Inside Word

The latest installment of the Inside Word features news on Aaron Brooks, Dominic McGuire, the recruiting efforts of USC and more...

Here are the latest rumors and bits of news that we picked up from the recruiting trail in the last week.

Aaron Brooks, 5-10 SR PG Seattle (Wash.) Franklin, the object of an intense recruiting battle between Oregon, UCLA and Washington, will visit Oregon unofficially August 31st for the Ducks football opener. The plan is that he'll then take his official Duck visit later in September. Brooks has already taken an official visit to UCLA and there are rumors he may return to Westwood for an unofficial visit with his mother, but we have not yet confirmed a return trip. We hear Brooks also plans on taking an official trip to Washington.

Mitch Platt, 6-10 SR C Las Vegas (Nev.) Green Valley, is one of the more highly sought post players in the west this year and he'll take an official trip to Texas Tech the second weekend of September. Oregon and Utah are also involved.

New head coach Jay John is trying to turn things around for Oregon St. and we hear the Beavers are trying hard with Kyle Jeffers, 6-8 SR PF Santa Rosa (Calif.) Montgomery. One player the Beavers have already apparently landed is Nick Dewitz, a 6-7 forward from Dobson High in Arizona, who spent last year at Utah Valley State.

We weren't able to make it to the Elite Eight in Berkeley, but we were told that Dominic McGuire, 6-5 SR SF San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln, was dominating. McGuire, the #1 ranked small forward in the west, was reportedly knocking down outside shots. If he can consistently hit the outside shot, McGuire figures to be an impact player in the Pac-10. Other players who reportedly stood out at the Elite Eight were Dorell Wright, 6-6 SR SF Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger and Ayinde Ubaka, 6-2 SR PG Oakland (Calif.) High. In the opening game of the tournament, Ubaka's Oakland Soldiers team was reportedly down six points with fifteen seconds to go. Ubaka apparently then hit a three to bring the Soldiers within three. The Soldiers got the ball back and Ubaka hit a three at the buzzer to tie the game. He was fouled on the shot and hit a free throw with no time left to win the game for the Soldiers. Several coaches we spoke with were raving about Ubaka's performance. Cal would appear to be the strong leader in Ubaka's recruitment.

The Pepperdine Waves brought in an excellent class last year and now we hear there are plans for a new arena in Malibu. Architects are reportedly designing a new arena that would seat fifty five hundred and look over the Pacific Ocean.

Arizona State is reportedly doing very well with Keith Wooden, 6-9 SR PF Lawrence (Kan.) Lawrence Freestate. In addition to Wooden, the Sun Devils were showing a lot of interest in Brett Collins, 6-5 SR SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Point and they may get involved with Dorell Wright as well.

They haven't received much national press, but USC may be on the verge of putting together a top ten class. The Trojans are reportedly the leaders in the battle for Rodrick and Lodrick Stewart, 6-3 SG Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach, and they're also apparently doing well with Ekene Ibekwe, 6-9 SR PF Carson (Calif.) High and Trevor Ariza, 6-7 SR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Sean Marshall, 6-4 SR SG Eisenhower (Calif.) Rialto is also a possibility. Looking towards the next class, we hear the Trojans are already doing well with Curtis Allen, 6-4 JR SG Rolling Hills (Calif.) Rolling Hills Prep.

Led by new head coach Larry Reynolds, Long Beach St. was all over the local Southern California talent this summer. The last couple of years saw the 49ers stray from their SoCal base, but it looks like that will change with the new staff. Reynolds and Co. were conspicuously present at games involving Marcus Slaughter, 6-8 SR PF Riverside (Calif.) North, Marcus Dove, 6-7 SR SF Long Beach (Calif.) Millikan, and Travon Free, 6-6 SR PF Compton (Calif.) Dominguez.

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