2014 Hoops Recruiting Update

It's less than two months before the Early Signing Period, and UCLA has some needs to fill in the 2014 class. Here are the remaining options for the Bruins...

UCLA recruiting has been hectic as of late. For the 2014 class, the Bruins got a commitment from Indiana small forward Trevon Bluiett, missed on their point guard targets, but then got a commitment and enrollment from 2013 shooting guard Isaac Hamilton, who had signed a NLI for UTEP.

With Hamilton's addition to the program, UCLA then has 9 on its roster for the 2014-2015 season (we're not counting Kyle Anderson, who has said clearly that he's going to the NBA after this next season). That leaves 4 scholarships open. Also, we've heard that there is a chance that Jordan Adams could leave after this next season, if he performs well this season and feels he would get drafted at an acceptable level. There is always the possibility of transfer, too. So, as of now, UCLA has at least four more scholarships to give to the class of 2014.

The projected roster, at this point, is heavily weighted toward wings. If everyone is on the roster that is projected to be for 2014, UCLA will have seven shooting guards or small forwards. They are: Norman Powell (SR in 2014), Jordan Adams (JR), Zach LaVine (SO), Noah Allen (SO), Bryce Alford (SO), Isaac Hamilton (SO) and Trevon Blueitt (FR). Even though it's asserted that Alford can play point guard, and Hamilton's long-time intention is to play point guard, there isn't a true point guard on the roster at this moment. There are also just two bigs: Tony Parker (JR) and Wanaah Bail (R-FR?).

Clearly, UCLA's primary needs are point guard and bigs, as they were heading into recruiting the 2014 class.

At this stage, we haven't heard that UCLA is specifically seriously involved with a 2014 point guard. The theory would be to see if anyone emerges between now and spring and check on the JC ranks.

At wing, UCLA is done with its recruiting except for Justise Winslow, the 6-5 small forward from Houston (Tex.) St. John's. Winslow is the #9-ranked player in the nation, and would be a huge get for the Bruins. We've reported previously that UCLA has some "ins" with Winslow. First, his brother lives in Los Angeles, and Winslow loves L.A. Secondly, there is a connection between Steve Alford and the Winslow family that precedes Alford being hired at UCLA. With these established connections, UCLA has a chance with Winslow, being among his top five or so schools he's considering. He officially visited Texas A&M Sept. 14th, Florida last weekend and he'll be at UCLA September 27th. It's believed Duke and Arizona have been two of the stronger players for Winslow, and he's expected to officially visit both before deciding. He also has offers from Kentucky and Kansas, and there is a thought that possibly one of those could sneak in for an official.

UCLA needs two bigs and it's still involved with several for 2014.

This weekend UCLA will host Thomas Welsh, the 6-11 prospect from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. It's a crucial visit for the Bruins, since Cal has been recruiting Welsh longer and he seemingly has a more established bond with the Bears. He visited there last weekend. There were some rumblings that UCLA was doing better with Welsh heading into the UCLA visit, but recently we've heard that it's still going to be tough to get him away from Cal, while Stanford is also going to be a threat for him. He also has an official visit planned for Colorado October 4th. If UCLA could nail down Welsh this weekend with a commitment that would be a huge accomplishment in recruiting the 2014 class, getting one big in a year it desperately needs them. It would be a far better situation having one big committed for the early signing period in November, and then being able to wait until spring to see if they can get another, rather than still needing two in spring.

Michael Humphrey, the 6-9 prospect from Phoenix (Ariz.) Sunnyslope, is the other primary big target. UCLA had been leading for him, but recently we've heard the race has gotten far more competitive. In fact, the word is that Stanford and Arizona have emerged as the frontrunners for him. Arizona, remember, has never missed on an in-state prospect it offered and wanted. Humphrey took an unofficial visit to Arizona a week ago, and will officially visit UofA October 19th. He has already visited Vanderbilt (Sept. 7), and has plans to visit Stanford (Sept. 21), Notre Dame (Sept. 28) and UCLA (Oct. 12) before the Arizona official visit. He's doing all of this while playing quarterback on his football team. He has maintained that he'll take all of his visits before he decides.

UCLA is still trying with Kevon Looney, the 6-8 power forward from Milwaukee (Wisc.) Hamilton, the #14-ranked player in the nation. Alford had an in-home visit with the Looneys last week, and the Bruins are trying to get an official visit out of him. He had said previously he intended to visit UCLA. He officially visited Duke Sept. 9th and Florida August 30th. He's also still considering Tennessee (which has some connections to Looney), Michigan State and hometown Wisconsin. The word is that Duke is the leader at this point.

As we reported yesterday, UCLA has started to recruit Josh Martin, the 6-7 power forward from Bothell (Wash.). He's the former high school teammate of Bruin freshman Zach LaVine. UCLA hasn't offered, but he said that Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Florida State are the main schools currently recruiting him, and that FSU was standing out, because that was the only school he's officially visited. He believes UCLA will offer and intends to visit UCLA in October. It's believed that, if UCLA offers, they'd be the clear leader for Martin. Martin is considered a lower-end of the high-majors/mid-major, and UCLA has him ready in case other bigs don't materialize.

There is also Idrissa Diallo, the 6-8 post from Los Angeles Cathedral. UCLA offered Diallo early, but he then was slowed by injury in spring and summer and UCLA tended to cool on him a bit. As of now, Cal has maintained consistent recruiting effort with Diallo, and he intends to trip to Berkeley October 19th. Diallo would be another in the vein of Martin, an option to possibly go to if need be.

UCLA has been trying with Jonah Bolden, the 6-9 power forward originally from Australia who is at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. Bolden shot up the prospect board after a great showing in August at adidas nations, which garnered him interest from many big-named programs, like Louisville, Arizona and Michigan. The Wolverines have a long-time connection to Bolden and are considered the leader.

If UCLA doesn't get at least two bigs signed in November, it will keep recruiting the 2014 post class through spring, watching for any post prospects to emerge.

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