In two years, Tony Parker will be the only real post player on the roster. You usually like to carry up to six post players in any given year, so UCLA has a challenge ahead of itself in the next couple of years -- probably needing to get at least four post players in the recruiting classes of 2013 and 2014. The problem is that those two classes are almost bereft of post players on the west coast, and it doesn't necessarily look deep nationally.
For 2013, the pickings are slim.
Marcus Lee, 6-9, Antioch (Calif.) Deer Valley, is UCLA's prime post target. He's a very athletic big man, who shows signs of some offense, which makes him highly coveted. We've heard that the Bruins have been going all-out for him, and a UCLA coach was at just about every one of his games in July. UCLA is supposed to be doing well with him, but we've heard they're at least third behind Cal and Duke. Cal has an advantage being the hometown school, and Lee has had a relationship with the Cal staff for a long time. Duke is attractive being the nationally elite program. So, UCLA has a tough road with Lee.
Devin Williams, 6-8, Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Prep. Williams is a physical post, with a well-built body, who does the physical work and has good footwork around the basket. He's limited athletically, with a limited amount of lift, but he's the blue collar guy that every program can use. UCLA is doing very well with him; in fact, we had heard that UCLA is leading for him. Xavier, his hometown school (he's from Ohio), is supposed to present the biggest threat.
Jarell Martin, 6-8, Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Madison Prep. Martin is a potential pro, with all the physical and athletic tools. He's still a ways away from getting the mental approach to the game, and needs some coaching, but in a year when there just aren't many posts it's easy to see why many elite high-majors covet him. There could be some academic issues, and we've heard that LSU is probably the clear leader and will be hard to beat for him.
BeeJay Anya, 6-8, Hyattsville (Maryland) Dematha Catholic. The #1-ranked center in the nation, UCLA has been on him for a long time, but fell out of favor a bit last winter and spring. They've been trying to get back in it but it's a longshot.
Kentan Facey, 6-8, Brookville (New York) Long Island Lutheran. A long but thin power forward type, Facey is impressive, with good athleticism and quickness and a motor that won't stop. He has a good natural feel for the game, and you could see with some natural development and good coaching that he could be an elite college power forward. Originally from Jamaica, he's also a very good student, so academics will play a part in his college decision. UCLA got on him in July and is trying, but the word is that there are some other schools that are ahead of the Bruins. We have an interview on the way.
Karviar Shepherd, 6-8, Arlington (Tex.) Grace Prep. Shepherd is good physically, with a good body, weighing about 210 pounds right now but with a frame that could easily get to 240. Athletically he won't jump out of the gym, but he has very good, quick feet, which enable him to do many of the things that Ben Howland wants his posts to do -- like hedge a screen. In fact, in one game in which Howland was watching, Shepherd hedged a few screens really well, probably better than any UCLA post has done in the last three years. He also took a charge. And he plays with a constant motor. So, he's a really good fit for Howland, except in terms of academics, which we've heard could be a stumbling block. In fact, if you don't hear UCLA mentioned with Shepherd in August it will be because of academics. It's a shame, too, since we heard that Shepherd had UCLA at or near the top of his list.
Tosin Mehinti, 6-9, Decatur (Georgia) Christian Academy. Originally from Nigeria, Mehinti has a great frame and moves very well, but is raw, like most African players. UCLA had been recruiting him pretty strongly until this Evaluation Period, when it seems the interest waned some.