Hoops Recruiting Update

SEP. 15 -- We're coming into the home stretch for 2015, and here's our handicapping of UCLA's targets, like Jaylen Brown, Stephan Zimmerman, and Ivan Rabb...

It’s coming into the final stretch for 2015 hoops recruiting, with the early signing period being Nov. 12th through the 19th.

The Bruins Commitments:

Aaron Holiday, 6-0 CG, North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall, #36 Overall, #5 PG
Prince Ali, 6-4 SG, Weston (Fla.) Sagemont Upper School, #38 Overall, #10 SG

Players Remaining on 2015 Recruiting Board:

Jaylen Brown, 6-6 SF, Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, #1 Overall, #1 SF
Ivan Rabb, 6-10 PF, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, #5 Overall, #1 PF
Caleb Swanigan, 6-9 C, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead, #8 Overall, #4 C
Carlton Bragg, 6-9 PF, Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela-St. Joseph, #11 Overall, #3 PF
Stephen Zimmerman, 6-10 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, #14 Overall, #6 C
Brandon Ingram, 6-8 SF, Kinston (North Carolina), #26 Overall, #6 SF
Brandon Sampson, 6-4 SG, Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep, #59 Overall, #18 SG
Jean Marc Christ Koumadje, 7-3 C, Lake County (Fla.) Montverde Academy, #27 C

UCLA has a total of four scholarships available for 2015, but we know that they would be willing to give out more with the theory that the scholarship situation will sort out itself by fall of 2015.

Right now, the backcourt recruiting looks solid with the commitments of Holiday and Ali. The combination of the two will upgrade the athleticism of UCLA’s backcourt. There is some question as to whether Holiday can actually make the transition to being a point guard, since he’s been trying to make that transition for a while. Ali is an athletic slasher who likes to play defense (as does Holiday). But overall, even without a true point guard, this is considered a good backcourt recruiting class – so far.

Ideally UCLA would like to get another guard/wing and then at least one big.

Brandon Ingram
Brown is the #1 prospect in the nation and a commitment from him would automatically make the 2015 class a successful one. He’s almost certainly a one-and-done, so he’d only be in Westwood for the 2015-2016 season, but with someone of Brown’s caliber, you’d take it. UCLA was leading for him coming out of summer, especially after he took an unofficial visit in early August after Adidas Nations. Since then, though, things have gotten a little hazy in his recruitment. UCLA had an in-home visit with him on Sept. 11th, and reports are things went very well. He also had in-home visits with Kansas and Kentucky, but reports were that those visits went well too. There is some talk out there that, since he’s one-and-done, he might want to stay close to home for his one college season, and that his mother prefers it. He just had an in-home visit with Georgia, and the rumblings are that it went very well, with Brown giving Georgia some strong indications. He has official visits lined up for Kansas (Oct. 10th), which is the weekend of Late Night in Phog, Kansas’s annual midnight madness event, and then Kentucky (Oct. 17th) for its Big Blue Madness. Those four schools are probably the leaders for Brown. He hasn’t arranged an official visit to UCLA. It was thought, too, that Brown would make his decision in the November signing period, but we’re hearing he could wait until spring. While previously the sentiment was that UCLA was leading, at this point, some sources close to the situation aren’t willing to handicap it.

If UCLA doesn’t get Brown, there are two guard/wings left on the board.

Ingram had an in-home visit with UCLA assistant David Grace last week and intends to visit UCLA officially, from what we’ve heard, even though a date hasn’t been set. He already visited UCLA unofficially. North Carolina’s Roy Williams had an unofficial visit with Ingram at 12:01 a.m. on September, 9th, the first day you could conduct in-home visits, indicating that North Carolina is really turning it up for Ingram. He also had in-home visits from Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina State, and has two official visits planned – to Kansas and Kentucky. It’s thought that UCLA is a longshot for Ingram, with it previously thought that Duke was the leader. Recently there is some feeling North Carolina and Kentucky could sway him. He has indicated he wants to take all of his national visits, but many believe that, in the end, staying locally (Duke or North Carolina) will win out.

Brandon Sampson released a trimmed list in mid-August of UCLA, Texas A&M, St. John’s, California, LSU and Oklahoma State. UCLA has yet to arrange an official visit with him, and he has said he might take only two official visits, during the basketball season. He’s been to LSU and Texas A&M on unofficial visits. Sampson has said he’s definitely waiting until spring to sign. Right now, the sentiment is that UCLA isn’t seriously in the mix for him.

Among the bigs, at this point, UCLA might have its best chance with Zimmerman. There has been talk out there that UCLA is coming on in the Zimmerman recruitment, but on the other hand we’ve heard from other sources that it’s still Kansas in the lead, with UNLV in second. Those three are probably the three leaders. UCLA coaches will be in his home tomorrow night, and he’s scheduled to officially visit Oct. 24th. His list also includes North Carolina and Arizona. He is conducting in-home visits with all of them, and has official visits arranged to Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona.

Ivan Rabb, Stephen Zimmerman
There has been some talk, too, that UCLA has made a bit of a comeback in the recruitment of Rabb. UCLA had an in-home visit on the first day they could have in-home visits. His lists includes Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Cal, Georgetown, North Carolina, USC and Arizona. It’s long been thought he was an Arizona lean, and there really hasn’t been any development recently to change that line of thinking. UCLA, though, will almost certainly make his final five or six and will probably get an official visit. He should announce his narrowed-down list soon. It doesn’t hurt that Lou Richie, the former UCLA walk-on, is his high school coach. He’ll probably make a spring decision.

UCLA coaches had an in-home visit with Koumadje last week, but we’ve heard he is leaning heavily to Florida State. He took an official visit there two weeks ago. If not Florida State, we had heard UCLA and Connecticut, and even SMU. Koumadje, though, almost committed to Florida State when he visited, and is close with some of the other prospects who did visit and commit. A Florida State in-home visit (and we haven’t heard when that is) could seal the deal.

Swanigan has become a huge recruiting target, and is pretty wide open, fielding in-home visits from many different programs. Michigan State might hold the pole position, since the Spartans have been on him long and hard. But he has a huge amount of suitors – Kentucky, Michigan, Kansas, Georgetown, hometown Indiana and many more. He could narrow his list (if you call shortening a list to maybe 10) within the next month. Swanigan is almost certainly going to wait until spring to decide, wanting to watch each program’s seasons.

Bragg is probably another spring decision. He, like everyone else, has recently been fielding in-home visits and, like with Brown, he’ll go to both the midnight madness events at Kansas and Kentucky. Bragg and Brown are close, so the two might influence each other on their decision.

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