The Contact Period Begins

The UCLA coaches are off and running, visiting prospects across the country as the Contact Period starts today, September 9th. We've learned about most of the prospects UCLA will see in the first few days of the period...

Today begins the Contact Period in basketball recruiting, so college coaches are able to watch prospects at their high school, conduct in-home visits and host official visits.

For the UCLA coaches it means traveling extensively to the other side of the country, since most of the Bruins' 2012 prospects are on the East Coast.

We've pieced together from various sources some of the places the UCLA coaches will be in the first few days of the Contact Period. This is in no way comprehensive, with the coaches certainly visiting some recruits other than the ones mentioned.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland and assistant Phil Mathews will start off in Las Vegas today, to see the #1 prospect in the country, Shabazz Muhammad, the 6-5 wing from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, and have an in-home visit with him and his father.

Muhammad will then have in-home visits with UNLV (Sept. 10), Duke (Sept. 12), Kentucky (Sept. 13) and Kansas (Sept. 14). Muhammad has also set up an official visit with Kentucky on October 14th for Midnight Madness, and has said he intends to officially visit Duke. So far we haven't heard of any plans to officially visit UCLA, but, as we reported, it's still looking like Muhammad will wait until the spring to make his college decision.

Shabazz Muhammad.
Even given all of that, nothing has changed from what we've been hearing about Muhammad's recruitment, that UCLA is his leader. A key factor in Muhammad's recruitment, which hasn't been mentioned much, is that Muhammad's mother lives in Long Beach, which also helps UCLA's chances.

We've also heard from sources at Las Vegas Findlay Prep that today Howland and Mathews will also visit UCLA-committed point guard, 5-11 Dominic Artis.

Saturday, then, Howland will be on the East Coast to visit Kyle Anderson, the 6-7 point forward from Jersey City (New Jersey) St. Anthony's, according to sources close to Anderson's recruitment.

Anderson, as we reported, spent quite a bit of time at UCLA when he was in Los Angeles for the Boost Mobile event. Since returning to the East Coast, he has visited Seton Hall, Georgetown and St. John's, and will have take an official visit to Florida Sept. 17th. He has said he'll decided on Sept. 19th and announce his decision on Sept. 20th.

When Anderson was on campus at St. John's, former UCLA player Baron Davis was also there.

Recently, since he's been taking his East Coast unofficial visits, the buzz about where Anderson is leaning has shifted from the west to the east -- from sources in the east. From what we know, UCLA is still doing well with Anderson.

While those east coast sources are saying it could be Seton Hall, we continue to hear that UCLA's biggest competition is St. John's and Steve Lavin.

It's been much publicized that Anderson and Muhammad are close, and they've said they want to play their college ball together. If Anderson announces for UCLA on Sept. 20th, it will clearly be a strong indication that UCLA is indeed in the driver's seat for Muhammad.

One prospect who is getting more attention, and UCLA has started to recruit, is Chris Obekpa, the 6-8 post from Cameroon who is playing his high school ball at Centereach (New York) Our Savior New American, and it's pretty certain that Howland will drop in on Obekpa. To our knowledge, UCLA has yet to offer Obekpa.

We have learned that Howland will have an in-home visit with Arnaud Moto, the 6-5 small forward from Alexandria (Virg.) Episcopal. As we reported, UCLA is doing very well with Moto, and he will visit Westwood officially on the weekend of September 24th/25th. The general feeling at the moment is that it could be between UCLA and Vanderbilt, which he'll also visit officially, and he could possibly also take an official visit to Wake Forest. UCLA assistant Scott Garson is recruiting Moto, so he'll almost certainly be along on the in-home visit.

A short drive away is Rockville (Maryland) Montrose Christian, where elite junior Ishmail Wainright, the 6-5 small forward, is now playing his high school ball, and it's pretty certain Howland will stop in there.

We've also heard separate reports that UCLA coaches will visit both Georgia and Florida in the first week of the Contact Period. On that swing of the trip, UCLA coaches will undoubtedly visit Joel James, 6-10 center, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) William Dwyer; William Goodwin, 6-8 post, Decatur (Georgia) South Dekalb, Tony Parker, the 6-8 post, Lithonia (Georgia) Miller Grove, and UCLA-committed wing Jordan Adams. UCLA assistant Korey McCray will be on this leg of the trip with Howland, with McCray being the former AAU coach of the Atlanta Celtics and having connections with the prospects.

it's interesting that in a recent video interview Parker said his schools of interest are UCLA, Memphis, Kansas, and Ohio State, but then he mentioned that the two players he wants to play with in college are Muhammad and Anderson. UCLA would be the only place he could possibly do that.

Watch the Video Interview Here.

UCLA will almost certainly visit Jarnell Stokes, the elite 6-8 post from Memphis. Stokes just recently took an unofficial visit to Arkansas, and will officially visit Florida (Sept. 1st), Memphis, Connecticut and Tennessee, while UCLA is trying to get on that official visit list. What's significant about Stokes' recruitment is that Memphis is though to be the leader for the hometown star. In fact, Memphis coach Josh Pastner was so eager for an in-home visit with Stokes, he conducted one at 12:01 this morning east coast time, the first minute college coaches are allowed to conduct in-home visits. The thought is that if Memphis gets Stokes, they're only looking for one other post recruit in the 2012 class, and they are recruiting both Goodwin and Parker and doing well with them. If they got Stokes and one of Goodwin/Parker that would leave one of Goodwin/Parker available, and obviously eliminate perhaps UCLA's biggest competition in each of those prospects.

As we said above, UCLA's coaches will be visiting more prospects than we mentioned here with the start of the Contact Period. As we find out about more we'll certainly report it.

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