Hoops Recruiting News

Here are a few recruiting tidbits from this weekend's L.A. area tournaments, including some info on Stanley Johnson, Justise Winslow and Ivan Rabb...

Coach Steve Alford watched much of the same prospects Saturday as he did Friday. Here are a few things we've seen and heard: UCLA has vaulted up in the recruitment of Ivan Rabb, the elite 6-8 2015 post from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, the #2-ranked player nationally by Scout.com. UCLA's assistant coach David Grace has connections into the Oakland Soldiers in an unprecedented way for UCLA, and as of right now it's really paying off with Rabb. In fact, even though it's early, since Rabb is just a sophomore, sources close to the recruitment are indicating that UCLA is either the current leader or among a small few.

Kameron Chatman, the 6-7 forward from Long Beach Poly, could have the most upside of any prospect in the west. He might actually be approaching 6-8, with a young body that indicates he could continue to grow – and combine that with a near-point guard feel for the game. He doesn't necessarily show really well at times in AAU ball; he doesn't throw down monster dunks, but his game sneaks up on you. So, it's imperative that coaches watch him enough to see the upside. The new UCLA staff hasn't yet reached out to Chatman, and it could be a case where they prioritize other forward/wing types in the 2014 class. Alford did watch him Saturday. At this point, it appears that Washington's Lorenzo Romar has done an excellent job recruiting him and the Huskies would be the team to beat (interview on the way).

It was interesting – at the second game of the day for the Oakland Soldiers, which includes Stanley Johnson, the 6-6 small forward from Santa Ana (Calif.) Long Beach Poly who is one of UCLA's top priorities for 2014, and Rabb, there weren't many coaches in attendance. UCLA's Grace was at the entire game and Alford watched portions of the game, Arizona's Sean Miller was in attendance and there was an assistant from Kentucky.

We're hearing that USC is going to make a huge push for Johnson. We've also heard that the new UCLA staff could have to do some schmoozing of Gary McKnight, the long-time Mater Dei head coach, to make sure he's pro-UCLA, or at least not anti-Bruin. We've also heard, however, that Johnson probably won't be influenced too much by McKnight.

Johnson, as we've reported, plans to visit UCLA unofficially in early May, and we've heard that McKnight could accompany him (interview on the way).

Jordan McLaughlin, the 6-0 point guard from Etiwanda (Calif.), is, of course, another of UCLA's top priorities in 2014. Alford watched McLaughlin Saturday. We're hearing, though, that UCLA is no slam-dunk for McLaughlin and will have to do some considerable work to get him. USC is trying to make a big show for him, having its head coach and two assistants at his very first game Friday night.

Don't read into this at all, but there are plenty of very good point guard options in the west for 2014 besides McLaughlin. Robert Cartwright, the 6-2 point guard from La Canada (Calif.) Flintridge Prep, continues to emerge as an elite prospect, and he looked particularly good in his match-up against McLaughin Friday night (video is on the way). While McLaughlin is the superior prospect, Cartwright has become a viable option, and both his parents are UCLA alumni. Kyron Cartwright (no relation), the 5-10 point guard from Compton (Calif.), also has looked very good in the Pump event this weekend, and has emerged as a potential UCLA-level prospect. There is also Josh Perkins, the 6-3 prospect from Aurora (Col.) Regis Jesuit, who we know has an existing relationship with Alford, since he recruited him at New Mexico. Again, don't read into this that UCLA isn't going to get McLaughlin; we're just merely stating that, unlike in other years, the west is pretty deep for 2014 in terms of point guards.

Justise Winslow, the 6-6 small forward from Houston (Tex.) St. John's, the #1 small forward in the nation, was very impressive Saturday, while Duke's Mike Krzyzewski watched intently, and Kansas's Bill Self sat with Alford watching, next to Arizona's Miller. Winslow has continued to express interest in UCLA (interview on the way), but from what we're hearing he's Duke's #1 target in 2014. In fact, Krzyzewski, when the Houston Hoops game was over, positioned himself at the end of the court so Winslow could see him. We're hearing it's going to be extremely tough for UCLA to get Winslow, when it's competing with elite programs with established coaches. Alford watched the Houston Hoops game instead of California Supreme, which features Zylan Cheatham, the 6-7 2014 forward from Phoenix (Ariz.) Westwind Prep and Aaron Holiday, the 6-0 2015 point guard from North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall.

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