The EYBL, which started a year ago, features the best Nike AAU teams, and it plays its "league" games in various cities throughout spring. Session Three is at the Hangar Athletic Xchange in Harbor City Friday through Monday.
It's an event that pays dividends for UCLA, since it brings plenty of out-of-town elite recruits to the Los Angeles area. The recruits then feel compelled to take an unofficial visit to UCLA while in town.
Per NCAA rules, a recruit can only visit a campus once the even he's participated in is over, so the Bruin staff will be hosting a wave of recruits on Monday when the EYBL ends in the afternoon.
The Nike event is likely to attract UCLA 2012 priority targets Kyle Anderson (Playaz Basketball Club), Brandon Ashley (Oakland Soldiers), William Goodwin (YOMCA), Ricardo Ledo (Albany City Rocks), Richard Longrus (Oakland Soldiers), Arnaud Moto (Team Takeover), Tony Parker (Georgia Stars), James Robinson (Team Takeover), L.J. Rose (Houston Hoops), and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Spiece), among others. Among the 2013 UCLA targets likely to be competing at HAX will be Beejay Anya (Team Takeover), Torren Jones (California Supreme), and Tyree Robinson (Oakland Soldiers). Among the 2014 UCLA targets likely to be competing at HAX will be Stanley Johnson (Oakland Soldiers).
We've heard that Rose, Anderson, Ashley, Smith-Rivera and possibly Goodwin will be on UCLA's campus sometime after the event.
We've also heard that, while potential verbal commitments could be premature, it's anticipated that some of the unofficial visits are greatly significant.
Anderson, the 6-7 point forward from Jersey City (New Jersey) St. Anthony, rated the #17 player in the nation, has visited Westwood unofficially before, but this visit is more important since the word is he's approaching a decision. Most of the educated opinions from back east believe Anderson will ultimately stay closer to home. It's thought that Seton Hall or St. John's could be emerging as the teams to beat, but it is tough to really pin down Anderson on a favorite. Also definitely do not count out the Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown employs a system that Anderson feels he fits well in, and you can bet that is something that the staff is selling in a big way.
But we've also heard that UCLA has been doing very well with Anderson. There is the factor that Anderson is close with Shabazz Muhammad, the #3-ranked player in the nation, who it's thought is leaning toward UCLA. That factor could help sway Anderson toward UCLA, and a good visit to UCLA this weekend could facilitate it.
The unofficial visit of Smith-Rivera, the #23-ranked player in the nation, also could be highly significant in his recruitment. The 6-3 combo guard, who is transferring to Mouth of Wilson (Virg.) Oak Hill in the fall, has taken unofficial visits to Texas, Xavier and Louisville recently, and Georgetown is in the mix. There are sources close to the recruitment, however, that think UCLA is doing particularly well with Smith-Rivera. There is the Muhammad connection with him, also, and actually one source thought that Smith-Rivera's trip to UCLA this weekend could be what his decision hinges on. Smith-Rivera has said publicly that he could be nearing a decision and that the UCLA visit would be important.
The visit of Rose, also, will be key, since the prospect from Houston (Tex.) Second Baptist School is the top-rated true point guard (ranked #42 in the country) that UCLA is recruiting in the 2012 national class.
Scout.com will have extensive coverage of the Los Angeles Nike EYBL this weekend, including video clips, interviews, and more, and we'll also be tuned in to the unofficial visits to UCLA's campus after the event.