floor, blocks shots and has an old school post up game. In fact, on one play he swept across the lane and sank a one footed sweeping hook shot. He definitely has work to do on his face up game. At this point, he is not much of a threat as a passer or a shooter when facing the basket.Gordon said that Duke, Connecticut, UCLA, California, Kentucky, Washington and Oregon among others are recruiting him. Hickory Husker 4/15