Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (5/26)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Jrue Holiday, combo guard, UCLA: Holiday simply does anything and everything his team needs for victory. Rarely does a glue-guy rank as an elite prospect, but Holiday fits the bill here. He plays great pressure defense and rebounds the ball very well for a guard, all traits that will make him a great fit with UCLA coach Ben Howland's tough brand of basketball. ESPN 5/19

Jrue Holiday is No. 4 and probably the most difficult kid to draw a correlation with from the ’05 group. We shoehorned him into a Martell Webster comparison because of his size and offensive game but we think Holiday should be at least a Webster clone in terms of his long-term success. WeAreDePaul 5/19

UCLA's bear of a class best of recruiting bunch: The Bruins have signed papers from four Top 50 prospects, including future pro Jrue Holiday. That alone was probably good enough to secure the top spot. But UCLA clinched the honor when J'Mison Morgan got his release from LSU and committed to UCLA last week to give Ben Howland a five-player class that when grouped with Darren Collison (and perhaps Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) seems good enough to lead the Bruins to their fourth straight Final Four. Sportsline 5/19

J'Mison Morgan, a 6-foot-11 center rated the fourth-best at his position in high school this season, announced at a news conference Friday that he will attend UCLA next season. Morgan had signed a letter of intent with Louisiana State in November but asked to be released from the letter after LSU fired Coach John Brady and hired former Stanford coach Trent Johnson. UCLA had originally been Morgan's second choice, and his mother, Bianca, said her son wanted to reconsider UCLA after Brady was fired. "We signed to play with Coach Brady," she said. "Then he wasn't there. What UCLA has to offer with academics and basketball seemed like the best fit for J'Mison." LA Times 5/24

The UCLA coaching staff pursued J'mison Morgan aggressively through back channels once it became clear that he might be available because the Bruins needed a big man to help offset the near-certain loss of freshman Kevin Love to the NBA. The coaching staff also got a big assist from incoming recruit Malcolm Lee, of Riverside North, who developed a rapport with Morgan during AAU camps and repeatedly called the big man the past few months in hopes of persuading him to come to UCLA. "Malcolm kept saying, 'You've got to come down here with me. I need a big man,' " Morgan said. "I was really comfortable with Malcolm, so that made a big difference." Press Enterprise 5/24

Hours before Kevin Love said for the first time he was signing with an agent and withdrawing from classes at UCLA, J'mison Morgan, the nation's top unsigned prep senior center, pledged his commitment to the Bruins. Both occurrences were expected, but Morgan publicly acknowledging he will attend UCLA softens the blow of losing Love after one season, and vaults the Bruins' 2008 recruiting class to the undisputed best in the nation. After a workout at the Home Depot Center in preparation for the June 26 NBA draft, Love said he would sign with Los Angeles-based agent Jeff Schwartz as early as Tuesday, thus ending any chance of returning for a second season. Love, an all-American and the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year in his only season, added he is no longer attending classes. "I have to actually sign the papers to get out of school because I have a few (endorsements) on the table where I can actually start making money," Love said. "When am I signing with an agent? As early as Tuesday. It's just getting all the paperwork together. I'm going with Jeff Schwartz. He has Jerryd Bayless already, and Paul Pierce." LA Daily News 5/24


F Renardo Sidney (Los Angeles; LA Dream Team; Rivals #4): Standing at 6-10 and 230 pounds, the rising senior from Fairfax HS can dominate a game due to his size alone. But don’t let that fool you; the young man is skilled, with the ability to make his way to the basket when guarded by one defender or find the open man when doubled. On the other end of the floor, it’s extremely tough to score on him straight up and he does a good job of helping weak side. The issue with Sidney: sometimes the game can become so easy that he loses focus. As long as he focuses solely on dominating the game from start to finish, he’ll remain atop the ranking for his class. He’s got a broad list of schools to choose from right now, dominated by Pac-10 schools. 5/19

G Avery Bradley (Tacoma, WA; Northwest Panthers; Rivals # 17)
Along with Abdul Gaddy, Bradley (6-3, 175) helped form one of the tougher backcourt tandems in the event. Of the seven games he played, the combo guard went for at least twenty in six of those contests and scored thirty or more in consecutive games. Suffice it to say, when Bradley decides that he’s going to score then you may as well mark the points down in the scorebook. Three of the four Pac-10 Northwest schools have offered Bradley (not Washington), with conference foes Arizona, Cal and USC following suit. The list right now is a long one, so it’s anyone’s guess where he could end up. 5/19

G Nolan Dennis (North Richland Hills, TX; Dallas Mustangs; Rivals # 36)
Yet another spectacular guard who was on display this past weekend, Dennis (6-5, 185) would best be described as a combo guard at this point in time. He can fill it up from just about anywhere on the floor, although he did struggle from behind the arc in the Mustangs’ four games. Also good at finding the open man, Dennis displayed himself as a player equally comfortable on or off of the ball on offense. And when the ball’s in his possession, you may as well forget about taking it from Nolan; his handle is that good. He’s already received offers from a number of schools, most notably Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA. 5/19

Greg Smith, The Bee's Player of the Year and a national recruit as a junior, has transferred from Edison High to Bethel-Vallejo. Tigers coach Arturo Ormond said the 6-foot-9, 240-pounder left two weeks ago. "It wasn't an academic issue, it wasn't a basketball issue, it's a family issue," Ormond said. "And when it involves family, you really don't have any options. I don't think it was anything he had any control over." But Ormond said he isn't convinced the move will be permanent at a northeast Bay Area school and Sac-Joaquin Section affiliate that went 1-26 last year, according to Fresno Bee 5/19's top 100 prospects from Class of 2009: Renardo Sidney and Lance Stephenson both have the ability to sprint pass everyone and take the No. 1 slot. If Sidney's desire for greatness can rival his considerable talent, this race would be on. Fox Sports 5/20

The University of Arizona has granted men's basketball signee Emmanuel Negedu a release from his letter of intent. UA issued a statement of the release Tuesday morning. On Sunday, Negedu said he wanted out of it, after visiting with UA head coach Lute Olson in the Boston area. He had been thinking about the decision for some time, perhaps the last three months after visiting UA during the latter part of the regular season. Negedu, who signed in November and was recruited by former UA assistant Josh Pastner and Lute Olson, said the number of coaching changes and Olson's unexplained absence gave him doubts about the program. Olson has a completely new assistant coaching staff. Tucson Citizen 5/20

Avery Bradley: A great scorer, Bradley strictly is a shooting guard. He has long arms and is a strong and quick leaper. Not only is Bradley an excellent mid-range shooter, he has an uncanny ability of making that difficult 5- to 12-foot shot. Like Boynton, his strength is his pull-up jumper off nifty ballhandling, but Bradley also can attack the rim. Bradley is a good 3-point shooter, but he doesn't have the same range as Boynton. Defensively, Bradley is a special player. He can dominate ballhandlers and is a multi-positional defender with superb lateral quickness and a long wing span. Rivals 5/23

Xavier Henry - The No. 2 ranked prospect in the Rivals150 impressed Saturday morning with his relentless attacking of the basket off the dribble. His handle was tight and his impressive physique is tough to deal with when barreling to the basket. Rivals 5/25

Nolan Dennis, a 6-5 point guard from North Richland Hills, Texas, said North Carolina coach Roy Williams and assistant coach Steve Robinson have recruited him hard. "That's been on of my favorite colleges," Dennis said of North Carolina after playing at the Smith Center. It was his first visit to Chapel Hill. Times News 5/24

(photo credit: Press Enterprise)



At May 26, 2008, 3:11:00 PM, Anonymous DB said...

We need a small forward for the 09 class as it is now our weakest position i believe.

At May 26, 2008, 3:58:00 PM, Anonymous LN23 said...

I can't wait to see who we recruit in '09. Howland will have a lot of scholarships open because of guys graduating so he won't have to wait for guys to transfer or go to the nba. So who's the next one to sign??? I know DaShonte Riley committed to Georgetown. I hope it's Nolan Dennis!

At May 26, 2008, 4:35:00 PM, Anonymous JH said...

If Kevin Love withdraws from classes, what position does this leave Ucla in with scholarships? Where does Ucla stand in the APR formula?

At May 26, 2008, 5:02:00 PM, Anonymous Grrr said...

Jeez, this was an awesome read. I don't even want to discuss what we need in 2009 since that would sound greedy.
A new Fab Five is now out West and I can't wait to see what these men can do next season. It's almost unfair but I do hope Bruin fans realize there are other programs out there with just as great talent. Another Final Four is possible, but I won't be disappointed if UCLA doesn't get the big one. Hopefully, luck is on UCLA's side this year.

At May 27, 2008, 2:47:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

I cannot get greedy after signing these five in '08
Grrr, I agree. Let's leave it up to Coach BH.
Getcha season tix...

At May 27, 2008, 6:30:00 AM, Anonymous george said...

Grrr, I don't know enough about other programs so I can't agree or disagree about other programs having as much talent. One thing they don't have, however, is Howland. The "fab five" or whatever we want to call them will soon learn that BH does not rely on luck. He demands hard work and commitment so let's hope the five are not only talented but also have broad shoulders and 28 hours in a day.

At May 27, 2008, 6:51:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

BBR, If we add Stephenson, what happens? Do we have to make room for him or are we at 12 scholarships now?
There are going to be a lot of great practices next year at Pauley....our second team is STRONG....
George, do you have season tickets?

At May 27, 2008, 7:48:00 AM, Anonymous Bee said...

My entry:
"The Fantastic Five"
(I also like Super Cinco.)

At May 27, 2008, 8:00:00 AM, Anonymous george said...

The practices could be more competitive than some of the Pac 10 games themselves next year! It would be nice to have season tickets to the practices! But, yes, I do have season tickets and go to all the games. My kids and I did not miss one this year. (Even with gas prices!)

At May 27, 2008, 10:19:00 AM, Anonymous alan said...

hmmm... Furious Five, The Fantastic Five, and Super Cinco are all good.
I also like the good vibes going around these comments lately :D
Why not be greedy? Let's hope for another big center in '09, since Aboya/A Moute will certainly be gone, and a small forward like DB said. Hopefully a small forward that's lean and mean, unlike Shipp :D

At May 27, 2008, 4:07:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

hmmm....THE GLOVE...(I know Gary Payton has this one but he is an ex Pro) These 5 college guys/sensational frosh class could use it:
What does a glove consist of and need?
5 parts (fingers)...part of a greater whole (hand)...
Players who work together and get after fingers grabbing, clawing and swiping the ball on defense...
It is short and sweet - one syllable, two words...
Represents togetherness, cohesiveness (same word), teamwork...willing to sacrifice for the good of the team....
A glove only goes to the class with "The Top Rated Talent"...
Now what does THE G.L.O.V.E. stand for???
I'll leave that to you guys....if u want to use it as an acronym....
When "The Glove" plays together in the Exhibition games, they will bring it!!
P.S. It is not a Michael Jackson glove...
Any votes?

At May 27, 2008, 4:47:00 PM, Anonymous jake said...

Chickens uncounted at this point.
I'm just looking forward to a deeper squad - remember how difficult it was to even practice last year because of the early injuries. Took them awhile to even install their inbound plays much less play competitive five on five.
I certainly like the direction the program is going and definitely curious to see what blue chippers from the 2009 class accept scholarships.
Should be a fun ride.

At May 28, 2008, 12:32:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Stepheson will likely have to sit out a year if he transfers to UCLA.
On the other hand, with both Love and Westbrook likely to remain in the draft, the Bruins will still have one scholarship open for the 08-09 season.

At May 28, 2008, 4:42:00 AM, Anonymous Big Woof! said...

Some good responses on the name for the class are coming in: I like Furious Five and Fantastic Five (although it could sound a little too much like stolen from a movie or comic book title. Super Cinco is good, but what about Scintillating Cinco? Plus, if it turns out we get Stephenson, both Super and Scintillating also go well with Six, although Slick Six has a good sound, too.
We should try to come up with a name most of us agree on, and then communicate it to the press so they can start using it.

At May 28, 2008, 4:49:00 AM, Anonymous Big Woof! said...

Some good responses are coming in on the moniker for the class. I like Furious Five and Fantastic Five (although the latter could be seen as not original due to the comic books and movies.) I also like Super Cinco pretty well, but how about "Scintillating Cinco?" Either of those goes well with "Six" if we add Stephenson, although Slick Six also has a ring to it.

At May 28, 2008, 6:04:00 AM, Anonymous george said...

While it is easy to get carried away regarding the talent of the incoming freshmne, let's keep in mind the talent and COMMITMENT and HARD WORK of the core that brought us here and will be back to form the backbone of the team. Collison, Shipp, Luc and Alfred have spilt their sweat (and some their blood)on the Pauley floor. Keefe and Roll have worked through injuries and demonstrated their commitment to the team by being willing to play whatever role BH has asked be it to redshirt or not to redshirt. The talent of the incoming "furious five" or whatever we want to call them is unquestioned. Let's hope their drive, work ethic and commitment to team rivals that of their predecessors.

At May 28, 2008, 7:37:00 AM, Anonymous Big Woof! said...

I agree totally with your comments. I think, however, that it is almost a foregone fact that these players will put forth all the effort necessary. I don't think Coach Howland even tries to recruit players that he feels will not fit into his idea of team play and commitment. This is why I've never considered Renardo Sidney, for example, as even a possibility to be a Bruin recruit. Nor would some of the other "big time names" that are bandied about each year. Of course, there's always the chance that some kid will not do what is expected, but especially now that many more kids are interested in coming to UCLA to play for Coach Ben, the likelihood of getting a player who does not put out that effort will become smaller and smaller.

At May 28, 2008, 11:51:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

I like the "furious five". I also think the college basketball season is way too short. Do you realize the World Series will be over, and the NBA will have already started its next season by the time we get to see real team basketball again?

At May 28, 2008, 4:17:00 PM, Anonymous anpedia said...

our team looks great next season... we will be intimidating next season with Morgan and Gordon playing tough defense inside the paint... even though defense has always been the bread-and-butter of Coach BenH system, i think Coach BenH will start to focus more on offense next season... Collison will learn to move around faster and pass the ball more... there will be more assists from our guards... Jrue Holiday will be the play maker... we need a true pass-first guard like Steve Nash and Chris Paul, and i think one of our three freshmen guards can be one... my real hope is that Shipp spends time in the off-season practicing his shots... we need him to shoot better and be aggressive on defense. overall, i'm really excited about next season. go Bruins!

At May 28, 2008, 5:43:00 PM, Anonymous jake said...

Good luck naming the new recruits - I'm not really into that. I'm just looking forward to another year of Howland ball. Looks like the talent level has increased somewhat since the last big haul of talent (2004). Can't wait to see the adjustments perhaps to a more up-tempo style on both ends of the floor. Good times here. Let's just keep it healthy.

At May 29, 2008, 2:13:00 AM, Anonymous bruin66 said...

You nailed it, Jake. There's only one Coach Howland, and we've got him.

At May 29, 2008, 3:01:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Every time I click on this page, I salivate. I cannot wait until next season. I've listed the starting lineup before. I have also posted the next 5. Let's just salivate some more:
1) DC - All American Guard (nuff said)
-take us to the promised land....
2) Holiday - #2 guard in the USA coming in...
3) MbAh - will have a gr8 season, glad u gave up soccer
4) Aboya OR Keefe - I dig your work ethics
5) Morgan - thank u for coming here...
-#4 best center in the USA coming in
Anderson/Lee - WoW!
Shipp/Roll - Speechless...
Gordon - a beast
Stephenson (eventually) - would like to know more about u..u will get PT here...big man needed....
GR8 TIME TO BE A BRUIN..............

At May 29, 2008, 3:05:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

looks like somebody will get squeezed
can we attend practices???

At May 29, 2008, 3:05:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Hey BruinFan...only 12 scholarships allowed

At May 30, 2008, 4:14:00 AM, Anonymous Don said...

I see that Abdul Gaddy has pulled out of Arizona and wants to play with Avery Bradley. Any insight as to the possibility of landing these two five star guys?
What about you Jake, any inside info on this?
I also see where Lance Stephenson has narrowed his choices to ucla/kansas/usc

At May 30, 2008, 5:55:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Don, is that true that Stephenson has SUC as one of his final choices? We need to get that school back down where they a non-basketball University. Come on Mayo scandal, do your thing!
Good breakdown of our potential team BruinFan. But I don't see Coach Howland not starting Shipp (loyalty, senior, that type of thing).
I expect to see:
PG - Collison
SG - Holliday
SF - Shipp
PF - MbAh
C - Keefe (to start but Morgan getting more minutes).
Yes, a Gr8 time indeed when our problem is now getting enough PT for all our quality studs!!!

At May 30, 2008, 6:01:00 AM, Anonymous jojoenglish said...

ESPN Report: Lance Stephenson narrows list to three (May30)
"Lance Stephenson, ranked No. 4 overall in the ESPN 100, has narrowed his choices to Southern California, UCLA and Kansas, his father, Lance Sr., told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The 6-foot-5 combination guard also had interest from Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Louisville, Arkansas, Memphis and Seton Hall..."

At May 30, 2008, 7:33:00 AM, Anonymous 1&done said...

Hopefully "Stretch" Stephenson will make the right choice! I watched a few taped games from early last year this week and Josh Shipp was clearly the best player on the team at the time. I think he has alot to prove next season!

At May 30, 2008, 9:17:00 AM, Anonymous jake said...

I was under the impression that Bradley has been offered while Stephenson at this point has not.
If Gaddy/Bradley are a package deal I just don't see both of those guys landing here.
Sure would like to see some 5-stars from the 2009 class land this way while they are still available.

At May 30, 2008, 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous DB said...

I dont think that combo package of Gaddy and Avery going to work. In fact, unless it is either an academic or personality issue, I would see UCLA want a Lance on their program. No it has nothing to do with the fact that he is ranked higher than the previous two players, but rather Lance can play 3 spots.
At his size, he is more likely to play the 2 in the NBA and 2-3 in the college. After this coming year, the Bruins will be out of small forwards other than Malcom Lee.
I just dont see Gaddy and Avery playing in that slot more than Lance. Although remember taht UCLA is still after Nolan Dennis. A more outside shot is UCLA chance of going after Xavier as well which I believe UCLA tend to shy away from high profile players unless they are in great academic and personality value.

At May 30, 2008, 10:18:00 AM, Anonymous DB said...

Good call Brew in
I believe Shipp will start no doubt because he is still part of the class that helped Ben Howland and UCLA all these years in getting to the final four. As you can see because of that, we are getting better players coming in.
I see starting five of:
And primary second team of:
With Keefe bridging in between both a lot. Dragovich is going to have to really work on his defensive game to get his playing time here. I believe this coming year's ucla team is going to pressure earlier, faster, and further out on the court than before.

At May 30, 2008, 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous Brui Master said...

Bring in Anderson, Lee and Holiday,
Three guards who come to play,
Add the brute of a kid named Gordon,
Followed by the brawn of a cat called Morgan,
A roster full of talent,
taste that on your pallet,
Fed to yall by a team that won't relent,
Cuz Coaches discipline is evident,
All workin for a common goal,
Raise the banner up the flagpole,
This is the team with the drive,
That'll hang it next to the one that says '95.

At May 30, 2008, 12:44:00 PM, Anonymous Rome 06' said...


At May 31, 2008, 1:41:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Abdul Gaddy's declaration that he and Bradley want to be a packaged deal could be problematic for the Bruins. While packaged deals rarely come to fruition at the end, it does open the door for programs such as Washington who would have the room and immediate playing time for the pair.
Gaddy currently doesn't list UCLA as a school of choice but that may change. Certainly, it was much more clear and simple when it was just between Bradley and UCLA.
As with anything in recruiting, the situation just has to play out.

At Jun 1, 2008, 12:08:00 PM, Anonymous Don said...

Thanks BBR, as usual the voice of reason. makes sense, will be interesting to see how that effects Bradley or if they go harder at Stephenson

At Jun 1, 2008, 1:25:00 PM, Anonymous Shaun said...

Honestly, Xavier, Gaddy, Bradley, Stephenson, does it really matter in 2009? I know it's nice to be a program like UNC or duke that gets 3 or 4 five-stars a year, but I think it can actually harm the program. With that many egos trying to prove they can make it in the NBA, its a little unnecessary. This class of 2008 is so far and above the others, and Holiday is the only one with a chance to go pro after 1 year, that we really dont need more than maybe a stong big man and a 5-star small forward or 2-guard for 2009. Any more than that would just crowd things I think. We should look more to the class of 2010 I would say because then we may need to be replacing some of these guys

At Jun 4, 2008, 10:44:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Right-O Shaun! We don't need a bunch of 5 stars every year.
Let's let Coach H grab a few big names each year, but just as importantly, bring in those 4 star role players that compliment and balance out the team. He's done very well so far!
Bet most of us can't name the session musicians or band member's names behind a big name artist, but without them, the artist could not make his music!


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