July Preview: 2015, 2016 Prospects

The first July Evaluation Period begins today, and after going over UCLA's top priorities in the 2014 class, here are the 2015 and 2016 prospects UCLA will watch during the month...

The 2015 west coast class is one of the most talented in recent memory. That's great for UCLA, but it also presents an interesting dynamic on a few fronts.

First, with so much talent in the class, UCLA needs a good amount of scholarships to take advantage of it. The way UCLA's scholarship availability and needs are, however, it has to use its available scholarships to bring in a good amount of recruits for 2014, or it won't have many bodies for the 2014-2015 season. But, on the other hand, you don't necessarily want to load up in 2014, and not have as many scholarships as you need for 2015.

If UCLA gets, say, four recruits in 2014, and Kyle Anderson leaves after the 2013-2014 season, UCLA would have only three scholarships available for 2015. There is a possibility that Jordan Adams could go pro early, too. Bottom line: We have to think that UCLA will find the rides, somewhere (possibly anticipating a future transfer?), to have at least four, if not more, for 2015.

If the 2014 class UCLA gets a point guard, a couple of bigs and a wing, the positional needs for 2015 is more bigs (at least two, if not three), a point guard or combo guard, and one wing.

Most of the prospects below the UCLA staff will see during the three evaluation periods in July, with the first one starting Wednesday.

Guards

UCLA will almost certainly get a point guard for 2014, but it still would need a back-up point. A combo guard, someone who can provide solid minutes at the point, would also work for 2015.

Aaron Holiday, 6-0 CG, North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall. Ranking: #31 Nationally. UCLA Offer. Holiday is one of the best offensive players in the west, able to get by his man with ease. He would be a good fit, able to play both guard positions, and being able to come in and not have to be the starting point guard, but ease into the role, under the tutelage of a former point guard, Alford.

Tyler Dorsey, 6-3 CG, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Ranking #8 Nationally. UCLA Offer. Dorsey, kind of a bigger version of Holiday, would be a good fit alongside him. Dorsey is probably a shooting guard in college, but might project as a lead guard in the pros. He very well might be a prospect that actually does play both positions in college. If UCLA got a backcourt of Dorsey and Holiday it would be popping corks.

Michael Oguine, 6-0 PG, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade . Athletic, good body, good skills, emerging as a point guard prospect to watch for 2015.

Isaiah Briscoe, 6-1 CG, Newark (New Jersey) St. Benedict Prep. Ranking: #27 Nationally. Thick-bodied, Briscoe, though, is good at getting into the paint. Some big high major offers. He reportedly could transfer to Findlay Prep, and has contacted UCLA consistently.

Austin Armstead, 6-2 PG, Fresno Bullard. Athletic tools to work with, Armstead has a chance. UCLA has been in contact.

Kendall Small, 6-0 PG, Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View. Ranking: #12 PG (2015). Good athlete, who can score and dish. Already has offers.

Sedrick Barefield, 6-1 PG, Corona (Calif.) Centennial. A big lead guard who already has a Cal offer.

Noah Blackwell, 6-0 PG, Roseville (Calif.) Woodcreek. Big and strong, with a good handle, Blackwell has some Pac-12 interest.

Max Hazzard, 5-11 PG, Los Angeles Loyola. A bit slight physically, but he can shoot it and has a good feel. Getting Big West attention at this point.

WINGS

It's interesting: The positions that are the easiest to fill are the wings – shooting guard and small forward, since there are more of those around than point guards and bigs. But in the loaded west coast class of 2015, it's loaded with bigs, and has a good amount of point guards, but is a bit skimpy on wings. It's good, though, because if UCLA gets a SG/SF in 2014, it would need just one in 2015. Ideally, if it gets a 2014 SG, it would prefer a SF type in 2015, and vice versa.

Jeremy Hemsley, 6-3 SG, La Verne (Calif.) Damien. Ranking: #71 Nationally. Explosive athlete and slasher with great quicks and a huge upside. Already has some offers and is a bit unknown at this point. He will probably be the best wing in the west for 2015, so it'd be good if UCLA showed him a good amount of attention in July. He plays on the same AAU team as Small, so that should make it convenient.

Malik Newman. 6-3 SG, Jacskon (Miss.) Callaway. Ranking: #2 Nationally. A big-time prospect who already has an NBA body, with offers from Duke, Kentucky and others. It's early but has to be a longshot.

Ray Smith, 6-6 SF, Las Vegas (Nev.). Ranking: #66 Nationally. Smith was very impressive this spring, with a long, classic three-man's body and nice athleticism. As of right now, Hemsley and Smith could be the two best wings in the west for 2015. It'd be good that UCLA get on Smith now, in July.

Kaiser Gates, 6-6 SF, Alpharetta (Georgia) St. Francis. Ranking: #20 SF. A good athlete who flashes skills, Gates has some solid D-1 offers so far. He likes UCLA, and his father has been in contact with the UCLA staff.

Roman Davis, 6-6 SF, Los Angeles Windward. Ranking: #61 Nationally. Intriguing athlete who has a chance.

Clifton Powell, 6-2 SG, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Good athlete who is a gifted scorer.

Steven Thompson, 6-2 SG, Torrance Bishop Montgomery. Stevie Thompson's son, he's skilled and savvy, while still being a little slight and just an average athlete at this point (which is surprising, given his father). He has an offer from Gonzaga. He has said he has a strong interest in UCLA and it was his life-long dream school.

Cameron Walker, 6-6 SF, Santa Maria (Calif.) Righetti. Walker is a decent athlete who can get in a shooting groove. Cal and Oregon State have offered.

Rex Pflueger, 6-4 SG, San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) Junipero Serra. Has skills and decent athleticism. Probably not UCLA level, but someone to watch if keeps developing. Brother is a walk-on at USC.

BIGS

There probably has never been a crop of big men in the west in one year like there is for 2015. At least not in probably 7 or 8 years. Not to be too dramatic, but UCLA's recruitment of the 2015 west coast big man class is perhaps right there in terms of importance for Steve Alford's program with a point guard in 2014. It might even be more important – since this just doesn't happen very often. If Alford can take advantage of this, he has a good chance to build a strong program at UCLA. If not, well, it could be tough.

Stephen Zimmerman, 6-11 PF/C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Ranking: #1 Nationally. UCLA Offer When we saw him two years ago as an eighth grader we said he was the best post prospect in the west since Kevin Love, and it's looking like those words were prophetic. He's very athletic for his size, which makes him a tough match-up at either the 5 or the 4. He was recently crowned the new #1 prospect for the class of 2015. It's well-known he comes from a UCLA family, so UCLA has a very good shot with him. If Alford can get Zimmerman it will signify that his UCLA program is for real. You can bet UCLA coaches will be at every game in July.

Ivan Rabb, 6-9 PF/C, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd. Ranking: #3 Nationally. UCLA Offer A great athlete who continues to get better and better skills-wise, the word was that UCLA was doing well with Rabb when the new staff took over. Rabb plays with the Oakland Soldiers, a Nike-affiliated AAU program that has been hard to crack for UCLA, so this would be a considerable breakthrough. A frontcourt class of Zimmerman and Rabb would be incredible.

Diamond Stone, 6-10 C, Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican. Ranking: #6 Nationally. A big, strong center that the elite programs around the country covet, Stone lists UCLA early.

Chance Comanche, 6-11 C, Los Angeles (Calif.) View Park. Ranking: #25 Nationally. Young-looking and long and skilled, Comanche reminds you of a young Channing Frye. UCLA has already shown him a good amount of attention but hasn't offered.

Chase Jeter, 6-8 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Ranking: #29 Nationally. Springy and skilled, Jeter would be the #1 post in the west in any other year. He's a good student and likes UCLA.

Bennie Boatwright, 6-7 PF, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany. Ranking: #51. UCLA Offer Boatwright is a good shooter who is more of a perimeter guy than interior. UCLA has offered, but we have our doubts about his level and whether ultimately if UCLA will maintain their interest.

Brodricks Jones, 6-9 C/PF, Los Angeles View Park. Ranking: #18 PF. Jones is a long athlete, with some face-up skills. He hasn't developed as much as you'd like in the last year or so, but if the light turns on the potential is limitless. He says he's been offered by Arizona and Oregon.

Chimezie Metu, 6-8 PF/C, Lawndale (Calif.). Ranking: #16 Center. Athletic, with an ability to get off the floor repeatedly, when he turns on the motor he's a force on both sides of the court. Cal, Washington and others have offered.

Marquese Chriss, 6-8 PF, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove. Ranking: #58 Nationally. Athletic and springy NorCal prospect who looks young with a lot of upside, Chriss has grown quite a bit lately and could end up taller. In any other year, he'd be a top priority for UCLA.

Moustapha Diagne, 6-3 PF, Sparta (New Jersey) Pope John XXIII. Ranking: #21 Nationally. UCLA is showing interest in Diagne, who is originally from Senegal, 235 pounds and built out.

2016

These are sophomores-to-be UCLA will try to see in July: Lonzo Ball, 6-0 PG/SG, Chino Hills (Calif.) High. A long and slender guard with a terrific stroke, Ball may play the one or the two at the next level. He's one of the best scorers in the class of 2016.

Derryck Thornton, 5-11 PG, Chatsworth (Calif) Sierra Canyon. A baby-faced true point with terrific ball skills, Thornton figures to be one of the more highly recruited players in 2016. He lacks physical strength at this time, but should be fine once he matures. We had heard he wouldn't touch UCLA under the old staff.

Brandon Cyrus, 6-2 SG, San Diego (Calif.) Torrey Pines. A big-time scorer with long arms and a very good frame, Cyrus will likely be recruited by most of the Pac-12.

Michael Cage, Jr., 6-8 C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. The son of a pro, Cage, Jr. is still very raw and a long way from being an elite prospect. But he's got great bloodlines and several years to develop.

Jayce Johnson, 6-8 C Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Johnson has a terrific frame and huge feet. It's possible he isn't done growing yet. He's got a nice feel for the game, but is still growing into his body and it remains to be seen what kind of athlete he becomes.

Vance Jackson, 6-6 SF, Pasadena (Calif.) La Salle. Johnson is a very skilled forward with a nice stroke out to three-point range. He may still be growing and it's possible he ends up being a four. But he's got an advanced feel for the game and figures to be a top recruit at either forward spot.

Trevor Stanback, 6-10 C, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. The younger brother of former Bruin Chace Stanback, Trevor will be one of the top big men in the west for 2016. He has a nice little jump hook and he understands that he's a post player. He's been in contact with the new UCLA staff.

***JULY PREVIEW OF 2014 UCLA PROSPECTS***

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