When Jaylen Hands showed up for the USA Basketball 16u Trials in May, he had a successful first few days, making the first cut.
However, the consistency of the 6-foot-2, 170-pound San Diego Balboa Prep point guard wasn't there after he made the first cut and he didn't make the team.
Scout's 21st ranked 2017 prospect returned to Colorado Springs in October looking to prove that he's progressed since then.
"This time I wanted to leave a mark," Hands said. "Last time the biggest thing is that I wasn't consistent so this time I tried to do a good job being consistent and getting into the lane."
The five-star prospect says he learned from his experience at USA Basketball over the summer and that it's helped make him a better player.
"I think I'm more conscious and aware of it now," Hands said. "I try to avoid silly turnovers, I stay strong on defense, pick my spots on offense and shoot at a higher rate."
There's another change in Hands since then. Over the summer, he was in the midst of the recruiting process and is now firmly committed to UCLA, something he says has helped him focus on basketball.
"That weight is off my shoulders now," he said. "At the time I didn't realize it but looking at it now, I'm so much more focused on my goal of getting to college and, after that, to the league."
Hands has several reasons he chose to make an early commitment to UCLA.
"All the point guards they've put in the league, the coaching staff, it's close to home, my parents love it and my whole family loves it," Hands said.
Joining Hands in Westwood will be several players who he knows very well in Jalen Hill, Kobe Paras, Ike Anigbogu and, potentially, T.J. Leaf, all of which were teammates of his on the Compton Magic AAU squad.
"It's good that I know who I'm playing with and have that camaraderie already," Hands said.
"Jalen Hill is a fast energy guy who is going to rebound and be active, Kobe is athletic, can shoot it and has a good body and Ike is a huge; he blocks everything. Hopefully T.J. will be the last piece."