July Eval Period #3: Day 3 for UCLA

UCLA offered Trey Kell, a 2014 shooting guard from San Diego, and followed a huge collection of talent in Las Vegas Friday...

Steve Alford flew into Las Vegas early Friday morning just in time to catch the game of Jordan McLaughlin, the 2014 point guard prospect from Etiwanda. McLaughlin was supposed to square off against Josh Perkins, UCLA's other 2014 point guard target, but Perkins separated his shoulder yesterday, and was in an arm sling on the bench. McLaughlin played well, flashing his athleticism and repeatedly breaking down his defenders, while also looking to pass. On his AAU team, Prodigy, he's used off the ball for a good portion of the time, which makes it a bit difficult to evaluate his point guard approach completely. USC had its head coach Andy Enfield and two assistants at the game. All the same suspects were at McLaughlin's second game of the day in the afternoon.

Before the McLaughlin game, Michael Humphrey, the 2014 post, played in the first game of the day and looked good again. At his game were Arizona's Sean Miller, Cal's Mike Montgomery, Notre Dame's Mike Brey, Oregon's Dana Altman, and USC's Andy Enfield (with his two assistants), along with many west coast assistants. According to AAU coach Kenny Mullins, Humphrey is being recruited the hardest by UCLA, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Georgia Tech and USC. As we said yesterday, UCLA is in a good position for Humphrey.

UCLA assistant Ed Schilling watched Trey Kell, the 2014 shooting guard from San Diego, with a good collection of coaches. Late Wednesday, UCLA offered Kell, after Arizona had offered earlier in the day. Kell, who is the best shooter in the west for 2014, has had a very good July and is now the target of most of the Pac-12.

Schilling then went on to watch Chase Jeter, the 2015 post player from Las Vegas who has had a good showing all July.

Jeremy Hemsley, the 2015 shooting guard from LaVerne, looked particularly good, nailing a couple of threes, taking his defender off the dribble and finishing, and doing so with a noticeable limp. There was a huge contingent of west coast coaches in attendance. We've heard that USC is already recruiting him aggressively, and he has a connection to the UNLV coaching staff.

The athletes on the Earl Watson Pangos team were very impressive, literally shutting down their opponent with presses and traps. The 2016 guard Leland Green, who is about 6-1 and very athletic, led the defensive effort, shutting down his defender consistently. 2015 wing, 6-6 Roman Davis, was also key. He can move his feet particularly well for a player his size, and if he doesn't thicken out too much will be able to guard threes and even twos in college, which make him very valuable. He threw down a couple of monster dunks on the other side of the court. His shooting has a ways to go, even though his shot isn't broken, and because of that he hasn't quite gotten a high level of recruiting attention just yet. New Williams, the 6-1 2015 guard, too, showed his high-major athleticism.

Los Angeles Rockfish, featuring 2014 prospects 6-11 Thomas Welsh and 6-2 Robert Cartwright, played a very good game in the morning that it won in overtime. Welsh missed his shots in this game, but played exceptionally well, rebounding, blocking shots, making some nice high-low passes and generally showing his advanced knowledge of the game. Cartwright had a typical game for him – with good quickness and decision-making, and then was able to break down his defender when Rockfish needed a basket. In Rockfish's second game Cartwright and Welsh were really hooking up, with Cartwright finding Welsh with sharp passes and Welsh finishing with dunks. Alford watched both of the Rockfish games Friday, and with the first one he sat directly underneath the basket, talking with ESPN's Seth Davis during the game.

We're hearing that UCLA has started to pick up its recruitment of Cartwright, having called him a few times between the second and third evaluation periods. We're also hearing from very good sources that if UCLA went after seriously they'd still have a chance, but they'd be playing catch-up, mostly to Stanford.

It's pretty much the same with Welsh, but from we've heard Cal might be leading the pack, having recruited him very aggressively for a long time. I was also told not to count out Notre Dame, with the Irish also putting in a big recruiting effort for Welsh. The fact that he comes from a Catholic family and Notre Dame has a history of developing his type of post player will probably enhance their chances.

Alford then watched the Oakland Soldiers, which features Stanley Johnson, the elite 2014 wing, and 2015 posts Ivan Rabb and Chimezie Metu. Johnson is making an effort to give up the ball more in Vegas, and it definitely adds a dimension to his game. Rabb had a couple of very impressive moments, and it's clear he's worked on his post footwork. Metu played sparingly but looked his usual springy self.

California Supreme played right after the Soldiers, and they feature 2015 forward Bennie Boatwright and 2015 guard Aaron Holiday. Holiday has played a bit out of control in the last few viewings we've had of him, and he did Friday also, driving into nowhere off balance repeatedly, and taking questionable shots. He's vastly talented, but will really need to develop his point guard skills to play at the highest level in college, and they haven't developed much this month.

UCLA coaches watched Stephen Zimmerman, the 2015 post who is the #1 player nationally in the class. Schilling watched the Eric Gordon All-Stars, which has some young prospects from Indiana, including standout 2016 guard Eron Gordon. Schilling has a connection to the Gordon family, and has worked out many of the younger prospects on the younger Eric Gordon team.

Schilling kept the Indiana connection going by checking out 2014 small forward Trevon Bluiett.

Alford and Schilling then watched Craig Victor and Kevon Looney, both nationally-ranked 2014 power forwards, and then finished off the night with another viewing of Stanley Johnson.

On Saturday, UCLA assistant Duane Broussard should be out in New York watching Abdul Malik Abu, a 6-7 power forward, and Jared Terrell, a 6-3 shooting guard, both of whom UCLA offered. With Broussard out, and Grace iwill be traveling to Orlando to watch Justise Winslow, JaQuan Newton, Reid Travis, and Leron Black. Schilling will and Alford will be in Las Vegas.

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