Update on UCLA in Eval Period

UCLA coaches were out across the nation watching prospects during the second July Evaluation Period, and there were plenty in one location in L.A. Thursday...

UCLA coaches were out across the country Thursday, with Steve Alford at the Nike Global Challenge in Washington D.C., Ed Schilling in Los Angeles at the Battle at the Beach, and David Grace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the Under Armour Summer Jam.

The following UCLA prospects were in D.C.: Rashad Vaughn, 2014 SG; Stanley Johnson, 2014 SF; Reid Travis, 2014 PF; JaQuan Newton, 2014 PG; Kameron Chatman, 2014 SF; Ivan Rabb, 2015 PF; Isaiah Briscoe, 2015 SG; Jabari Craig, 2015 C.

Travis revealed Thursday that he will visit UCLA officially August 31st, to attend UCLA's opening football game against Nevada. Travis is being recruited by many programs for football, too, as a quarterback.

These UCLA prospects were in Milwaukee: Myles Turner, 2014 C; Stephen Zimmerman, 2015 PF/C; Namon Wright, 2014 SG; Derryck Thornton, Jr., 2016 PG; Kevon Looney, 2014 PF; Malik Pope, 2014 SF; D.J. Wilson, 2014 PF; Austin Armstead, 2015 PG; Isaiah Whitehead, 2014 SG; Brekkott Chapman, 2014 SF; Chase Jeter, 2015 C; Leron Black, 2014 C.

Today (Friday), Grace remains in Milwaukee, while Duane Broussard will be in Dallas, Texas, for the Great American Shootout, which features just two UCLA prospects -- 2014 PG Josh Perkins and 2014 post Michael Humphrey.

Coach Alford has moved on to Milwaukee, to join Grace.

Yesterday, at the Battle at the Beach, this is what assistant Schilling saw:

Trevon Bluiett, 2014 SF: Bluiett is on loan this weekend to the Indiana Elite from his team, the Spiece Indy Heat, specifically to take a trip to Los Angeles. It appears Bluiett has some connections with the UCLA staff, and he's a very legitimate possibility for the Bruins, beyond just being Schilling's former high school player. The issue is whether he is a UCLA-level prospect. He's about 6-5, but doesn't have a great body. To his credit, he's lost some weight since we saw him in spring, but even with the weight loss, it's not a great basketball body. He's not even an average athlete, especially for a top 50 national prospect. His forte, of course, is as an outside shooter and, admittedly, he didn't get too many clear opportunities playing with an unfamiliar team. But when he did, his shot is a low-slung set shot. We know he can really get hot shooting in AAU ball and high school, but have to question whether that shot is viable in college. Even so, even if you concede he's going to be a great outside shooter in college, the lack of athleticism makes you question if he can be competitive at the high-major level. He's obviously highly coveted by many programs across the country, like Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Louisville and others. As we said, we think UCLA has a legitimate shot with Bluiett.

Jordan McLaughlin, 2014 PG: He played decently, getting into the lane fairly easily and trying to find his teammates on the break. He still seems to lack the explosion in going to the hoop that he had last summer. But we like how he made an effort to control the game as a point guard, set the pace, find his teammates, and play within himself.

Robert Cartwright, 6-2 2014 PG: Cartwright didn't have a great showing Thursday. In Rockfish's first game, the coaches chose to give their bench a lot of time, so he didn't play much. In the second game, he was clearly bothered by the Louisville Magic guards' high level of athleticism. He started off hitting a couple of nice threes in the flow of the game, but then was locked down on offense to an extent, and really challenged defensively. He was able to keep the Louisville guards in front of him for the most part, and he was clearly working hard to do it.

Thomas Welsh, 6-11 2014 C: Welsh also didn't get very much playing time in his first game, but then in the second flashed why he's considered a top post prospect by many coaches. He has good hands, and those help him to rebound his area with ease, but he also catches in the post very well, and keeps the ball high and fluidly puts it back. He made a couple of turnaround baseline jump hooks that are just not easy shots.

Milik Yarbrough, 6-5 2014 SF: He plays on the Indiana Elite team and said that UCLA is starting to show him some interest. Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and DePaul have offered. Yarbrough is a big-bodied small forward who has some quickness, and definitely plays physically. He's best mixing it up within 15 feet of the basket, especially rebounding and defensively, but also showed a penchant for scoring.

Chance Comanche, 6-10 2015 C: Comanche was probably the best non-senior prospect at the event. He is all of 6-10 and looks to still be growing, and his game continues to improve seemingly with every outing. He has really gotten very comfortable in the post, and has developed some nice footwork to get off a shot. If he's this good now, it's exciting to think about what he's going to be like when his body matures and he grows into it.

Justin Simon, 6-4 2015 SG, Temecula (Calif.) Temecula Valley: Simon is probably right behind Comanche in terms of the 2015 prospects at the event. Simon is a long, great athlete who impacts the game on both sides of the court. Offensively, he's a good ball handler while having very good vision and passing ability. On defense, he has very good lateral quickness that enables him to guard just about any perimeter players.

Aaron Holiday, 6-1 2015 CG: Holiday didn't have a great day Thursday, but he still showed why he's such an elite prospect. He was more often out of control driving the basket, but the athleticism he showed in being able to do it, even if out of control, is significant. We think he might have grown, too, looking more 6-1ish than 6-0.

Brodricks Jones, 6-9 2015 PF: Jones still looks the part, with a great body and the ability to run like a deer. He just hasn't developed as a basketball player much. He's more active on the boards, and is being aggressive on the offensive boards. But unlike Comanche, for instance, he just hasn't advanced in his skills.

Bennie Boatwright, 6-8 2015 PF: Boatwright is a legit 6-8, and clearly has a good stroke from the outside. But after that, there are some questions. He has an average body and athleticism. He isn't an inside player, far more comfortable to float on the outside and hunt for shots. If his shot isn't going down there isn't much else he can bring to the floor. UCLA has offered, as have other high-majors.

Roman Davis, 6-6 2015 SF: Davis has a chance, legitimately 6-6 and maybe taller, with a long, very young-looking body and face, while showing some flashes of athleticism. There were a couple of times where he took his man off the dribble and exploded to the hoop. His shot is still a work in progress, but this is a guy you could see a year from now being a legit 6-7 small forward with high-major athleticism and some decent developing skills.

T.J. Leaf, 6-8 2016 PF: UCLA just offered Leaf, and he's a promising prospect. First, though, make no mistake: He's a power forward, not a wing. He's a true 6-8, and if he's this big as a sophomore-to-be, he, well, isn't getting smaller. He's not a wing now, so we can't see how when his body thickens out he somehow becomes a wing. And that's fine, because he has a chance to be an elite high-major as a power forward. He has some nice athleticism and explosion, and has the ability to play above the rim and finish. He also showed a nice feel around the basket. He has a long ways to go, and hopefully he retains his athleticism as his body is destined to mature. But it will be interesting to watch him develop.

No Shows: 2014 C Idrissa Diallo; 2015 CG Tyler Dorsey; 2014 C Jacob Hammond; 2015 PF Chimezie Metu.

Pac-12 programs with head coaches at the event were USC, Washington, Arizona State and Cal.

One thing has to be said: There is a clear drop-off in the quality of evaluations being done by college coaches. It's been degrading some over the last couple of years, but we are really seeing it in this July Evaluation Period. Perhaps it's because coaches have less time in the Evaluation Periods, perhaps because so many prospects are spread all over the country and coaches get less chance to see him, or perhaps it's because many college coaches flat-out don't spend their time at these events evaluating but looking down at their smart phones or b.s.ing with their fellow coaches. It could be because today's assistant coaches don't generally pay their dues like they did 15-20 years ago, and in doing so don't really learn the craft of evaluating. But it's clear that the quality of evaluations across college basketball has plummeted. We are hearing far more often about coaches mis-evaluating players, and we're not talking about being off just a little but being truly far off, going against what's generally accepted by many of the best scouts who have seen the prospects far more often. There are also far more discrepancies in projecting the level of prospects. Many times this has led to coaches being too quick to offer after a prospect has one good performance in an AAU event. It's just something to note.


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