Next Up: The 2015 Class.
First, you have to figure out UCLA's scholarship numbers, and that is always a bit of a dubious task because it's based on who, from the present roster, will be on the future roster. It's especially hit-and-miss trying to project the roster for two seasons down the line, like for the 2015-2016 season, which is what you have to do to determine how many scholarships UCLA will have to give to the 2015 class.
If we figure that Kyle Anderson is gone after this season, and that Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine are more than likely both gone after next season, UCLA would have nine scholarship players with four rides available.
The breakdown, by position, for 2015 would look like this:
|Bryce Alford (JR)||Isaac Hamilton (JR)||Noah Allen (JR)||Kevon Looney (SO)||Tony Parker (SR)|
|Jonah Bolden (SO)||Thomas Welsh (SO)|
|Wanaah Bail (JR)||Gyorgy Goloman (SO)|
In this graphic, it's clear that the projected roster is big heavy and in desperate need of guards and wings. We would suspect that UCLA might give out just one scholarship to a big in 2015, and quite possibly take three guard/wings.
In addition, a few things might happen:
-- UCLA could still pick up someone in the 2014 class this spring. There is still the possibility that Daniel Hamilton, the 6-6 small forward from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, could opt out of his Grant-in-Aid from Connecticut and flip to UCLA by spring. We've heard it was less likely recently, but things could change between now and April. Just speculating, it could also be that the younger Hamilton (his older brother, Isaac Hamilton, is sitting out as a UCLA freshman this season) might be waiting to see who actually goes pro on UCLA's roster this spring.
-- We haven't heard about too many other possibilities, but there is Trey Dickerson, the 6-1 JC point guard from Williston State. He is reportedly having a good freshman season, and is getting some attention, with offers from Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama-Birmingham, Washington State and others. UCLA has shown some interest to date and is scouting him. It's uncertain if Dickerson is a UCLA-level prospect; in high school you would have thought he wasn't. He wasn't really a point guard, and pretty out of control, but perhaps he has developed at the JC. He signed with Murray State out of high school, but then wasn't eligible and went to Williston. He's actually crammed in a ton of credits over last summer and this school year so he will be able to transfer after this year, and would have four years to play three. He, so far, has plans to officially visit Nebraska and UAB.
-- There is a decent possibility of a graduate transfer from a four-year school – who isn't a point guard.
-- We could see one of the bigs on the roster perhaps transferring out for lack of playing time. If so, that would give UCLA another scholarship for a big.
-- We could potentially see Noah Allen transferring out before the 2015-2015 season, for lack of playing time. That would make the backcourt even thinner, and more desperate for guards/wings, possibly needing four in the 2015 class.
The UCLA coaches have been very active in getting out during the current season to watch various prospects. They have spent a great deal of time watching local recruits; perhaps it's because, during the season, it's difficult to travel too far away, but give them credit for putting in the time with west coast prospects.
What will be very interesting is how the UCLA 2013-2014 season will affect recruiting in the 2015 cycle. In most of the pre-season recruiting updates we said how UCLA performs during the 2013-2014 season would be critical to its recruiting of the 2015 class. As of this point in time, you'd have to say the season will reflect will on 2015 recruiting. From merely the standpoint that UCLA, with this season, has clearly established itself as a program that likes to run, and that is going to appeal to recruits (and it's such a refreshing departure from the long-held reputation that UCLA was a slow-down, grind-it-out program).
Of course, there will undoubtedly be more 2015 prospects added to this list, especially during April and July. This, for now, are the recruits mainly on UCLA's radar.
Looking at the graphic above, obviously there is plenty of room for 2015 guard/wing prospects to jump on board.
The highest priority is a true point guard, but regrettably there aren't a good number of elite high-major true point guards in the west for 2015. In fact, at this point, there aren't any. UCLA could very well look outside of the west for a true point guard, but we haven't heard that they are actively recruiting any yet.
Ideally UCLA would bring in an elite true point guard, shooting guard and small forward, but it doesn't look like the availability of prospects is ideal. It might end up being a compilation of three (or four) from combo guards, shooting guards and small forwards.
Justin Simon, 6-5 PG, Temecula (Calif.) Temecula Valley. Simon was recently ranked the #1 point guard in the nation by Scout.com for 2015. We agree that Simon is an exceptional prospect, with great athleticism for his size and tremendous passing ability and vision. He does play more like a point guard than anything else, but he's still got a bit of a combo in him, too. That #1 ranking is all about his upside at the point guard position, and we agree. Simon, according to sources, is leaning toward Arizona at this time, even though they have a commitment from Tyler Dorsey, the five-star guard prospect who will want to play point guard in college. Here's the next test of the new UCLA's staff recruiting ability – whether they can wrest Simon from Arizona, or any other elite national programs. These are the type of local recruits UCLA absolutely has to keep home and get to come to Westwood.
Tyler Dorsey, 6-4 CG, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. He's committed to Arizona, of course, but we've heard it could be a bit of a bumpy road for the Wildcats to get him to stay on course until signing day next November. You'd have to still think that Arizona is almost certainly going to get Dorsey, but there's at least a minimal chance he could go elsewhere, and possibly to UCLA.
Cameron Walker, 6-6 SF, Santa Maria (Calif.) Righetti. UCLA has offered Walker, the nation's #87-ranked prospect, and the word is that UCLA is probably the leader for him. Walker is an average athlete but a good shooter, so he'd probably fit into UCLA's offense well but wouldn't necessarily boost the athleticism on the defensive side of the court.
Rex Pflueger, 6-4 SG, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. The #82-ranked player in the nation, Plueger has a good outside shot, some hops and a flashy game, but has, up until recently, been a little bit more flash than substance. His lateral quickness is a bit limited, so that limits his upside, but he's shown progress and maturity this season, displaying better decision-making and playing more under control, while looking to pass and create more for his teammates. The Bruins have yet to offer but we could see it happening during the April evaluation period.
Ray Smith, 6-6 SF, Las Vegas (Nev.). Smith is the #29-ranked prospect in the nation for 2015, with a great body, length, and athleticism. Because of that he's a very valuable player, able to guard probably the opposing shooting guard, small
Jeremy Hemsley, 6-3 SG, La Verne (Calif.) Damien. Being ranked the #54 prospect in the nation is probably under-selling Hemsley a bit. He's an exceptional athlete with the most explosive first step we've seen in many years – probably since Jrue Holiday. In fact, in many ways he's a Jrue-Holiday-play-alike. His outside shot isn't fantastic at this point, but it's decent, not broken. UCLA has yet to offer Hemsley, and he was a childhood Bruin fan. UNLV, Oregon and Washington are really prioritizing him at this point.
Roman Davis, 6-6 SF, Los Angeles Windward. Davis is an intriguing prospect, with great length and good athleticism. His offense is still developing, but he has a very good feel for the game and is an effective slasher at this point. UCLA might not get to Davis, but we could see him blowing up a bit this spring and summer and becoming a clear elite high-major.
New Williams, 6-1 SG, Santa Monica (Calif.). Williams is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. He is a very good athlete, with good explosion off the dribble and very good quickness on defense. UCLA has scouted him this season, while he has offers from Arizona State, Oregon and San Diego State. If UCLA gets Aaron Holiday there's probably no reason to look at Williams this spring/summer, but UCLA will continue to scout him.
Michael Oguine, 6-0 CG, West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade. UCLA isn't recruiting Oguine at this time, but we have to say, he's the guy we'd like them to get involved with. UCLA needs a point guard and, first, there just aren't any clearly elite point guards on the west coast besides Simon (and, as we said, he's not clearly a point guard himself). Oguine is very similar to Darren Collison at the same time in his high school development; we'd actually say that Oguine is probably more of a point guard than Collison at the same stage. They are similar in body type (even though Oguine is probably a bit taller and more filled out than Collison as a high school junior), and in playing style; Oguine has that level of quickness. So, if UCLA is looking in the west for its point guard it will have to opt for a combo guard type, and among all the combo guard types on this list Oguine is the one we think is closest to being a point guard. We doubt UCLA ever gets to Oguine, but it would be really smart right now to be recruiting him and having him as an option if it's looking like you won't get a true point guard.
Unless a post player transfers, UCLA would have, really, only one scholarship for a big in 2015. The problem with the transfer scenario is someone would have to do it this spring for UCLA to know it had that spot open to give to a 2015 big. There is the possibility that a current post transfers after next season and UCLA finds a post recruit in the spring of 2015, but that's unlikely. Or UCLA would have to recruit this spring/summer like it's anticipating a player will transfer.
We think UCLA could take two bigs if both are truly elite prospects.
Chase Jeter, 6-10 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. Jeter is a great post prospect, with a great body and he keeps growing and stretching out, with good athleticism and a nice feel for the game. He's the #18-ranked prospect in the nation, and his stock continues to skyrocket. He recently said his list includes Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, USC, UNLV, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan and Connecticut. We've heard that Duke is the leader, and now North Carolina is coming after him hard. UCLA has been on him a long time, and it could be difficult to fend off the nation for him.
Ivan Rabb, 6-10 C/PF, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd. Rabb is the new #1 prospect in the nation for 2015, and deservedly so. He's a superior athlete that keeps on getting better, longer and more skilled. The crazy thing is that he's so good and clearly still has so much development ahead of him. He has a top 12 of Arizona, California, UCLA, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State and USC.
Bennie Boatwright, 6-7 PF, Sun Valley (Calif.) Village Christian. Currently the #65-ranked player in the nation for 2015, Boatwright is a good outside shooter, who likes to face the basket, catch and shoot. He likes to play like a small forward, but being a limited athlete he'll be more of a face-up four on the next level, better suited to guarding a power forward. UCLA, Arizona, Kansas, and many others have offered.
Chance Comanche, 6-11 C, Los Angeles View Park. The #27-ranked prospect in the nation, Comanche is a young, still-developing post with some tremendous upside. Picture a young Channing Frye. UCLA has been to a few of his games this season, and has yet to offer, while Comanche has offers from Arizona, Gonzaga, Connecticut, and most of the Pac-12.
Chimezie Metu, 6-8 PF, Lawndale (Calif.). A springy post with a fairly narrow body, Metu has flashed some elite high-major moments. UCLA has seen him this season and is still scouting. Metu is ranked the #50 prospect in the nation.
D. J. Hogg, 6-8 PF, Plano (Tex.) Plano West. Hogg, the #30-ranked prospect in the nation, is another face-up four with a nice outside shot, but also will go inside and post up. He has shown legitimate interest in UCLA, and the Bruins have offered him, along with many other elite high-majors from across the country.