UCLA is landing one of 2017's top post prospects in Jalen Hill. Scout breaks down the rising junior's game.
On Sunday, UCLA
landed one of the West Coast and nation's top 2017 posts when 6-foot-8, 205-pound Corona (Calif.) Centennial center Jalen Hill
Between the 2016 and 2017 classes, there have been a number of high major posts on the West Coast and UCLA in the last two months UCLA has landed a couple of them in Hill and Ike Anigbogu
, a 2016 center who also plays at Centennial.
Like Anigbogu, who is one of the nation's top shot blocking and overall defensive centers, Hill is a player whose specialty is on the defensive end.
Scout's 25th ranked overall prospect and 10th rated center in 2017, Hill is a year young for the class with a Dec. 1999 birthdate and at 15 years, six months old he is one of the youngest high major prospects in his class nationally.
He should be a 2018 prospect and that needs to be taken into strong consideration when evaluating him, especially considering he's at a position that typically develops much later than any other.
For Hill it starts on the defensive end, where he plays very hard and has a good feel as a shot blocker and defensive rebounder. His motor and instincts give him a high floor on the defensive end projecting him moving forward.
It will need to seen if Hill grows and how his athleticism changes with maturity but it can be expected that he'll be able to guard many fours and fives at the next level.
Hill is a decent to pretty good athlete for the position but much more mobile than athletic, which is fine given the position and his age. He's more comfortable using his tools on defense than on offense at this point, which is standard for a young developing post.
On offense, Hill is still raw but that's not a concern given his young age. He has very good feet, which is an important building block for him eventually improving his back to the basket game.
Hill relies more on those feet and his size than go-to post moves right now, and also scores points on the offensive glass and on midrange jumpers.
Even though he's raw and more of a five on offense, he is most comfortable on offense catching the ball in the high post, taking a dribble or two and attacking the basket. However, he's most efficient shooting off the catch from midrange and from close range off entry passes, which is expected given his age.
The fact that Hill does have the comfort level to attack from the high post gives hope he can eventually play the four as well, but it's way too early in his development to make anything close to a final call on that.
At the USA Basketball 16u Trials in Colorado Springs in early June, Hill was measured at 6-foot-6 without shoes and 6-foot-7 with them, but it's believed that those measurements came out about an inch too low. He's likely closer to 6-foot-8 in shoes.
Hill was also measured as having a 6'11.5" wingspan and 8'9" standing reach, which should increase if he continues to grow, as is very well possible given his youth.
Those measurements are closer to ideal for a four than a five, but Hill's youthful appearance and age give off the impression he could definitely keep growing and there's reason to believe at least defensively he should be able to play both positions at UCLA regardless.
Hill is believed to be a good kid with the right people around him, which can often play a role in any prospect's development.
There's still about a month to go before summer ball in 2017 is over, but between his play with the Compton Magic at the spring and at USA Basketball 16u trials - a team he ultimately made - it can be expected that he'll enter the fall remaining as one of the West Coast's top prospects in his class.