Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Chace Stanback Verbally Commits to UCLA

By Bruin Basketball Report

According to multiple college basketball recruiting services, Chace Stanback, a 6'8 junior wingman from nearby Fairfax HS, verbally committed to the UCLA over the weekend.

Stanback, a four-star recruit, is one of the top junior basketball players in California, and was named to the All-State second team for juniors by CalHiSports this season. He is ranked by various basketball recruiting services between the 12th to 15th top-rated small forward nationally in the class of 2007.

The junior standout is still growing into his body, having grown almost three inches over the past 18 months. He will only continue to get better and stronger during the upcoming season - playing for Fairfax Head Coach Harvey Kitani and his elite Lion team ensures this will happen.

During his sophomore year at Fairfax, Stanback exhibited a strong, silky smooth mid-range game but lacked the strength and aggressiveness to be a complete basketball player on both ends of the court. However over this past season, he has improved his strength and quickness and not only has increased his shooting range, but has become a much better defender and rebounder - both important traits for a Coach Ben Howland top recruit.

He helped lead Fairfax (24-3) this season to a No. 12 national ranking and a No.2 City ranking. Fairfax reached the semifinals of the City Sectionals before losing to Westchester.

Stanback averaged 18.7 points a game this season and grabbed a team-high 9.9 rebounds a game. As a sophomore, he averaged 13.4 points a game for Fairfax.

Although Stanback was recruited to play both the off-guard and small forward positions at UCLA, where he actually ends up playing when he arrives in Westwood will be dependent on his physical maturation and basketball skills development over the next year. However, considering he is already 6'8 and still filling out, it would appear he is slotted for the small forward position.

With the verbal commitment by Stanback, Howland keeps yet another local elite player in town. Next season, top 2006 local recruits James Keefe and Russell Westbrook will join the Bruin squad.

At this time, the Bruins have twelve underclassmen under scholarship for the 2006 season - the school is allowed thirteen in a season. Chace Stanback's commitment means he would hold the thirteenth scholarship in 2007.

Of course, if either Jordan Farmar or Arron Afflalo leaves for the NBA either this season or next - which appears almost certain at this point, it would open up scholarships for additional 2007 players, specifically Lake Oswego's Kevin Love, South Medford's Kyle Singler, or Crenshaw's Darnell Gant.

Lastly, Marko Spica, a 2006 class recruit from Serbia Montenegro, still has not received a qualifying SAT score for admission to attend UCLA next fall, and thus, his scholarship spot for next season is still in question. Spica has until the end of this school year to gain admission to attend UCLA next fall.


(photo credit: Steve Clark, THR)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (4/24)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup published periodically during the offseason.


Sun Devils basketball coach Herb Sendek quickly began his most important task at ASU — recruiting. He got a visit last week from Los Angeles Leuzinger High School guard Russell Westbrook. As soon as Sendek offered Russell a scholarship, so did UCLA's Ben Howland. Westbrook signed with the Bruins on Thursday. I cannot recall Rob Evans getting that kind of reaction. Arizona Daily Star 4/23

According to Rivals and Scout, Fairfax HS in Los Angeles junior small forward Chace Stanback (6'8, 180) verbally committed over the weekend to play at UCLA. Stanback, a four-star recruit, has an excellent mid-range game and has improved his defense over this last season. He becomes the first player to commit to the Bruins from the class of 2007. More information to come on Bruin Basketball Report 4/24


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." Bruin Basketball Report 4/18

Center Kevin Love (who is currently a junior at Lake Oswego in Oregon) helped the SoCal team overwhelm some pretty good opposition and he will be doing some overwhelming himself during his freshman (and, likely, only) season on the college level. He can have every bit the impact that Greg Oden will have for the Ohio State Buckeyes next season.Where will he play in college? He lists Duke, North Carolina and UCLA as his final three choices. But it was hard finding anyone in Las Vegas who doesn’t think he’ll eventual suit up for the Bruins. “We’re going to playing against that guy in two seasons,” a Pac 10 head coach said Saturday night, shaking his head while watching Love demonstrate more low-post polish than many NBA centers and throwing outlet passes that would have made the two greatest ever at it, Bill Walton and Wes Unseld, proud. WildcatsInsider 4/20

Rivals.com basketball analyst Jerry Meyer breaks down some of the top talent showing up at the Kingwood Classic including Kevin Love (Lake Oswego, Ore.), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Jerryd Bayless (Phoenix) and Jai Lucas (Houston). Kingwood Classic loaded again (video) BlueDemonsNation 4/18

Last year's champions are back. The Portland Legends will try to defend the 2005 title but one of the top players from last year's championship team won't be suiting up for the Legends. Kevin Love switched teams and now plays for the loaded SoCal All-Stars team. His absence puts the pressure on another five-star prospect, Kyle Singler. Singler did not play at the Boo Williams Invitational with the Legends but did last weekend in Las Vegas. The elite high-major wing forward will have his work cut out for him this year. IrishIllustrated 4/20

Kingwood Classic gets underway on Friday night and goes through Sunday. We’ll get our first look at Portland Legends forward Kyle Singler – as well as his former running mate, big man Kevin Love, who is playing with the Southern Cal All-Stars. WildcatsInsider 4/20

Kingwood Classic Day 1: The Kingwood Classic is officially off and running. Here are some player breakdowns from the first night of action. Leading the way as one of the top performers of the night is 2008 point guard Brandon Jennings. Kevin Love still pinpoint length of the court outlet passes... Rivals 4/21

Kingwood Classic Day 2: While Ben Howland and Roy Williams watched Kevin Love play an afternoon game in the Kingwood headquarters main gym, Coach K watched Kyle Singler in an adjacent gym. Jim Calhoun was also in attendance at the SoCal All Stars' game watching Brandon Jennings. Rivals 4/22

Kingwood Classic Championship: SoCal All-Stars crowned kings of the KingwoodThe Westfield High School gym was packed from start to finish at this year's Kingwood and for those that stuck around for the championship game were treated to a vintage performance by Kevin Love, Taylor King, Brandon Jennings and the rest of the SoCal All-Stars in a 66-58 win over the SYF Players (Ind.).Love finished with a team high 21 points. With a long weekend of games under his legs already, the Lake Oswego, Ore., native was extra nimble and quick off the floor for dunks in traffic as he cut down the baseline. Love can do some damage with the ball on his hands as he attacked the lane and had little trouble finishing around the cup.Love's passing skills were at an all-time high, finding guys in traffic for easy scores at the basket. The five-star big man would thread a needle to a cutting King or Jennings and got the ball only in the spot where his teammates could catch it and score in one quick motion."He is un-be-lievable," King said. "Just unbelievable."King was oftentimes the beneficiary of Love's passes, scoring 17 points in the win. ...Depth is the key to winning the Kingwood Classic. In order to win the marathon tournament, teams have to play four games by 4 o'clock in the afternoon. SCA has the luxury of depth but the team's star power isn't too shabby either. "When you have guys like Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings, Daniel Hackett, Malik Story, Butter (Darrington Hobson), you know your job is going to be a lot easier," King said. Jennings is a jet with the ball and he was wowing the crowd with his quick cross-over dribble to free himself from his defender and getting to the lane and dishing off to the numerous high-major prospects around him. Jennings said he is just feeding off the energy of Love."Playing with Kevin is a whole lot of fun," Jennings said. "He just makes it fun. Do you see the things he is doing out there? Oh my god, he's good." Hickory Husker 4/24

Kyle Singler, Portland Legends – The five-star forward from South Medford (Ore.) High School looks bigger than he did last go round on the AAU circuit both in height and muscle mass. He's using his size well around the basket, playing tougher in the post and getting good position on the blocks. Singler is rounding out his game and is one of the most versatile players in the class a la Thaddeus Young of the 2006 class. Coach K, Ben Howland and Lute Olsen all kept a close eye on him on Sunday morning. Hickory Husker 4/24

Battle Rages for the Soles of a Young Star: In addition to Mayo, the current juniors Michael Beasley, a 6-8 power forward, and Kevin Love, a 6-10 power forward, will encounter a new N.B.A. rule that requires players to be 19 years old and one year out of high school to be able to sign an N.B.A. contract or be eligible for the draft.Earlier this month, however, the N.B.A. Development League reduced its minimum age requirement to 18 years, effective with the 2006-7 season, perhaps giving the group another option besides college. When asked Sunday if he planned to go to college, Mayo said, "I don't know." NY Times 4/24

Isaiah Thomas stood at a makeshift podium in the Curtis High gymnasium as if he was reading a book report in his English class. Except this was much more consequential – Thomas, the Vikings’ all-state point guard was announcing his decision where to play college basketball. He did just that Thursday afternoon, choosing the University of Washington, and marking coach Lorenzo Romar’s first oral commitment for the 2006-07 recruiting class. News Tribune 4/23

Already, Luke Babbitt, Galena High's junior star basketball player, is receiving recruiting interest from all over the nation. Nevada is in the mix as well, but whether he'll consider the Wolf Pack or want to take his game somewhere else remains to be seen.But the difference, as basketball coach Mark Fox sees it, is that at least Babbitt knows Nevada exists now. Three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament have seen to that."Kids will answer our calls now and recognize who we are," Fox said. "Three years ago, they wouldn't take our calls." Reno-Gazette Journal 4/17

Rich Jackson of Philadelphia and Luke Babbitt of Reno, Nev., each achieved double-doubles in three quarters to spark the Americans to a 69-48 lead after three. Jackson finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds after a dominating performance in the paint, and Babbitt had 17 points and 11 rebounds, including 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range...Babbitt, who joins Jackson and Anthony Stewart of Jacksonville, Fla., as the U.S. starting front line, said the U.S. will benefit from the scare down the road. “In the fourth quarter, we let our guard down,” he said. “The experience will make us better.” Stars and Stripes 4/19