2011 Hoops Recruiting Update

UCLA Coach Ben Howland is putting in the frequent flyer miles visiting recruits for in-home visits this week, while he and his staff entertained one official visitor and one unofficial visitor last weekend...

This has already been, and will continue to be, a busy week for UCLA Coach Ben Howland. He entertained one official and one unofficial visitor last weekend, and now will spend the week flying around the country to visit recruits in their homes.

Josiah Turner, the 6-2 point guard from Sacramento (Calif.) High, took his official visit to UCLA last weekend and reports are the visit went very well.

According to sources, Turner bonded well with the current players, especially the current incoming freshmen, and UCLA assistant Phil Mathews has established a good relationship with Turner's mother, Doris Ward.

It's believed that Turner will want to stay close to home because of the close relationship with Ward.

With that element, and other factors, many believe it's a battle between UCLA and Arizona for Turner. Kansas, Louisville and Oregon are the other schools still under consideration. Kansas was, and still is by many, considered a front runner.

The plan now is for Turner to have in-home visits with coaches from the schools recruiting him, and to continue with his official visits.

Kansas's Head Coach Bill Self was reportedly in Turner's house Monday night. Arizona's Sean Miller had an in-home with Turner last Thursday.

UCLA hasn't arranged an in-home visit so soon after Turner's official visit to the school. Sometimes the recruiting strategy is to let the official visit sink in before visiting with the prospect and his family on an in-home visit.

Turner officially visited Louisville the weekend before his UCLA visit. There was a plan to officially visit Oregon this coming weekend, but that could possibly be pushed back to October, if he indeed takes the visit. He'll visit Kansas for Midnight Madness on October 16th and Arizona on October 23rd.

Ward has said that her son very well could verbally commit to the school of his choice before he completes all of his official visits.

Attending UCLA's football game Saturday night was Norman Powell, the 6-2 shooting guard from San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln. Powell reportedly had a very good time; in the pre-game recruiting tent outside the Rose Bowl, Powell connected with many of the players in the UCLA women's basketball program, as well as head coach Nikki Caldwell, and some women's basketball recruits. In fact, Powell and the group ended up in a corner of the tent playing a humor-laced version of Pictionary.

As of right now, it's between UCLA and San Diego State for Powell, and a source close to Powell's recruitment told us that he's leaning heavily toward UCLA and that there is some murmurs he'll verbally commit on his in-home visit. That visit is still in the process of being arranged. Remember, last week on his Twitter page Powell said he was going to make his verbal commitment this week. Powell also hasn't planned an official visit to UCLA since he is busy every Saturday with an SAT prep course. He could very well take his official visit to UCLA after he has committed.

Sunday UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland was in the home of Patrick Connaughton, the 6-5 wing from Danvers (Mass.) St. John's Prep, who will officially UCLA the weekend of September 25th.

Boston College, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are UCLA's competition for Connaughton. He's already visited Notre Dame last weekend when the Irish played Michigan in football.

Howland then proceeded north up the east coast Monday to have an in-home visit with Jabarie Hinds, the 5-11 point guard from Mount Vernon (New York) High. UCLA has yet to offer a scholarship to Hinds, who had a strong summer and improved his stock. His leaders at this point are probably West Virginia, UNLV and Oklahoma State. UCLA is continuing to recruit Hinds as another option at point guard.

Howland will then hop down Tuesday to have an in-home visit with Adonis Thomas, the 6-6 small forward from Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose, who is the #9-ranked player in the nation. While UCLA is thought to be a longshot for Thomas, we've heard it's not necessarily the typical circus recruitment of a top ten national player. Thomas is an impressive, down-to-Earth kid and a good student. His parents were on UCLA's campus in August.

UCLA has an official visit arranged with Thomas for October 2nd. He visited Tennessee last weekend, and also plans to visit Arkansas September 24th, Florida October 9th and Memphis October 15th.

Thursday Howland will go back up north to Virginia for an in-home visit with Quinn Cook, the 6-0 point guard at Mouth of Wilson (Virg.) Oak Hill. UCLA has yet to arrange an official visit with Cook, but it's believe it could be the same weekend as Connaughton, September 25th.

Besides UCLA, recruiting Cook is Arizona, Duke, North Carolina, Georgetown, St. Johns and Villanova. North Carolina and Duke have yet to formally offer Cook a scholarship. It's thought that Duke is his favorite and that he'd snatch up a Blue Devil offer, but it's completely uncertain if Duke will indeed offer Cook. If not, UCLA is thought to have a good shot at the prospect. He has been on UCLA's campus for unofficial visits and reportedly came away impressed, and has family the Southern California area.

The other prospect UCLA is pursuing is Rodney Hood, the 6-7 small forward from Meridian (Miss.) High. Mississippi State, Florida State and Georgia Tech have been on Hood for some time, and even the likes of Louisville are trying to get on late, like UCLA. UCLA is trying to get an official visit out of Hood and we haven't head that Howland has a plan for an in-home visit with him arranged yet.

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