Hoops Eval Period Review

UCLA coaches were all over the country watching prospects during the only Spring Evaluation Period last weekend...

With so many events and prospects to watch, UCLA coaches were all over the map during the Evaluation Period that ran from Friday to Sunday.

Most of UCLA's targets and prospects were at either the Nike EYBL, which was near Sacramento, Calif., or the adidas Gauntlet, near Dallas, Tex. There were also prospects at the Jayhawk Invitational in Kansas.

Below are most of the prospects UCLA watched but, of course, this isn't a comprehensive list.

Also a related note: UCLA coaches had an in-home visit with Houston transfer Danuel House, and a source indicates that UCLA has a good chance to land the 6-6 small forward. Unless he has a waiver from the NCAA honored, House will have to sit out a year per transfer rules before being eligible in 2015-2016.

It will also be interesting to see if UCLA, with the departure of Jordan Adams to the NBA, looks more seriously at potential 2014 prospects. Adams' late announcement puts UCLA behind in recruiting 2014 prospects, since they weren't seriously pursuing many. Now, with Adams gone, look for them to scramble a bit to find some guards/wings that could immediately play next season. Elijah Stewart, the 6-4 shooting guard from Los Angeles Westchester, who was let out of his NLI to LMU, doesn't have UCLA as a priority at this point. There is the possibility of Jordan Cornish, the 6-5 small forward who was let of his NLI from Tennessee. SMU, Nebraska and Florida State are the competition.

At the EYBL:

UCLA assistant David Grace was there throughout the weekend, and then Steve Alford watched Sunday. Alford was front row for Sunday's match-up between the Oakland Soldiers and Cal Supreme.

Aaron Holiday, UCLA's committed 2015 guard, had a good showing over the weekend, averaging 19 points per game. He shot it and took it to the basket quite a bit, and showed continuing improvement in his athleticism, and played hard defensively. He played off the ball for Cal Supreme, and there's still an issue of whether Holiday will develop into a point guard. As we've said, regardless, he's a very promising, athletic prospect.

Ivan Rabb, the 6-10 post from Oakland and the #1 prospect in the country, looked impressive over the weekend, not only displaying the athleticism but more skill development. Rabb has everyone in the country recruiting him, had North Carolina's Roy Williams in for an in-home visit, and is rumored to be leaning to Arizona.

Stephen Zimmerman, the 6-11 center. Playing with the Oakland Soldiers for the first time, Zimmerman settled in and had a solid weekend.

Dejounte Murray, the 6-5 small forward from Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach, had a bit of a coming- out party this past weekend. From Evan Daniels: Murray is regarded as a top 50 prospect by Scout.com and his performance on Saturday against the The Travelers more than solidified that ranking. In fact, he's probably a tad undervalued. Murray wowed coaches and scouts in attendance with his 9-for-14 shooting and 25-point effort. Long term, Murray is a heck of a prospect. At 6- foot-5, he has wide shoulders, a lengthy set of arms, but a rail thin frame. He's also a solid athlete. On the offensive end he knows how to score and can do it in a variety of ways. In the nightcap he hit four three-pointers, dropped in a pair of floaters and had three strong finishes at the rim. Defensively he has potential, as he moves his feet well and always seems to come up with deflections.

UCLA coaches watched Murray, like every other coaching staff, this weekend, but BRO has heard that Murray could have a hard time qualifying academically for UCLA.

Bennie Boatwright, the 6-8 small forward, played one day, left and never returned. He didn't get a great deal of playing time with Cal Supreme, and not many opportunities.

Allonzo Trier, the 6-4 shooting guard from Maryland. From Josh Gershon: One of the nation's elite shooters, Trier had his jumper working on Friday night. While Murray can knock down pull-up three-pointers whenever he wants, he's also very capable of taking his man off the dribble and hitting shots from midrange or using his first step and body control to get to the basket, where he finishes very well. Trier isn't just a scorer, as he also competes hard on defense. He's one of the most productive scorers in the 2015 class.

We know that UCLA also watched:

-- Elijah Thomas, the 6-9, five-star center from Lancaster (Tex.)
-- Eric Davis, the 6-3, four-star shooting guard from Saginaw (Mich.)
-- D.J. Hogg, the 6-8 power forward from Plano (Tex.)
-- King McClure, the 6-3 shooting guard from Dallas, is set to announce his college decision Tuesday, deciding between Baylor, Kansas and UCLA. Baylor, who has recruited him a long time, is rumored to be the favorite.
-- Rex Plueger, the 6-4 shooting guard from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
-- Chimezie Metu, the 6-8 power forward from Lawndale (Calif.)

Underclassmen:

M.J. Cage, the 6-10 2016 post, looked good all weekend, active and long, and strong on the boards.

Devearl Ramsey, the 5-10 2016 lead guard, was Cal Supreme's primary ball handler, but also scored quite a bit, putting in 25 points in the team's first game Saturday. He's a stocky, strong guard, who likes to shoot it, actually making 5 of 10 from three. UCLA has made contact and we would expect the Bruins to recruit him.

Cody Riley, the 6-8 2017 post, really showed well playing in his first elite AAU event, both showing the ability to score around the basket and rebound. He also hit a couple of threes against the Soldiers Sunday. He's a gifted athlete who is very advanced for his age. He'll be considered among the few best prospects in his class nationally. Arizona, Kansas and USC have already offered.

Keith Smith, the 6-5 small forward from Seattle (Wash.) Franklin. From Evan Daniels: From Smith is already getting some serious buzz in the Northwest and he proved why on Saturday. Although Murray was the top performer on the team, Smith showed off his scoring ability. Smith made a three mid-range pull-ups and also worked in a three-pointer. Smith has good size and length from the wing perimeter and is a confident scorer with upside.

At the Adidas Gauntlet:

Jaylen Brown, the 6-6 prospect and #1 small forward in the country, had a very good showing through the weekend.

Ray Smith, the 6-7 small forward, looked good athletically throughout the tournament. There was a rumor that UCLA is among Smith's few leaders.

Chase Jeter, the 6-10 post. Rumors persist that Duke leads and that Jeter could pull the trigger fairly soon.

Tyler Dorsey, the 6-4 guard, played for Dream Vision this last weekend, along with Smith and Jeter. He's committed to Arizona, but we've heard the recruitment might not be over. Alford watched Dream Vision Friday.

Carlton Bragg, the 6-8 power forward, was one of the main reasons Alford was in Texas.

Cameron Walker, 6-6 small forward, Santa Maria (Calif.) Righetti. UCLA also went to see Walker during the Recruiting Period last week.

Underclassman:

T.J. Leaf, the 6-9 2016 power forward showed off his skills and basketball I.Q. through the weekend. The feeling is that UCLA could be close to a verbal commitment from Leaf.

At the Jayhawk Invitational in Kansas:

Diamond Stone, 6-10 center. From Rob Harrington: Stone was the day's top performer. He didn't open his game in scintillating fashion and rose to the occasion as his squad blew a huge lead, prior to recapturing the lead at the end and ultimately salting away the contest. His 36 points and 16 rebounds tell the story: He was a physical force playing very hard against an extremely gifted opponent (Josh Jackson) and made an impact on both ends of the floor. He looks more mature physically and may have gained perhaps a touch of athleticism as well, even if he never becomes a Dwight Howard in terms of explosiveness. Regardless, he looked like a top-five national prospect and reaffirmed his status within the Class of 2015.

Chance Comanche, the 6-11 center. From Rob Harrington: For skill and long-term potential, Comanche ranks fairly close to the big guys atop the Class of 2015. He has height, length, good hands and a face-up jump shot to 15 feet. He blocks shots, hits free throws and plays within the team concept. All of that is great. What he'll need to do to join them in a reputational sense is to become more aggressive and physical with opponents, because right now his willingness to bang comes and goes. He also is best when he's more stationary, as he loses body control on the move and sometimes flails on his running shot attempts. But he's also a young big man, and they frequently require more time to develop. Given that time, perhaps he'll close the gap further on those ahead of him. He easily justifies the expansive interest he's receiving from esteemed college programs.

Underclassman:

Jayce Johnson, 2016 center. From Rob Harrington: Let's be clear: There's nothing spectacular about Johnson. He lacks outstanding athleticism and hasn't score effectively while I've watched here at the Jayhawk. But he has a few things going for him, including the fact that he's huge and young. Those are two primary attributes in the eyes of coaches. Further, he carries a solidly built frame and doesn't shy away from contact and already sits down pretty well in the post. He has some length as well and utilizes his southpaw moves to put shots on the rim. Finishing remains a work in progress and so does defense — he's extremely vulnerable in pick and roll situations — but he has half of his prep career remaining to improve.

At the Double Pump Hoop Fest:

Jeremy Hemsley, 6-4 shooting guard, La Verne Damien. UCLA assistant Ed Schilling watched a few games, and in at least one Hemsley showed some considerable potential as a prospect. In one game he got it going when he didn't just block a shot, but cupped it against the backboard at the top of the square, and then proceeded to dish out assists, block more shots, put in some monster tip- dunks, play great defense and dominate the game. It will be interesting to see if UCLA recruits Hemsley after this showing.

Stephen Thompson, 6-3 shooting guard from Torrance Bishop Montgomery. Thompson showed, again, that he might be the best shooter in the west, with an uncannily smooth, quick and accurate stroke. He made five threes in front of Schilling.

Underclassmen:

Lonzo Ball, the 6-4 guard verbally committed to UCLA, flashed the athleticism and skills that have made him a top-10 national player, but his team plays so wildly it's really difficult to assess much about his feel at point guard. He does, though, have great vision and passing ability. It's a unique AAU situation -- Ball plays for Big Ballers, which is run by his parents. It'd be really interesting to see him play with an elite AAU team against elite competition.

Vance Jackson, 6-6 small forward from Bellflower St. John Bosco. He's known as a shooter, but he's not a great athlete.

Trevor Stanback, the 6-10 post from West Hills Chaminade. The sophomore post that UCLA has been recruiting didn't participate because of personal issues.


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