Artis' uncle said that UCLA is still the leader, but he's now considering Cal and Oregon.
From what we've gathered, UCLA was, in fact, blind-sided by Artis' de-commitment. Sources are indicating that, after the commitment of Kyle Anderson, the 6-7 point forward and the #4-ranked player in the nation, to UCLA two weeks ago, other schools, predominantly Cal and Oregon, began getting in Artis' ear about a potential lack of playing time at UCLA at the point guard position. UCLA had spoken to Artis about Anderson previously, and sources are telling us that Artis wasn't legitimately that concerned until very recently.
Then Oregon had an in-home with Artis Wednesday night, which precipitated the de-commitment. Many fans are pointing fingers at Oregon, but they did nothing illegal or unethical in recruiting Artis. They were, in fact, very smart in conducting the in-home on the last night they were able to do so of the Contact Period, preventing UCLA from then having a follow-up in-home visit with Artis afterward. This would force UCLA Coach Ben Howland to try to salvage the recruitment over the phone, which I'm sure has taken place.
A few things contributed to Artis being prone to the de-commitment. Being in Las Vegas, he's without his parents, so they are not present for any in-home visits. Also, if you remember, UCLA only started recruiting Artis at the beginning of the July Evaluation Period, and he verbally committed by the end of July. It was essentially a very short amount of time to recruit someone, so there wasn't a well-established history between UCLA and Artis, and the relationships were still fairly new.
Going forward, we've heard from sources close to Artis that UCLA has indicated to them they'll continue to recruit him, and we take from that they UCLA will attempt to salvage the commitment.
But you can probably expect many more schools to get involved with Artis, since elite point guards are scarce nationally. Artis has five official visits to take, and the word is that he wants to take as many as possible.
It's pretty certain that UCLA will also look into other possibilities, like that of Tyrone Wallace, the 6-4 combo guard from Bakersfield (Calif.) High. Wallace favored UCLA leading up until August, but the Bruins didn't offer, and with UCLA's scholarships filling up, it appeared UCLA and Wallace had gone their separate ways. Since then, Colorado, Cal, Oregon, and Fresno State have continued to recruit him heavily. He visited Fresno State last week, will visit Oregon this weekend, and has plans in October to visit Cal and Colorado. It will be interesting to see if, after UCLA stopped recruiting him, if they have a chance to get re-involved with him. Wallace, the #77-ranked prospect in the nation, is a player with tremendous upside, with good size and athleticism, and the potential ability to guard three different positions.
UCLA, if you remember, was the leader for both L.J. Rose and Javan Felix, but dropped them once Artis committed in late July. At this point there aren't too many other possibilities with, as we said, elite point guards being so rare and it being so late in the recruiting process. UCLA very well could not sign a true point guard in the November Signing Period and either 1) wait until spring to see what other possibilities develop or 2) stand pat with Anderson as the potential point guard for the 2012 class. Anderson has perhaps the best vision and passing ability of anyone nationally in the class of 2012, which is the reason he received so much hype as "the next Magic Johnson." While we think he'll play a forward position in college, there's a chance he could function as the point guard on the offensive side of the floor, but guard a forward on the defensive end. In 2012-2013, remember, UCLA will also have point guard Larry Drew, who transferred from North Carolina, eligible for that season, so Anderson would probably only be asked to be the back-up point guard.
Howland was in Las Vegas Thursday to see Shabazz Muhammad, the #1 player in the nation. Howland had been on the east coast the day before to visit Tony Parker, the 6-8 center and nation's #19-ranked prospect, and William Goodwin, the 6-8 post and nationally #24. It's still believed that UCLA is leading for Parker, and there's a question of whether he'll get to his planned visit to Memphis on October 14th, or the visit to Duke on October 28th, since he probably wants to see Memphis's Midnight Madness. He could very well make both visits, but then decide after that.
Without Artis, it also opens up the possibility of UCLA taking two post players. The Bruins could opt to take Parker, who is more of a center, and Goodwin, who is more of a power forward, and then add Muhammad in spring to complete the five-man class (since UCLA has commitments from Anderson and Jordan Adams, the 6-4 shooting guard). UCLA is still also making an effort with Jarnell Stokes, the elite 6-8 prospect from Memphis, and Chris Obekpa, the 6-9 center from Centerreach, New York. That scenario -- taking two post players -- would also give UCLA the option of seeing how its scholarship situation plays out in spring, with then the possibility of another ride being available and recruiting a pure point guard.