Ubaka Will Get Exposure

The #1 point guard on the west coast in the junior class, Ayinde Ubaka, still isn't too well-known nationally, but he could blow up on a national scale this summer...

Ayinde Ubaka, 6-2 JR PG, Oakland (Calif.) High, said he played "average" at the Pump Easter Tournament in Las Vegas this weekend, while most scouts thought his performance cemented him as the #1 point guard on the west coast.

Ubaka, who averaged 25 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds this last season at Oakland High, went head-to-head against another highly-regarded point guard, Marcus Williams of Crenshaw, in a semi-final game of the tournament, with really neither showing a clear-cut advantage in the game.

When asked if Ubaka currently had a favorite, he responded, "No, but Cal is showing me a lot of love." He then went on to say he was also interested in UCLA (who he reiterated was his childhood favorite. "With the O'Bannons and Bailey"), USC, Gonzaga, Tennessee and San Diego State, but hadn't really yet heard from too many schools nationally.

But that could change this spring and summer.

Not only is Ubaka the consensus #1 point guard in the west, he'll be playing on an AAU team in the next several months that is bound to get him some considerable exposure. Ubaka played with the H Squad in Vegas this weekend, but his regular Aau team is Oakland Slam N Jam, and they could probably be the biggest attraction of the AAU circuit this spring and summer and attract gym-fulls of coaches. Joining Ubaka on Oakland will be the #1 high school player in the country, 6-6 SF LeBron James, who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated recently; 6-9 Kendrick Perkins, one of the top five players in the national junior class; 6-7 Leon Powe, at least a top ten player nationally; and 6-6 Marquis Kately, a senior who will go to prep school next year and, if he were ranked in next year's class, be numbered among the top 50 in the country. "That will just open up things for me, with so many coaches there to see LeBron and Leon, they'll see me, too."

With Cal being a major player for Leon Powe also, and his other teammate, Marquis Kately, being verbally committed to Cal, the natural question is whether that would be an influence on Ubaka's decision. "I would love to play with him [Powe] and Marquis," he said.

Perhaps what Ubaka has to improve the most in his game is his outside jumper. The shot definitely showed signs of improvement at the Pump Easter tourney this weekend over last summer, but Ubaka feels he still wants to work on it. In fact, he said he's dedicating quite a bit of time to it. "All day. At lunch time I go to the gym and shoot. I shoot all day. While everyone else is outside, I shoot jumpers and the go to class." Ubaka has also grown at least an inch since last summer (he said he's grown two), and put on some weight (he said 20 pounds).

When asked if he might commit early, he said, "I'm going to pick the college that best fits me, and the coach that's going to help me get to the next level."

While it's been reported that Ubaka might have to do some work in the classroom, he said he had a 3.6 GPA on his most recent progress report. He also said he plans to take the ACT in June.

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