Josh Perkins, the 6-2 point guard who will be at Huntington (West Virginia) Hunting Prep next season, is showing that he's an exceptional prospect, with some excellent vision and passing ability. While he's a bit thick in his legs, he has good quickness, and with such good ball-handling skills, is tough to stay in front of defensively. He clearly is the type of player that other players want to play with, and created kind of a leader mystique around the camp. The challenge for UCLA: Get a commitment from him, to keep him away from the onslaught of national programs that are going to be on him this summer (and next fall, playing in West Virginia), and to have Perkins start working as Pied Piper to attract other recruits. It would be a significant coup to have him committed before July, so he participates in the July Evaluation Period events as a UCLA commit. We're hearing he had a great unofficial visit to UCLA Friday, but still plans on visiting Gonzaga and that Kentucky is starting to come on strong. He's visiting USC Sunday after Pangos, and there's a chance he could also re-visit UCLA. At this point, we think Perkins is probably the higher priority at point guard for the Bruins over Jordan McLaughlin, since Perkins is entirely a true point guard and the type of player you could build a program around when you're a new coaching staff. There is more and more buzz about USC continuing to improve its chances with Stanley Johnson, the 6-5 forward from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei.
Idrissa Diallo, the 6-9 center from Los Angeles Cathedral, who the UCLA staff offered a while back, didn't show well in Pangos. He had an issue with his teammates, and the poor attitude showed itself on the court. He complained on the sidelines, and then his teammates complained about him. He tried to tough it out, but Sunday he didn't touch the ball much and showed some poor body language on the court. In one game, he walked off but returned. He was slated to play in the second-level all-star game (which was actually a stretch, considering how he played during the weekend), but he didn't show. On Saturday he got dunked on pretty viciously by Stephen Zimmerman. He physically is great, with a good, well-built body, and his feet are pretty good. He, though, didn't show much instinct for the game, with rebounds getting snatched before he even left the floor, and some poor hands, unable to hold onto the ball well. He's raw, but here's the question: is there something actually there you could build on to make him an elite high-major player? It has to be noted that this was his first weekend back playing after sitting out for a while due to injury. But it was the kind of weekend that could make programs get leery about him, including UCLA.
The post player that did emerge is Thomas Welsh, the 6-11 prospect from Los Angeles Loyola. As we've said many times, Welsh keeps getting better every time you see him, and he did again this weekend. Everything that Greg Hicks wrote about him from Friday night was accurate on Saturday and Sunday. Welsh did this in front of national scouts, so he'll undoubtedly be moving up in rankings – and in the eyes of many coaching staffs. UCLA has yet to really recruit Welsh but we'd have to suspect that will change. It's a question of whether UCLA is too late.
Jacob Hammond, the 6-8 post from Oklahoma City (Okla.) United Prep, showed well, displaying nice athleticism and ability to block shots and rebound. He visited UCLA last weekend and is visiting UCLA again Sunday. UCLA has a connection with him and after his good showing this weekend the Bruins will almost certainly be showing some interest.
Jabari Craig is a 6-9 center from Atlanta (Georgia) Tucker with a nice, long body and explosive athleticism. He's raw but has some tremendous upside. He'll visit UCLA Sunday.
Rashad Vaughn, the 6-4 shooting guard from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, who is a top ten national recruit, is clearly a fantastic prospect, with some great athleticism and skills. He was planning to visit UCLA today.
Brekkott Chapman, the 6-7 combo forward from Roy (Utah), avoided matching up physically all weekend and mostly floated on the perimeter or brought up the ball to look for a shot or a dish in transition. In the elite all-star game, matching up against some elite athleticism, he pretty much disappeared in an effort to avoid it. He has some skills and a good feel for the game. He's just a decent shooter, not a great one, and pretty streaky. In determining his position, he's a 3/4, but he's probably better able to stay with a 6-5 small forward than he would be to match up physically against a 6-8 power forward, so he's probably more of a three on the college level. We had heard UCLA had offered, but they reportedly haven't.
Justise Winslow, the 6-6 prospect from Houston (Tex.) St. John's, the #1 small forward in the country, will visit UCLA Sunday night and Monday. Winslow is in the process of trimming his list of schools and this trip is intended to see if Winslow, who had been to campus during the tenure of the old staff, will retain UCLA on his list post-trimming.
Isaiah Briscoe, the 6-1 combo guard who is at Newark (New Jersey) St. Benedict Prep, will enroll at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep next season. We've heard that the Briscoe family likes UCLA, had contacted the previous staff and has contacted the new one. He intended to visit UCLA's campus Sunday but had to leave earlier than expected for his flight.
Underclassmen that we've heard could visit campus Sunday:
Chase Jeter, 2015 6-8 C, Henderson (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Carlton Bragg, 2015 6-8 C, Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela St. Joseph
Marquese Chriss, 2015 6-6 SF, Elk Grove (Calif.) Plesanta Grove
Thon Maker, 2016 7-0 C, Martinsville (Virg.) Carlisle School