First Eval Period Evaluations

Here's our latest take on some of the West Coast UCLA targets, and possible targets, after the first week of the evaluation period, including Thomas Welsh, Jeremy Hemsley and Trevor Stanback, among others...

Here's our latest take on potential UCLA prospects after the first week of the July evaluation period. Some of these players are actually being recruited by the Bruins, while others are guys that we think are good enough or might become good enough.

Thomas Welsh, 6-11 C Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. While the AAU style of play, and pace, isn't ideally suited to Welsh's game, he still showed why he's an easy call for a UCLA scholarship. He's got very good hands, good footwork in the post, a soft touch out to 15 feet or so, outstanding fundamentals and a much improved back to the basket game. He keeps the ball high on every rebound and he's become a better defender as his quickness has improved. There will be times when he extends too far out against quicker players, and he'll get beaten, but that's just a matter of coaching and understanding how he should defend. He didn't get a ton of points in the games the UCLA staff was watching, but hopefully the staff will understand that the evaluation needs to go beyond current production.

Brekkott Chapman, 6-7 SF/PF Roy (Utah) High. I only saw Chapman play one game and it's difficult to take too much from it as he was apparently coming off an illness. He didn't get anything done and had a bunch of turnovers. But putting aside that game, the issue with Chapman is he's a finesse player that doesn't really have a position. Many people project him at the four due his height, but he doesn't have the bulk, strength, or inclination, to play inside. He likes to spot up on the perimeter and shoot jump shots. He's a good, not great, shooter. On defense, he probably has a better chance to defend small forwards, although he would definitely be giving up a quickness advantage in most instances. Overall, he's got pretty good ball skills, but there are a lot of question marks if you're projecting him at the elite, high major level.

Robert Cartwright, 6-2 PG La Canada (Calif.) Flintridge Prep. Cartwright isn't really being recruited by UCLA and that's probably a mistake. Not only from the standpoint that Jordan McLaughlin and Josh Perkins are far from locks to be Bruins, but also because Cartwright is a terrific prospect. I've got the other two players slightly ahead of him, but it's quite possible that Cartwright ends up just as good in college. He was terrific in his game yesterday, knocking down shots and making good decisions with the ball. He's a very good on-ball defender and he has a knack for anticipating where an opponent is going and beating him to the spot. In addition to his physical tools and skills, Cartwright has a great makeup. He's extremely competitive and he battles on every possession. There's a lot to like about him as a prospect.

D.J. Wilson, 6-8 PF Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian. Wilson has grown about three inches in the last year and he's apparently had some injuries associated with growing pains. He's been out for quite a while and he's just now getting back on the court. He's got a young face and frame; it's possible he gets bigger still. It's difficult to judge him as an athlete, since he clearly hasn't grown into his body yet. But he's very long, moves pretty well and he's got some ball skills. UCLA isn't recruiting him and it would be hard to argue right now that they should offer him. But he has the look of a kid that might be at a whole different level once he catches up to his body and he gets some sustained time working on his game. He probably won't be an option for UCLA if he decides to sign in the fall, but he'd definitely be someone to track if his recruitment goes to the spring. He's also a 4.0 student.

Jeremy Hemsley, 6-2 SG/PG La Verne (Calif.) Damien. Hemsley was dominating in each of the games I saw him play this past week. He's a terrific scorer, with an uncanny ability to slash to the basket and finish against size. But what really separates him now as a prospect is his ability to consistently knock down jump shots. He probably shot around 50% on threes in the four games I saw him play. He's a high level athlete, with a great motor and very good defensive ability. You could easily see him defending a one, two or three at the next level. He's got a great approach to the game, routinely getting over 20 points a game and seemingly never hunting shots. Everything comes in the flow for him and, frankly, he makes it look easy. He's a good passer, with good vision, and he's ultimately going to be a point guard – the only question is whether that happens in college or the NBA. The UCLA staff saw him for the first time Sunday and one would assume that they'd offer immediately. He's the best prospect in Southern California regardless of class and you can expect his recruitment to blow up once national coaches get a look at him.

Ray Smith, 6-6 SF Las Vegas (Nev.) High. I only saw Smith for part of one game, but he was very good at the Pangos Camp and looked good here again. He's got a prototype small forward body, with length and above average athleticism. Ball skills overall are good and he's got a decent stroke that should be fine down the road. It's too early to say he's a definite UCLA-level prospect, but he's certainly on the main list of contenders.

Justin Simon, 6-4 SG/SF Eastvale (Calif.) Roosevelt. I only got a brief look at Simon, but Josh Gershon said "he looks a lot like Dakari Allen" and that appears to be a very good call. He's got the same body type as Allen, with very long arms and good quickness. He also showed some of the same ball skills, with good vision and a couple very good passes. He appears to be another wing that UCLA will want to evaluate very closely in the coming months.

Michael Oguine, 6-0 PG West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. Oguine is a sleeper that not many people are talking about as a high major, but he's got a real chance. He's got a young face, very good frame and athleticism, with above average ball skills and a good approach to the game. He's more of a scorer than true point at this time, but he showed good decision-making in the last week and he possesses all the qualities necessary to become a big-time point guard down the road. He's the most athletic point guard I've seen so far in the west for 2015 and he has a significant upside.

Josh Palmer, 6-5 SF Woodland Hills (Calif.) El Camino Real. Palmer is probably a notch below the other guys as a prospect and might be a reach for UCLA. However, he does have a good wing body, he's a good athlete and his ball skills were pretty good. One to watch next year to see if he can step up to the next level as prospect.

Lonzo Ball, 6-3 PG Chino Hills (Calif.) High. Ball put on a show in the one game I saw him play, knocking down shots from all over the court and also doing a terrific job of running his team. You don't see many point guards with his scoring ability that will also give up the ball so willingly. He does an excellent job of advancing the ball in transition with the pass. Assuming normal development, he should be one of the elite players in the country for 2016.

Trevor Stanback, 6-9 C West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. Stanback had plenty of good moments in the last week, but he's another example of a post player that looks better with his high school team. He gets more touches with Chaminade and the pace of the game is different. That being said, Stanback was tough to handle in the paint as he's developed a very nice low post game at a young age. He's got a good jump hook and he can score going to either shoulder. He still has some maturing to do physically obviously, but he's on track to be one of the elite big men in the west, and possibly nationally, for 2016.


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