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)
Labels: Recruiting Misc News