Update on 2013 Hoops Recruiting

With the commitment of Allerik Freeman, and a few UCLA targets committing elsewhere, here's how 2013 hoops recruiting stands...

UCLA recruiting for 2013 has been a mixed bag to date, especially to the die-hard fans on the BRO Premium Hoops Forum. There definintely isn't a consensus opinion of how UCLA recruiting for 2013 is going, with the fans seemingly divided evenly between believing UCLA has done a good job of recruiting for 2013 and are maintaining the faith the class will finish strong; or asserting UCLA isn't doing well and has mis-fired with the 2013 class.

If we had to stoically and objectively analyze the situation as it stands today, we'd have to be a little skeptical of the recruiting results and the remaining outlook for the class of 2013.

But UCLA has a chance to finish fairly strongly.

We had expressed some concern in the spring and summer about UCLA recruiting the 2013 class, namely that they were pursuing an inordinate amount of players that they didn't seem to have a good chance of getting. Many of those national prospects that UCLA spent a good deal of time recruiting, like Tyler Ennis, Semi Ojeleye, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, BeeJay Anya, Kendrick Nunn, Kentan Facey, and Isaac Hamilton, all ultimately didn't have serious interest in UCLA.

Hamilton just recently narrowed his list to San Diego State, Washington, UTEP, Baylor and UNLV. As we maintained for a long time, UCLA was never seriously considered, which was fairly well known, and UCLA spent an enormous amount of time following him around during the Evaluation Periods.

A recruit that UCLA offered late -- Dakarai Allen -- just committed to San Diego State.

UCLA does have a commitment from Zach LaVine, the 6-3 guard from Bothell (Wash.) High, who is an elite prospect, ranked the #24 prospect in the nation.

They just recently received a verbal commitment from Allerik Freeman, the 6-3 shooting guard from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, who we admittedly haven't seen much. We've spoken with some scouts from the east coast (Freeman is from North Carolina and has transferred to Findlay Prep for his senior season) and the consensus is that he's a scorer, more of a two-guard, has been playing more and more off the ball after originally making a name for himself as a combo guard, with limited athleticism. He's ranked the #57 prospect in the national class of 2013, but his stock as dropped over the last year or so, in terms of rankings and the programs seriously recruiting him. He is a good shooter and scorer, and fits the mold of UCLA's new recruiting model.

The remaining perimeter players UCLA is still recruiting:

Rysheed Jordan, 6-2 PG, Philadelphia (Penn.) Vaux Roberts, #49 nationally. Perhaps UCLA's best shot is with Jordan, who is down to Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, and UCLA. He is visiting Maryland officially on October 12 (for Midnight Madness) and visiting UCLA officially on September 22. Any other official visits have yet to be arranged. Jordan, who is an athletic lead guard, not a true point, would vastly upgrade UCLA's 2013 class, giving it the athleticism it needs, at the very least, to defend a point guard. Remember, after Larry Drew leaves next season, UCLA won't have anyone who is truly a point guard, and even Jordan isn't a true point guard -- an off-guard who has been making a transition to playing the point. But he is athletic enough to defend the position.

Roddy Peters, 6-3, Forestville (Maryland) Suitland, #53. Peters, a developing point guard who is also making the transition from off the ball, is leaning to Maryland, which he has visited a few times. Xavier is probably running second (which he's visited), and he'll visit Rutgers September 21st. He has said he could visit UCLA.

Wayne Selden, 6-5 SF, Tilton (New Hampshire ) Tilton School. The #12-ranked player in the nation, would be a coup if UCLA could get him, but the word is that it's going to be tough against the likes of Florida, Ohio State, Kansas, Syracuse and Missouri. He has indicated before he could officially visit UCLA, but the plans haven't been made.

Brandon Austin, 6-5 SG/SF, Philadelphia (Penn.) Inhotep Instittute, #36. Austin, a very talented and athletic prospect, was once verbally committed to Penn State but de-comitted in July. He was going to visit Providence last weekend but cancelled it, and visited Georgetown instead. Syracuse and Florida are involved. He had indicated before he wanted to visit UCLA but the plans have yet to be finalized.

Darin Johnson, 6-4 SG, Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon, #83. It doesn't look good for Johnson, the Arron Afflalo-play-a-like who UCLA just recently offered. San Diego State has surged way ahead with him, especially since the commitment to SDSU by Allen, his high school and AAU teammate. SDSU, Oregon and Washington have done the best job recruiting him. He visited San Diego State on Aug. 30, will trip to Oregon this weekend, has Marquette on Sept. 20, Washington on Oct. 6 and either UCLA or Texas A&M on Oct. 20. He'll also be back on SDSU's campus for Midnight Madness.

Tre'Shaun Lexing, 6-5 SF, Tacoma (Wash.) Linclon. UCLA has also shown some interest in Lexing, but Colorado, Washington State, and Arizona State have been recruiting him aggressively. He visited Washington State last weekend, and he'll go to ASU on September 21st and Colorado on the 29th. UCLA has yet to offer Lexing, and is in the process of setting up a visit with him in October.

Post Players:

The situation with post players is considerably dimmer, with UCLA's options dwindling. The Bruins' top target, Marcus Lee, recently dropped the Bruins, narrowing his list to Cal, Louisville and Kentucky. The feeling was that Lee was UCLA's best chance for an elite big.

Devin Williams, 6-8 C, Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Academy, #91. UCLA had been leading for Devin Williams in July, but the recent sentiment is that the lead has evaporated, and the close-to-home programs Xavier and Ohio State have moved ahead. We did see Williams in July quite a bit and consider him just an okay prospect. He's a big body for a 6-7 to 6-8 guy, with some good fundamental, low-post skills, but is limited athletically. With how UCLA is doing with posts in general they need to take Williams at this point, if they can get him.

Jarell Martin, 6-8 PF, Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Madison Prep, #11. He reportedly trimmed his list to LSU, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Texas A&M, Louisville, Kansas, Alabama and UCLA. The word is that hometown LSU leads and will be tough to beat.

Jermaine Lawrence, 6-9 post, Sparta (New Jersey) Pope John XXXIII, #14. Lawrence has narrowed his list to Cincinnati, Kansas, Kentucky, St. John's, Syracuse, UCLA and UNLV. He's considered a longshot for the Bruins.

We aren't aware of any other posts for 2013 that UCLA is currently recruiting.

UCLA's outlook for post players is a bit distressing given that they are in some pretty dire need of post players in the next couple of years. UCLA, really, only has four true posts on the current roster, Josh Smith, Travis Wear, David Wear and Tony Parker, and three of those (Smith, Wear and Wear) are juniors this season.

UCLA will have at least four scholarships to give to the 2013 class, and perhaps more (if any players leave the program). We know that UCLA was originally looking to sign five, at least -- a point guard, two SGS/SFs, and two posts.

We have heard, though, that UCLA could be looking to sign upward of six, four perimeter players (PG, SG, SF), and two posts. Even though it seems like they're recruiting an excessive amount of perimeter players, they very well might take two more from the list above.

UCLA hasn't succeeded in getting a commitment from a point guard and two post players, which were the huge needsin th 2013 class, and the outlook isn't good. They could be working from the assumption that, without many true point guard prospect possibilities, the combo-types of LaVine and Freeman could function as point guards. The concern with LaVine is that, at about 6-3 right now, he looks very young and that his body will go the wing direction. Even if he could handle the point offensively he could very well struggle to guard the point guard spot.

It also very well might be a case that UCLA is looking all the way until the April signing period to complete its 2013 class.


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