Hoops Recruiting Update

It's only mid-July, but so much has already happened with UCLA basketball recruiting in this evaluation period. Here's the latest, with a look at UCLA's main targets and other possibilities...

UCLA, as we know, has commitments from Arron Afflalo, 6-5 SR SG, Compton (Calif.) Centennial and Jordan Farmar, 6-2 SR PG, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft.  Both are having very good summers and conservatively be consensus top 40 national recruits.  Both have a very good chance to be McDonald's All-Americans.

It has two more scholarships open currently.  One will go to a big, and one to a wing.

It's pretty certain that UCLA intends to give out another -- a fifth -- ride also (without speculating where the scholarship would come from).

The primary target for the scholarship earmarked for the big is David Burgess, 6-10 SR C, Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge. Burgess is a true low-post player whose athleticism and skills continue to improve. He's considered a top 75ish national player and has even been seen among the top 40 on one national list. UCLA, right now, looks good for him.  With his recent solid SAT score UCLA will more than likely be able to take him.  The other schools involved are Louisville, Oregon, Gonzaga and BYU.  While you might think that Louisville could be the main competition, it could come more from Oregon and Gonzaga. But UCLA, is more than likely in the pole position for him. Assistant Donny Daniels has traveled to Greece to watch Burgess on the USA Junior Team (along with UCLA player, Ryan Hollins). Burgess will switch AAU travel teams starting with the Las Vegas Big Time, playing with the Pumps #1 team, that happens to have Jordan Farmar as its point guard.  The Burgesses wanted David to play with Farmar, which is a good sign for UCLA.

The #1 target for the wing scholarship is Malik Hairston, 6-4 SR SG/SF, Detroit (Mich.) Renaissance. Hairston blew up this spring and is listed commonly among the top 20 recruits nationally. UCLA coaches are following Hairston around this summer, with assistant Ernie Zeigler watching him practice with his Detroit AAU team, the Family, before they took off to compete in the Peach Jam.  At the Peach Jam, UCLA head coach Ben Howland and assistant Kerry Keating are in attendance, and their first priority is Hairston.  As we've reported, Hairston has also become close friends with Farmar. In fact, the two exchanged jerseys at the USA Development Festival in Colorado Springs in June.   It could very well come down to how comfortable Hairston feels when he takes his trip to UCLA in late summer/early fall.  Having known Zeigler for a very long time will certainly make Hairston feel more at home, and having Farmar around will help, too.  If Hairston feels comfortable, UCLA will be tough to beat. The other school thought to be co-leading with the Bruins is Ohio State.  If he wants to stay close to home, that could be his choice.  Watch out for Kansas, though, making a strong push for him.

Farmar, in other words, could be a key factor for both Burgess and Hairston.

Maarty Leunen, 6-8 SR PF/SF, Redmond (Ore.) High,  will more than likely become the prime target for that impending fifth scholarship.  UCLA saw him at the Nike Camp, and is following him at the Peach Jam, where he has continued to impress. UCLA can't contact a prospect while he is participating in an event, but during the dead period between July 18th and the 21st, you can expect UCLA to be hot on Leunen, and formally offer him a scholarship.  Leunen will fit really well into UCLA's new system, where Howland likes the four to be able to step out and shoot.  Howland, remember, likes shooters; when he was the head coach at NAU, the Lumberbacks led the nation in three-point shooting, and he's made it evident he'd like to return to an approach where he puts a great deal of shooters on the floor, including the four.  He'll probably be a top 100 player nationally.

Other Post Possibilities:

Lorenzo Mata, 6-8 SR PF, South Gate (Calif.) High.  Quickly becoming a top 50 player on the national scene, if he had his academics straight, he'd be committed to UCLA right now.  Because of his academics, it's a longshot, but it would be up to Mata - whether he's up to the task of doing the academic work it would take to get him admissable to UCLA. 

Randolph Morris, 6-10 SR C, Fairburn (Georg.) Landmark Christian.  UCLA has pursued him since he's one of the top five centers in the country and a good student.  If Morris returns the serious interest, UCLA could get heavily involved. If Burgess commits, though, Morris is probably off the list. 

Mohamed Tangara, 6-8 SR PF, Durham (North Carolina) Mt. Zion.  It shows how good this new staff is at recruiting.  Within a couple of months of being on the job, they've lined up an official visit with Tangara, a top 40 national player. It will be a question of whether UCLA can actually take him after a look at his academics.  If they can, he'll probably move up the list of priorities, but Leunen, because of how skilled he is, could very well still be at the top of the power forward priority list.

Davis Nwankwo, 6-9 SR C, North Bethesda (Mary.) Georgetown Prep.  He has said he's narrowed his list, but if UCLA got involved, sources indicate he would probably include UCLA.  Nwanko might be a guy  UCLA would get involved with if they couldn't get Burgess, or possibly along with Burgess if Leunen didn't pan out.  He's a big body, at 230 pounds, and isn't a skill guy, but a rebounder/shot blocker guy.  Still he has good academics, which is a very needed plus in the UCLA universe right now.  The word is, though, that Stanford might not be able to recruit him because his academics are probably not quite good enough for the Farm. He said recently he loves the west coast, and lists Arizona, along with Connecticut and Georgetown, so UCLA could be a natural.

Cornelio Guibunda, 6-8 SR PF, Stamford (Conn.) King & Low-Heywood Thomas School.   A long athlete who is fairly raw offensively but is a good rebounder and shotblocker. The new staff has lined up an official visit with Guibunda.  

C.J. Giles, 6-10 SR C, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach.  He's a guy UCLA would really like to get more involved with. He's very long and has good shotblocking instincts, and looks to still be at the beginning of his development curve.  The Bruins will continue to try, but it could be a case where other schools were on him for a long time before the staff was even in place at UCLA.

Al Horford, 6-8 SR PF, Grand Ledge (Mich.) High. A bigger version of Andre Patterson, and one with reportedly good academics, Horford looked very good at Nike and UCLA will probably look into him.

Curtis Muse, 6-8 SR PF, St. Louis, Missouri. Muse was fairly unknown before looking very good at Nike. It's a good bet that UCLA will investigate him.

Marshall Brown, 6-6 SR PF, Austin (Tex.) Johnson. Brown has said he likes UCLA among others. He's so athletic he plays bigger than his 6-6 height. UCLA could get involved.


Other Wing Possibilities:

Josh Shipp, 6-5 SR SG/SF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Shipp is definitely a bigger blip on UCLA's radar now after a very good Nike camp showing.  Watch for UCLA to step up its recruitment of Shipp, especially if Hairston goes elsewhere.

Cheyenne Moore, 6-5 SR SG/SF, South Kent (Conn.) South Kent Prep. A de-commit from Georgetown, Moore was impressive at ABCD, with great athleticism and good skills. UCLA might try to get involved. 

To get more that we've recently written on many of these recruits, check out the The Story Archive.


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