Wednesday, November 14, 2007

UCLA Signs Nation's Top Recruiting Class to Letters of Intent

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland announced today high school senior standouts Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon, Jrue Holiday, and Malcolm Lee have all signed and returned their national letters of intent to play basketball in Westwood next season.

All four players are ranked in the top 50 of their basketball class, as a result, many scouts consider the Bruin's 2008 class as the best in the nation.

"I'm a happy guy because I think we have a great recruiting class," Howland said. "Not only in terms of their abilities but also because all of them are great kids from great families."

Jerime Anderson is a 6'1 point guard from Canyon High School in Anaheim.  Howland views Anderson as another one in the line of excellent point-guards he has recruited to UCLA.

"He is an outstanding true point who is very athletic, an outstanding defender, and is extremely bright," Howland said. "He really showed huge improvement in his game from the summer going into his junior year to the summer going to his senior year."

"In my opinion, he is one of the best guards in the country that I saw all summer long," the coach said of the incoming point-guard. "He has a great mentality and is very outgoing with natural leadership qualities."

Drew Gordon, a 6'9 235lb player from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, is the lone post man in the Bruin's 2008 class. 

"He is an outstanding athlete with great physical ability." Howland said.  "He can be one of the best rebounders we've ever recruited here."

Howland envisions Gordon as a power forward at UCLA who can guard the center position when needed.

"He has huge upside and potential." Howland said. "Drew has good low post scoring ability and he'll compete for playing time right away as a freshman." 

Jrue Holiday, a 6'3 combo guard out of Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood, is the highest ranked of all four players going to UCLA next season.  Like Kevin Love, Holiday is the top ranked West coast prep player in his recruiting class.

"Jrue is as athletic as anybody we've recruited since Ive been at UCLA and as good an athlete as anybody in the country." Howland said.  "He's very strong, a quick jumper, and an outstanding ballhandler."

Howland likes Holiday's ability to play multi-positions and says he can guard the one, two, and three spots on the floor.

"What sets Jrue apart from other players is he is unbelievably competitive." the UCLA coach said. He has great competitive drive and he's going to be a special player." 

Ultra-quick Malcom Lee, a 6'4 player from John W. North High School in Riverside, is another young player Howland envisions as playing multi-positions at UCLA.

"Malcom is multi-talented, a long athlete who is very skilled."  Howland said. "I've already threatened him that I'm going to pull him out of games if he doesn't shoot more once he gets to UCLA because he's such a good shooter and sometimes I think he passes up good shots."   

"He could really become a lock-down defender, he has extremely quick feet,"  Howland said. "He's got loads of ability and potential, and he's 6'4 and probably still growing."

"Malcolm is a very a good passer as are all three of these guards.  We'll end up playing those three guards together at times as they mature," Howland said. "The ability to pass the ball well is indicative of the IQ of a player's game."

On whether the team has finished signing recruits from the 2008 class, Howland said,  "We have four signed, but never say never. But unless a real great player comes along, I would say yes, this class is complete."

When asked to compare this recruiting class with his previous ones at UCLA, Howland said. "I've been pretty pleased with our past classes.  Ultimately, the classes are judged once they get here and how they perform when they're here. But definitely when you look on paper, I'm very confident all four of these guys are going to be great players and will contribute immediately."

(photo credit: SF Chronicle, LAT, OC Register)




At Nov 14, 2007, 12:05:00 PM, Anonymous JonW said...

Awesome. This is just another in the line of great recruiting classes.
Jordan, AA, Josh, LoMata = awesome
DC, AA2,Luc, Roll = awesome
Westbrook, Keefe = jury's out if it matches prev ones.
Love, Stanback = #1 HS guy and playing like a pro already
2008 class? = sky's the limit

At Nov 14, 2007, 1:59:00 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Thanks for the continuous great reports KS! Jrue Holiday is not the best West Coast guard, he's the best recruit in the entire nation! Hey KS, I'm not a season ticket but do you have any advice or recommendations on where to find quality seats at reasonable prices? Have you considered allowing ticket sales on this site or linking to ticket agents who may donate to funds to the site? I've used Ebay a few times but the seats are mostly upper level 300 sections. Thanks

At Nov 14, 2007, 6:33:00 PM, Anonymous ask said...

Try craigslist and bruins ticket exchange.

At Nov 14, 2007, 7:55:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Check the left-hand side bar of this site near the top under "UCLA Ticket Central", there are a few links to UCLA ticket sources including one to the UCLA Athletic Ticket Exchange.

At Nov 14, 2007, 10:55:00 PM, Anonymous Scott said...


At Nov 15, 2007, 5:05:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Howland = modern day Wooden.
Title run starts this year.
Will he get 5, 6 or 7 this next decade???
One word.....DYNASTY...
Enjoy it Bruin Fans...I'm at every game even when they play Cal State San Bernadino...that was for the die hards...

At Nov 16, 2007, 4:49:00 AM, Anonymous baregunner said...

BruinFan I love how you think! I agree that Coach Howland is probably the closest thing this university could have ever got to emulate the Wizard himself. When you read about Ben and his deep admiration for Coach Wooden and the UCLA program, you really would expect if he got cut he'd bleed baby-blue and gold. Now if we could just find a "Howland" type for the football program... Heard we lost a high-rated football prospect for next year because he saw how lousy our pigskin program is doing. Consistenly finishing around .500 is not cutting it!

At Nov 17, 2007, 2:30:00 AM, Anonymous EdBruin said...

Thanks be to Howland. This is a man who coaches, inspires, demands nothing but 100%, recognizes and uses his available talent appropriately, recruits successfully...what else is there to say? I have a very good feeling about the next few years. I would not be surprised to see a couple of new banners hanging in Pauley over the next 5 years.

At Nov 18, 2007, 2:35:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Special shoutout to Baregunner and EdBruin....
BBR, I wanna throw a UCLA basketball Fan Party...I know you probably sit on the bench and repeatedly ignore my requests...but let's grab a pitcher at Sepi's...
I have a new UCLA web-ste...let's talk....u have my email...I can grow this site exponentially....

At Nov 19, 2007, 7:06:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

BBR is not affiliated with the UCLA basketball program nor is associated with their athletic department.
But really, thanks for your support of the BBR website. The readership has grown dramatically since the site's inception due to loyal readers such as yourself.
Please check your inbox.


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