Recruiting Buzz Around the Nation

Scout.com's national recruiting experts report on the recruiting buzz from around the country, including some regarding UCLA prospects...

News regarding prospects UCLA is still involved with are in bold.

Those that UCLA was recruiting or had been mentioned with in the past are in italics.

EAST

*Right now one of the more interesting recruitments on the East Coast involves Rondae Jefferson. The talented Chester, Pennsylvania native made a visit to Arizona. As would be expected the visit went well, but no commitment was issued. Arizona, was, and still is the favorite to land Jefferson, but the other schools now have a ray of hope since he left campus without issuing a commitment.

Behind the scenes outside of Arizona, the most talk seems to center around Florida but also Temple as well as Rutgers are getting some play. What is interesting here is for a while Jefferson seemed content to make his decision in January, which was his birthday month, but he is now beginning to tire of the process. Instead the plan has now changed to Jefferson making his choice during November, which would allow him to sign early.

*This weekend Roddy Peters kicks off his official visit tour with a trip to Xavier. Right now the talk coming from people around Peters has the Musketeers sitting in second on his list behind Maryland. The Terrapins seem to be the big leader, though publically he won't confirm that. Peters is a soft spoken kid and someone who seems to like being close to home. That keeps Georgetown in the race, and UCLA does have a little bit of buzz, but right now barring a change on one of his visits it is Maryland that is in the best position.

*One of the most interesting things involves Andrew Wiggins. Right now the general consensus is at some point he will become a member of the 2013 class. Whether that is tomorrow or a year from now it is tough to say, but everyone is indicating 2013 is where he will end up. With that the two schools to watch are Kentucky and Florida State. The smart money would be on the Wildcats, who privately Wiggins seems to favor, but do not count out the Seminoles given his family connection to the school and how early than began recruiting him.

*From the top player in 2014 to the best in 2015, Karl Towns is embarking on a current visit tour to Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. All three of the schools are in the mix, and North Carolina and Duke especially are getting some play. Baylor has also made an impression on the family as have a few other schools. However the two who might seem most logical would be Kentucky and Rutgers. Kentucky is considered the early team to beat, but if indeed he wants to stay close to home do not count out the Scarlet Knights. I wouldn't expect a very quick decision from Towns, but he is taking a strong look at his recruitment already at this early stage.

*A player who is really struggling to narrow down his list is Jermaine Lawrence. The power forward still hasn't been able to get things down to whom he will visit. Syracuse tends to get a lot of talk, and then Cincinnati as well as UNLV also gets consistent mention, but Lawrence is all over the map right now. It would be absolutely no surprise if at this point Lawrence decides that he wants to wait until the spring to issue any kind of commitment.

*In the 2015 class a player who is already definitely thinking recruiting is Isaiah Briscoe. Most think Syracuse is the team to beat here considering his connection to the school with his sister going there, his friendship with Tyler Ennis, and a good relationship with the staff. Also Duke is definitely a factor as are Arizona and Rutgers. Still right now everyone seems to be chasing the Orange who have put in good early work to make themselves standout.

MIDWEST

*In terms of the nation's top overall prospect in the 2013 class, Jabari Parker nothing is too new. Parker continues to recover from his injury, and is taking the recruiting process fairly slowly. Still behind the scenes most point to Michigan State, the presumed leader, as well as Duke, but the thought right now is to not completely discount DePaul. There are some who know the Parkers well that think rebuilding DePaul's program could appeal to the family. However the clear school getting the most love behind the scenes is Michigan State, as the Spartans and head coach Tom Izzo have done an excellent job of recruiting Parker.

*Recently Semi Ojeleye narrowed his list of suitors down to Duke, Indiana, Oregon, andStanford. Many seem to think Duke would be the team to beat right now. Ojeleye likes the basketball and academic aspect, and seems to have clicked with the staff. However do not count out the Hoosiers or Cardinal. Stanford's academics are a huge bonus and he likes the West Coast, and also seems to really have liked the visit to Indiana putting the Hoosiers squarely in the mix. Oregon seems like the long shot of the four schools right now.

*Right now Demetrius Jackson isn't really doing too much talking, but he has set up visits to Illinois and Kansas. Those two schools along with Notre Dame seem to be the top tier, though ifKentucky gets serious they will be a factor, however at this point they haven't really pressed the issue. Notre Dame has to be considered the major favorite right now, but the Illini and Jayhawks are going to make them work, with Illinois especially being a school to really keep an eye on.

*An interesting situation involves James Young. The Michigan native has made no bones about it, he loves Kentucky. However where things get tricky is if Kentucky lands the Harrison twins, who they seem to lead for, and Andrew Wiggins as a member of the 2013 class, then where does Young fit in? If that happens it is tough to imagine Young heading to Kentucky. That would open up an opportunity for Michigan State to jump in and land his services, though Arizona is lying in the weeds hoping to sneak in. Still Kentucky should be considered the smart bet with Michigan State as No. 2.

*Recent Indiana de-commitment Trey Lyles is just now getting going in his recruitment. All the usual suspects like Florida, Ohio State, Illinois, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisville, Georgetown, and Kentucky have at least made some contact. Right now things are a bit odd, but it doesn't sound all that likely that he will re-commit to the Hoosiers. Now things can and likely will change in this recruitment quite a bit before the end, but that seems to be the vibe being given out right now. That said those close to Lyles tend to think he is much more likely to stay closer to home than go far away.

*The recruitment of four-star power forward Jordan Mickey. Ohio State, SMU and Louisville have received quite a bit of buzz with him recently. Some also view potentially West Virginia as a threat. All four schools have had Mickey on campus. SMU is pushing the proximity card, but it's yet to be determined if that is a major issue for Mickey.

*With Keita Bates-Diop it is still a three horse race. Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan are the only three that seem to have a shot at the moment. What is interesting here is everyone has gone from not feeling great to now all three feeling pretty darn good about their odds. Bates-Diop has a longstanding relationship with Illinois assistant Paris Parham, and that has helped the Illini, but Michigan and Purdue have so much effort into this one it is tough to make a call. Other schools remain on the list and are involved, but the trio of Big Ten schools are clearly way ahead of the rest of the pack.

*Finally there is Cliff Alexander. Right now it is looking like two schools are the big leaders. One isMichigan State and the other is Kentucky. The Spartans had the huge edge before Kentucky offered, but now it seems like a dog fight. Alexander has far and away the best relationship with Michigan State, but he loves the way things are at UK. Probably this would be too close to call right now, but the longer this goes removed from the Kentucky offer the better it would seem for the Spartans.

WEST COAST

* It's now looking like 2013 Antioch (Calif.) Deer Valley center Marcus Lee will make a decision in the spring. He told Scout.com on Thursday that late January was the goal, as he wants to get a good look at the schools remaining on his list during the season. He recently visited UCLA and from here will unofficially visit California on Sept. 1 and then take officials to Louisville on Sept. 7, Kentucky on Oct. 12, Indiana on Oct. 19 andDuke on Oct. 26, with an official visit also being planned to Kansas.

* Sept. 1 will be a big weekend for California, as not only will Lee be on campus for his unofficial, but the Golden Bears will also host Jabari Bird for an official visit and Aaron Gordon for an unofficial. Cal still remains a longshot for Gordon, but he and Bird have discussed going to college together so the Bears will try and take advantage of that. Bird's other official visits are on Sept. 8, Oregon on Sept. 22 and Washington on Sept. 29.

* On Aug. 31, Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon 2013 small forward Dakarai Allen will take his first official visit, which will be to San Diego State. The Aztecs have long been considered the team to beat, and still probably are, but UCLA has gotten back in the race since offering, while Colorado and Washington State are hanging around as well, and all four schools could end up getting officials. SDSU will try to lock Allen up on his visit and if he doesn't commit next weekend, the other schools involved are going to gain a lot more confidence than they might have at the moment.

* Can Rice pull off a major recruiting upset? The Owls will be trying this weekend, as they host 2013 Las Vegas Centennial twin guards Marcus Allen and Malcolm Allen. While Marcus is being recruited by schools such as UCLA, Stanford and Colorado, those schools haven't done much with Malcolm, and the two plan on playing together at the next level. That makes Rice a serious threat to land the Allen twins, although schools such as Harvard are also involved still.

* 2013 Encino (Calif.) Crespi point guard London Perrantes has set up four official visits: Virginia on Sept. 1, Washington State on Sept. 8, Illinois on Sept. 21 andArizona State on Sept. 28. He'll likely make a decision afterwards. Our feel heading into the visits is that the Cavaliers have a leg up on the competition.

* This will be an important weekend in West Coast recruiting, as Arizona hosts 2014 Los Angeles Loyola point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright on an unofficial visit. UCLA recently had the five-star prospect on campus, and this is a battle that has long been widely assumed to be one that comes down to the Wildcats and Bruins.

A player that is not in love with the recruiting process, Jackson-Cartwright is definitely a candidate to make an early decision and it will be interesting to see if Arizona can make any headway in that direction this weekend.

Neck and neck with Parker Jackson-Cartwright as the top point guard prospect out west in 2014 is Jordan McLaughlin, who doesn't seem as rushed to make a decision. If Jackson-Cartwright does pop early, McLaughlin's recruitment becomes that much more important for the rest of the schools out west.

SOUTH

*Jarrell Martin is an especially popular name on the recruiting trail this fall because of his outbreak and terrific play in the summer. While he has plenty of interest, don't expect a college choice from Martin any time soon, as his high school coach has told multiple outlets that he plans to sign during the last period. He recently cut his list of schools to seven -- St. John's, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Alabama, Louisville, LSU and Texas A&M. At this stage, Martin doesn't have any visits set up. Although it's pure speculation, LSU has received a lot of buzz in this recruitment and could be the team to beat here.

*Anthony "Cat" Barber's recruitment has certainly been a topic of conversation. He'll embark on four visits in September and then we'll likely see a decision from him. Kansas gets the first trip, followed by Louisville, North Carolina State and Alabama. At this point, those are the only schools involved in his recruitment. While there has been talk of Barber and AAU teammate Troy Williams playing together in college, they aren't taking college visits together.

*Top 50 power forward Austin Nichols is working on setting up his college visits. He recently sliced his list to six – Duke, Virginia, Tennessee, Memphis, Auburn and Vanderbilt. He's planning to visit UVA the weekend of September 8th and then Duke the first weekend of October. Behind the scenes, Tennessee is believed to be the favorite. His twin sister is enrolled there and they are extremely close. There's still some things to play out though, as he wants to take official visits to most of the schools left on his list.

*Following a breakout July, Riverview (Fla.) Providence standout Grayson Allen began reeling in college interest. That led to interest from the likes of Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Purdue, Texas, N.C. State, Indiana, Alabama, UNC and Duke. Allen recently visits Florida State and is expected at Florida this coming weekend. While it seems relatively early considering the process just started for Allen, both Florida schools seem to have positioned themselves nicely and the vibe I get is he would like to stay somewhat close to home.

*One of the top guards in the country -- D'Angelo Russell -- certainly has his fair share of college interest. Among the schools involved in his recruitment are Ohio State, Missouri, Xavier, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville. Russell has already taken unofficial visits to all of the schools involved, but that doesn't mean he's in a hurry to knock out a decision. While Russell is going to school at Montverde (Fla.) Academy, he likely will return closer to home (Louisville) for college. At this point, Louisville nor Kentucky have necessarily prioritized him, which opens the door for the other Midwest schools to jump in a little more.

*2014 point guard Joel Berry has quite the offer sheet. Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Marquette, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Ohio State and most recently North Carolina have offered the five-star recruit. While the local schools are all over him, Berry appears to be open to go anywhere for college. He's yet to set up any college visits, but he will likely take some unofficial visits this fall.


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