UCLA has been on a roll recruiting locally lately and one of the Bruins’ recent commitments was in action this weekend at the USA Basketball Junior National Team Minicamp.
Jalen Hill, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound 2017 post from Corona (Calif.) Centennial is at his best on the defensive end, where he can guard most fours and fives and rebounds his area well.
Hill was a little nicked up this weekend, but still made his impact felt on the defensive end.
“I think I’ve done alright considering I haven’t played in a little bit,” Hill said. “I think I’ve had growing pains in my knees, and then I got kneed in my knee so that didn’t make it any better.”
Entering his junior season, Hill is hoping to expand his role on and off the court.
“I want to be more of a leader for my team; we need a verbal leader,” he said. “I want to score more points and help lead my teams in different ways.”
In June, Hill ended his recruitment early, committing to UCLA, a decision that even surprised him.
“The day I committed, I didn’t think I was going to commit,” Hill said. “I took an unofficial there and thought to myself, ‘Why not?’ I just felt a certain way and decided to commit.”
While on campus, Hill realized there were several reasons why staying home and playing at UCLA made the most sense for him.
“The location, with it being really close to home, was a big deal for me,” Hill said. “The history of UCLA was really good; no one could top that. The coaching staff is really good. I respect those guys a lot.”
Hill has a familiarity with several other future Bruins, which only makes him more comfortable with the UCLA program.
“Me and Ike (Anigbogu) are really close,” he said. “I know where he wants the ball and know how to get him open.
There are still a couple years left for Hill before he heads to Westwood, but he’s excited for the challenge.
“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work but I’m ready to compete.”