Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bruins Done With 2008 Recruiting Class?

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA has compiled arguably the top recruiting class in 2008 with Jrue Holiday, Jerime Anderson, Malcolm Lee, and Drew Gordon, all top 50 nationally ranked players, verbally committed to the program.

With four elite recruits already coming to Westwood in 2008, should we expect to welcome a fifth? 

Considering the Bruins may lack some depth along the front line in 2008, its a definite possibility.

Incoming freshman big man Kevin Love is already touted as a potential lottery pick.  With center Lorenzo Mata graduating after next season, an early departure by Love would leave just Alfred Aboya (6'7) , James Keefe (6'8), and freshman Drew Gordon (6'9) as the only true post players in 2008.

As a result, its not surprising to learn the Bruin staff is looking closely at a number of available 2008 post players including: J'Mison Morgan (6'10, 265lb), Ralph Sampson (6'11, 235lb), and John Brandenburg (6'11, 225).

Whether UCLA will pursue an early verbal commitment from one of these players or perhaps take a chance on a late signing in spring (ala Russell Westbrook) depends on their comfort level in taking on a fifth recruit when they only have four certain scholarships available at the moment.

Currently UCLA has three available scholarships in 2008 as a result of early departures by Arron Afflalo (NBA) and Ryan Wright (transfer to Oklahoma) this last summer and the graduation of Lorenzo Mata. The fourth scholarship for 2008 will almost certainly come from the early departure of point guard Darren Collison who flirted with the idea of entering the NBA draft after last season.   Collison is already projected to be a lottery pick in next year's draft.

Where might the fifth scholarship come from?

Despite the fervent wishes of Bruin faithful, the scholarship may come from freshman Kevin Love.  He has
repeatedly stated he'd like to play at least two years in college, but
if the 6'10 post player dominates at this level as expected and the Bruins make a
strong run in the tourney, Love's mind set may change by season's end.

UCLA could also gain another scholarship through a transfer by a current player.  With the recent success of the basketball program, UCLA is once again attracting the interest of the nation's most elite players, subsequently, competition for playing time on Nell and John Wooden's Court has become more intense and some players may consider transferring elsewhere rather than riding the Bruin bench all season.

Another possibility is the early departure of forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.  The forward from Cameroon announced earlier this summer he had also considered making himself available for the NBA draft.  Although he did not have the type of sophomore year some had expected, Mbah a Moute still possesses the type of athleticism and tenacity to play in the professional ranks.  If he can develop a consistent midrange jump shot as a junior, he may be a candidate to leave early for the NBA next season.  Mbah a Moute will have plenty of opportunities to develop his perimeter game as he is slated to play major minutes at the wing next season.

The UCLA coaching staff has some tough recruiting decision to make, yet its the type of problem top schools regularly face each year.  And after four years into the Ben Howland-era, which includes  back-to-back Final Fours, the UCLA basketball program has undoubtedly regained its elite status.

(photo credit: AP)


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (7/23)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Can you imagine how quickly a baseball would get into a strike zone when delivered by a 6-foot-10, 260-pound right-handed pitcher?
Fortunately for the opponents of the baseball team at Oregon s Lake Oswego High, Kevin Love decided that basketball was his sport of choice before he enrolled in high school.
So, instead of rattling opponents with a sizzling heater or a wicked curve he s doing so with forceful rebounding, potent lowpost moves, stunning 3-point shooting accuracy and the kind of outlet passing that seems to have been borrowed from another generation. Whittier Daily News 7/15

Several major events in the July recruiting binge have wrapped up
recently. At the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic in Cincinnati, the
Pump-N-Run Elite won the title on July 8 behind the stellar play of
UCLA-bound guards Jrue Holiday and Jerime Anderson, ranked No. 7 and
16, respectively, by Prep Stars in the Class of 2008. Lafayette Observer 7/17

Jrue Holiday put on a show Wednesday, scoring 45
points for host Campbell Hall High of North Hollywood in a 93-80
summer-league basketball loss to national power Mater Dei of Santa Ana,
the reigning CIF State Div. I champion and winner of 19 Southern
Section titles over the past 25 years. The 6-foot-4 returning senior scored 25 points in the first
half, then went scoreless for eight minutes after intermission before
coming on strong at the end. LA Daily News 7/18

With the second annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic powered by RISE Magazine just more than a month away, the game's first 16 players have been selected.
This year's game will take place Aug. 24 at legendary Rucker Park in New York....Jrue Holiday, Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.)
A UCLA-bound senior combo guard who's one of the best scorers in the country.... Drew Gordon, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
UCLA has another great one coming in Gordon, who can dominate a game defensively. RISE Magazine 7/19

Kevin Love loves to play inside the paint and bang hard, and he puts up big stats doing it. His wingspan allows him to do 7 footer type things. He has a lot of toughness, passion, and is very competitive. He plays well against other talented big men on offense and defense. He does a good job of creating his own shots. Kevin loves to use his strength and quickness to dominate the boards. He has great court vision and wonderful passing abilities. Kevin shows great footwork and has great leaping abilities. He is a good athlete, is developing consistent range on his shot, and possibly hasn’t reached his peak physically yet.  Hoops Vibe 7/20

In the No. 2 spot, Jrue Holiday has separated himself as the top perimeter prospect in the 2008 class. A true combo guard, Holiday has as polished an all-around game as you will find in a high school guard. And when looking at modern-day NBA point guards, Holiday fits perfectly into that mold. Rivals 7/20

Video of Jerime Anderson: "Jerime Anderson Dunk". YouTube 7/23


Jordan Hamilton, who transferred from Dorsey after earning All-L.A. City honors last season, put on an "you've-got-to-be-kidding-me" jump shooting exhibition for the White squad that beat Jennings' and DeRozan's Black team, 132-111.
He's got the kind of shooting range - three of his 3s were from 25 feet and beyond - that Reggie Miller and Tracy Murray possessed as preps at Riverside Poly and Glendora, respectively. Press Telegram 7/16

Ralph Sampson Jr
. is now squarely in the Bears sights. With his DNA a lot of schools have taken a long look, but until recently none of the high majors have expressed strong interest. The label on Sampson has been that he's "soft" but in recent weeks he has shown a willingness to mix it up down low and his stock is rising. He will visit Cal this summer. Bear Insider 7/17

Standing at 6-foot-11, Urban DFW Elite's J'Mison Morgan has a point-guard's mentality despite his big man's frame.
"I've been getting a lot of triple and double teams all summer, so I'm mainly just passing," said Morgan, a Kansas University recruiting target who participated last weekend in the Honda Classic at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee.
Morgan, who will be a senior at South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas -- the same school KU's Darrell Arthur attended -- still was able to produce nine points, thanks to a 5-for-6 performance from the free-throw line, to go with six rebounds in a 73-52 victory over the Champion Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon. Basehor Sentinel 7/18

Jared Cunningham
has two years left at San Leandro High, hasn't finishing growing and, obviously, has basketball skills that are still maturing.
Cunningham's favorite movie is "He Got Game," and it seems college recruiters believe Cunningham can someday wear that label.
"A lot of colleges have been picking up on me and are interested," Cunningham said. "I'm just grateful. I like to see the letters come to the house. I like hearing from college coaches. It's still fun."
New Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating, who followed Cunningham's development while Keating was an assistant at UCLA, reportedly has offered a scholarship. Inside Bay Area 7/19

Ralph Sampson
, the 6-foot-11 220-pound post from Duluth, GA Northview, he told us his early leaders are Minnesota, Georgia Tech and Georgia, but we expect the list to grow. CSTV 7/19

As usual, Jordan Hamilton was knocking down three-pointer after three-pointer. The five-star class of 2009 prospect had four of them and finished with 23 points in the win over D.C. Assault. Hamilton said his list consists of Texas, Syracuse, Connecticut, Washington, NC State and Arizona. All but Syracuse has offered, he said.
Hamilton said he will visit Texas in August. Don't expect a decision from him in a while. The Los Angeles native said he will decide when he is a senior. Gator Bait 7/20

Video of Reeves Nelson (Thanks to reader Dave) "Modesto Christian vs. Woodside Priory Basketball". YouTube 7/23

(photo credit: LA Times)