July Eval Period #3: Day 1

Of course, Las Vegas was loaded with UCLA prospects, and Stanley Johnson and Myles Turner fared well in front of UCLA coaches...

UCLA assistants David Grace and Ed Schilling saw a good amount of prospects Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

With both Grace and Schilling initially watching, one of the biggest match-ups started off the night at the Adidas Super 64, with 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman facing 2014 power forward Kevon Looney. The two didn't match up all that much, and Zimmerman didn't play well, looking fatigued. It's clear why Looney is considered the #9-ranked player in the country. At about 6-8, long and athletic, Looney also has a good developing skill set facing the basket. He thinks he's a small forward, as most post players do, but he can actually bounce it a couple of times effectively. His shooting ability around the basket is still raw, but he knocks down a fair amount, with an effective fall-away baseline jumper that is near-indefensible. He also hit a three-pointer, and missed a couple of others, but it's clear he's comfortable looking to shoot from the outside. Defensively, though, he's strong around the basket, with good feet and an ability to get off the floor quickly for blocks and rebounds. If UCLA could get Looney it would be a clear recruiting coup (a recruiting story on Looney is already on the front page).

UCLA assistant Grace checked out elite 2014 post Goodluck Okonoboh for a moment.

Schilling stayed at the Adidas location, and watched Jaylen Brown, an elite 2015 wing from Georgia; Trevon Bluiett, the 2014 small forward from Indiana; Carlton Bragg, the 2015 post from Cleveland; Jalen Coleman, the Indiana 2015 shooting guard; and then Cameron Walker, the 2015 smalll forward from Santa Maria, Calif., and the 2015 point guard from Coronal Centennial, Sedrick Barefield.

Grace went on to the Fab 48 across town, and watched:

Stanley Johnson, the 6-5 elite 2014 wing, playing with his high school team, Mater Dei. Along with Grace, watching Johnson was Duke's Coach K, Kentucky's John Calipari, and Sean Miller from Arizona, along with a good collection of other head coaches and assistants. Johnson showed well, displaying a nice passing instinct on the break and the explosive hops. Also in the game playing with Mater Dei were 2015 shooting guard Rex Pflueger and 2016 post Michael Cage. Cage is about 6-7, with a good, long body, and was the most active we've seen him to date.

Zimmerman then hopped teams, moving over to the Fab 48 to play with Belmont Shore, teaming up with 2015 guard Tyler Dorsey, playing against elite 2015 wing Malik Newton. You would think that Zimmerman might look worse, playing a second game within a couple of hours, with a team he doesn't know that has a habit of shooting the ball quickly, but he fared pretty well, getting some opportunities in transition to show how well he runs and finishes. On the other court was New Williams, the 6-1 2015 guard from Santa Monica, who is clearly an elite athlete, and has a very good motor, but is still raw and developing his skills. His jumper is coming along, with a good-looking stroke, and he's comfortable pulling up for a mid-range. The issue will be whether Williams can transition into being a point guard, because with his athleticism, and ability to guard, he has a chance to be an elite prospect at the position.

Then there was perhaps the biggest match-up of the night, with 2014 center Myles Turner, who is the #5-ranked prospect in the nation for 2014, going head to head with the #1 prospect, Jahlil Okafor. Turner is listed in our database at 7-0, but he's closer to 6-10; in fact, Okafor, who is listed at 6-10, has him by about an inch. Turner looked skinny compared to the 260-pound Okafor, but he bodied-up well defensively and didn't allow Okafor position easily in the post. Turner, too, as a shot-blocking threat, made Okafor alter his shot some. Turner got in some foul trouble, so spent some time on the bench, but he had enough floor time to show a good instinct offensively; the ball didn't go in on his turn-around jump hooks, but he took the shots fluidly, with good footwork. He also hit a three-pointer with a good outside stroke. He's clearly a big-time prospect, and would be a big get for the Bruins. Of course, the game drew all of the biggest coaching names in college basketball.

On the adjacent court was Isaiah Whitehead, the 6-3 combo guard, going up against the 6-5 shooting guard Rashad Vaughn, both of whom UCLA is recruiting. Whitehead was very impressive, looking like the transition he's trying to make to point guard has a chance. His ball-handling is solid, and could definitely tighten up, but he showed good decision-making while making the smart, easy pass to set up his teammates and lead his team to a win. He also has a very pretty outside jumper. His body is just okay, being a little smallish for a shooting guard and, with his size, he could struggle matching up against smaller, quick players as a college point guard. But defensively he looked like he had good lateral quickness, was easily able to stay in front of Vaughn, who has a quick first step. He probably has a future as a pro point guard. Vaughn played a bit sloppily, turning the ball over a number of times with some pretty loose ball-handling, but he flashed the upside, and it was clear why he's such an elite prospect, with a special combination of athleticism and skills.

UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford was in Florida for the National Super Showcase, where 2014 point guard JaQuan Newton, 2014 post Leron Black, and 2014 power forward Reid Travis were competing. Travis had 31 points and reportedly looked very good. He has had a good July and his recruitment has been kicked up a notch, with Duke having offered. Alford is expected to make it to Las Vegas by Saturday, with Grace then taking his place in Orlando.

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