First, the foundation, is how many scholarships UCLA has available to the 2013 class and what are its roster needs (We've already discussed UCLA's current targets in the 2013 class, and we'll do so more in subsequent stories. But for now, this is just an analysis of recruiting needs.).
For the sake of being the most accurate, the projected depth chart below has taken some license with some guesses. You'll notice that Shabazz Muhammad, the incoming freshman wing, is not included, because if we had to guess we don't think he'll be around for his sophomore season. And, more importantly, from what we know, UCLA is recruiting under that assumption, too, and really needs to.
We'll guess that UCLA center Josh Smith will jump to the NBA Draft after this coming season, and not return for his senior year.
We also think that Kyle Anderson, the 6-8 SF/PG from Jersey City (New Jersey) St. Anthony, will return for his sophomore season.
Now, these are many guesses and assumptions, but probably the most likely, which gives us the more accurate projection of the 2013-2014 depth chart.
Also, we've plugged in Zach LaVine, the 6-3 combo guard from Bothell (Wash.) who verbally committed to UCLA Wednesday.
In analyzing the depth chart, what jumps out at you is the fact that there are three senior post players -- David Wear, Travis Wear, and Anthony Stover -- that will be leaving the program after the 2013-2014 season. And UCLA very well could lose Anderson. And there's a chance that Tony Parker is good enough after his sophomore season to contemplate a jump to the NBA. So, it's certain UCLA will lose three of its five post players (we're including Anderson), and could possibly lose all five. It's not difficult, then, that with LaVine's commitment, UCLA has a big recruiting priority in the frontcourt for the 2013 class.
Then, easily right there in terms of need is a point guard. In the 2013-2014 season, we would venture to guess that Anderson will still be at the reins of the offense but, like we said, it's not unfathomable that he leaves after his senior season. And then, even if Anderson returns for his sophomore year, there really isn't a true point guard on the roster. Anderson will almost certainly not be able to guard opposing point guards. LaVine, right now, is a combo, and probably projects as a point guard in college. But, with the way he's been growing over the last year he very well could end up 6-5 and be more physically suited to playing a wing spot. It's then pretty vital that UCLA get a point guard.
Looking at the depth chart it's pretty clear that wings are lower on the priority list. If we're being selective, a pure small forward type would be ideal, since, in that 2013-2014 roster, there is none. Lamb, while he would slot into the SF spot because of a lack of anyone else, is really more of a shooting guard. As are Powell and Adams.
Getting LaVine gives UCLA some flexibility in their targets, and ability to recruit. If UCLA is doing well with a shooting guard type, they can certainly tell him that LaVine is more a point guard. If they need to sell a point guard, they can tell him LaVine projects as a shooting guard. And, the beauty of it is: Neither line is inaccurate.
So, with the commitment of LaVine, UCLA's Remaining Recruiting Priorities:
1 Point Guard
1 Small Forward
1 Best Available
As we said above, we'll get more into the specific recruits and targets in a subsequent analysis.