In the 8:00 a.m. game, Isaiah Bailey, the 6-4 2014 wing from Compton, proved again that he's an elite prospect in his class, with a very good body and athleticism, to go along with a very good feel for the game. UCLA has started recruiting him.
Iziahiah Sweeney, the 6-3 wing also from Compton, and also in the 2014 class, is a good-looking prospect in his own right, with very good athleticism to go along with a long, rangy body.
Next up was PHPS, which featured Dakarai Allen and Darin Johnson, against Team Loaded, a pretty talented team from Virginia. It was easily the best, most-competitive game I've seen so far in July, with both teams showing some grit and intensity, with PHPS finally prevailing in overtime, 94-90. It's significant, in this instance, to share the nature of the game since, this deep into July, anytime you can get a game with this kind of intensity it's a true testament to the type of players in it.
Allen, the 6-5 wing, had a fantastic game, finishing with 18 points, 2 three-pointers, a few assists, three steals and about half-dozen deflections. He did everything he usually does, all the little things on both ends of the court while guarding any of the opposing team's best scorers, but what he did in this game was assert himself in scoring – not in shooting the ball necessarily – but in attacking off the dribble. Much has been made of Allen's developing outside shot, but not too much has been said about his ability to take defenders off the dribble so well. He has an excellent first step and, combining that with good ball-handling, he can take just about any defender to the rim. He caught one defender off-balance with his first step and then elevated for a quick slam.
Johnson had 12 points and played well, hitting a couple of three-pointers with his good stroke, showing good quickness, while he doesn't necessarily have explosive hops, but bringing the usual intensity on both sides of the court. You can probably expect UCLA to start recruiting Johnson.
Head Coach Ben Howland was at the game and watched both Allen and Johnson.
Howland then stayed in the same gym to watch the N.Y. Rens against Belmont Shore, with the Rens featuring 2013 forward Kentan Facey. Facey is about 6-7 to 6-8 and pretty skinny, so his body will have a ways to go, but he's both athletic and very active, and has a great instinct around the basket for rebounds and putbacks. He's an intriguing prospect, because he's very effective while he probably weighs 170 pounds; so it makes you think what he might be able to accomplish when he gets stronger and more refined. Originally from Jamaica, he's reportedly a good student, and UCLA is definitely showing him interest.
Belmont Shore has Tyler Dorsey, a very promising 2015 guard, as well as Daniel Hamilton, the 2014, 6-6 younger brother of Isaac Hamilton. Dorsey had some very good moments, with very good quickness handling the ball.
Howland then watched, Jordan McLaughlin, the 5-11, 2014 point guard that is a top priority for UCLA, who led his Prodigy team against a high-major-laden SEBL team from North Carolina, and amazingly, stayed within a dozen of them. Prodigy has a couple mid- and low-majors playing alongside McLaughlin, so the game was a challenge. One continuing issue is that McLaughlin generally plays off the ball on Prodigy, since they have a couple of other players who want to be seen as point guards. On one hand, it's disappointing that you don't get to see McLaughlin run the show enough, but on the other it's probably good for UCLA that he's not playing point guard on a high-profile AAU team, and staying unexposed to the national elite high-major programs.
As we broke on the BRO Premium Hoops Message Board, UCLA is now recruiting Brandon Austin, the 6-5 wing from Philadelphia (Penn.) Imhotep. Austin had been verbally committed to Penn State since February, but de-committed a few days ago, wanting to open up his recruitment and see what other schools would show interest. Quite a few have (as you'll hear in an upcoming video interview). Austin is pretty slender and a bit narrow-framed, but quite athletic and skilled, being able to handle and pass the ball and shoot it fairly well. Scout.com has him ranked the #44 player in the nation for 2013 and it's easy to see why. Reportedly, Austin contacted UCLA since he has a brother living in the Los Angeles area.
Howland watched D.C. Assault next, which featured Roddy Peters, the 6-3 point guard, but regrettably Peters couldn't play after just a few minutes on the court, bothered so much by his shoulder strain. Howland, then, really didn't get to see Peters.
One of the biggest match-ups of the day was California Supreme against the Oakland Soldiers, which was taken in by UCLA assistant Phil Mathews. While both teams are talented, the Soldiers boast realistically two potential Lottery picks in Aaron Gordon and Jabari Byrd, but Cal Supreme ended up prevailing, due at least in part to Miles Simon's coaching.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, the 5-8 2014point guard, sat out for Cal Supreme with an ankle injury. The 2013 UCLA target Marcus Lee, the 6-9 post, looked a bit fatigued, especially going up against Gordon and the rest of the Soldiers. The UCLA prospect on the Soldiers is 2014 forward Stanley Johnson, who has improved his stock this spring and summer, with both scouts and college coaches. Something to watch with Johnson, who is 6-5 with two years remaining in high school, is how his body goes; he's already pretty thick in his lower body. In fact, it'd be interesting to see him as a tight end.
Howland caught the game between Dream Vision (featuring Isaac Hamilton and Namon Wright) and Massachusetts Rivals, which includes Noah Vonleh, the elite 2014 post prospect and UCLA target. We didn't see either of Dream Vision's games today, but were told that Hamilton played well in the first and filled up the stat sheet in a come-from-behnd victory. DV lost to Mass Rivals, 70-49, and Hamilton had 12 points.
Howland then sat in to watch New Orleans Elite against the Ohio Basketball Club, which features Devin Williams, the post player and UCLA target. This was our first chance to watch Williams, so we'd like to see him more. He looks to be about 6-8, maybe a smidge under, and built very well. He's an average athlete, with fairly good quickness but limited lift. Now, this is the end of July, so the legs could be tired, but we had heard that this was a concern with him and we saw it also. He is fairly skilled, with good back-to-the-basket footwork and a good touch. He actually, too, made a three-pointer in this game.
New Orleans Elite has some 2014 UCLA prospects: Craig Victor, the 6-7 forward, and Kelly Oubre, the 6-5 small forward. Both are intriguing, with Victor being very athletic and aggressive around the basket. At about 6-7, he's a bit undersized, but his quickness and athleticism make him easily capable of playing around the basket. Oubre has a good lefty stroke, and moves well, while being on the bigger side of 6-5.
We were told that Jarell Martin, the 6-9 post prospect that UCLA is recruiting who is playing for Louisiana Elite, has a very good body and athleticism, while there was a bit of a question in terms of his motor. But he has the tools, if he figures it out. As we've said, we've heard that he'll probably end up at LSU.
Coach Howland cut out early of the New Orleans Elite/Ohio Basketball Club game to catch a flight for Kansas City.