How have UCLA commits performed during 2015-16 basketball season?

Jan. 5 -- UCLA has several committed players in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 classes playing high school basketball. Here's an updated evaluation on the future Bruins after watching them over the last month and a half...

Chino Hills is one of the top teams in high school basketball and Ball is without a doubt the engine that makes the squad go. Ball is pretty inarguably the best passer in high school basketball and one of the top prep passers in recent history. His ability to make pinpoint outlet passes from either hand is a major difficulty for opponents to gameplan for. Ball is also a very good rebounder for the position and a much improved ball handler.

Ball has a unique stroke and in turn he's a streaky long distance shooter, which is amplified in Chino Hills' system where there's no such thing as a bad shot, even from 30 feet. He should be a much more efficient shooter when being reigned in a bit at the next level.

Chino Hills does a lot of trapping and Ball picks up steals in double teams, using his length to frustrate help side drivers and simply by letting his man beat him and then knocking the ball out from behind him. He has the tools to be a good on the ball defender with college coaching but he plays in a unique system where on the ball defense isn't mandatory.

At the next level Ball's elite vision is going to be a huge weapon for UCLA. The Bruins will be extremely difficult to gameplan for and teams will need to have a defensive strategy just to limit Ball's effectiveness as a passer, especially from across the court.

Steve Alford is receiving one of the most unique players in the country and it will be interesting to see how he uses him, especially given the offensive weapons that Ball will be surrounded by.

Leaf has long been one of the most skilled players in his class and has lived up to that reputation this season. He has very good size for the power forward position at 6-foot-10 and is a matchup problem due to his ability to face up from midrange and post up.

He's a terrific passer and plays unselfish basketball, often willing to give up decent looks if a teammate has something better.

Leaf rebounds his area well and gets a decent percent of his points on offensive rebounds. He's just okay athletically and defensively there will be opposing fours who give him trouble at the next level, but he brings enough offensively to live with any concerns on that end.

Offensively he's polished enough where he should be able to step right in and help UCLA right away.

Anigbogu, who age-wise should be in the 2017 class, has made another jump as a prospect and is now very much in the running to be moved up to five stars when Scout finalizes its 2016 rankings. At 6-foot-10, Anigbogu has almost an ideal frame for a center, with wide shoulders, very long arms, big hands and a chiseled frame.

The progress in Anigbogu's body and game have been almost monthly for the last few years. He's become an elite defensive player whose size, length, toughness and athleticism blocks and changes several shots every game. Everything that he does well defensively translates to the next level and as good as Thomas Welsh has been offensively for the Bruins, Anigbogu should change the game in a similar way on the other end of the court.

Anigbogu has always been further ahead defensively than offensively and the remains the case, although he has shown progress here. He has a developing hook shot and his footwork has gotten better. He's an aggressive finisher and tries to dunk everything around the rim. His hands are just decent, so he does have the tendency to drop entry passes he should catch and not finish after contact.

The good news for Anigbogu is that he likely has a year behind Welsh to continue to develop offensively, before he's counted on by the Bruins. If he continues to improve at the same rate, he should be plenty ready to fill in for Welsh should he go pro after his junior year.


Hands transferred to San Diego Balboa Prep from Chula Vista (Calif.) Mater Dei in the off-season and, with Scout's top 2017 prospect DeAndre Ayton subsequently transferring to Phoenix Hillcrest Academy, it's left Hands on a team without a ton of talent. Hands is being forced to shoulder a lot of the scoring load for his new team, but that's never been an issue for him.

The five-star point guard is much of the same player he was in the fall with USA Basketball. He has good size at 6-foot-2 with decent length, changes speeds well and does a nice job of mixing creating and scoring.

The game comes very easily for Hands and he's not an overly vocal or emotional player; he has the same demeanor almost regardless of the situation. He's a very capable shooter from both three and midrange, while he finishes with both hands in the paint and does a good job using the glass.

Hands has the handle and vision you're looking for out of the position and his passing ability along with his midrange jumper will make him tough to account for in pick and roll situations.

He does tend to be turnover prone and can take plays off, while he can also increase his intensity on defense, where he has the physical tools to be a good defender isn't yet consistent.

How Hands improves in those areas will dictate his ultimate success, but from a talent perspective he has all the ability to end up a very successful player at UCLA.

At the beginning of the season, with Anigbogu manning the paint for Corona (Calif.) Centennial, Hill played at the same time at the four and it wasn't ideal for the 2017 prospect, who age-wise should be 2018.

Anigbogu has been out over the last couple of weeks due to a death in the family, which has meant Hill has been the team's lone five and he's flourished in that role, showing a big jump in progress since this summer; maybe the most Hill has improved in any similar stretch since he arrived in high school.

Coming into this season, there were some concerns with Hill's progress offensively but he's answered them over the last couple weeks. He's playing tougher and finishing with confidence, showing better post moves, including a hook shot that's now falling.

Hill has always been better on defense than offense but he's making progress defensively. He's rebounding outside of his area, blocking shots and playing tougher on the ball defense.

Given that Hill is young for the class and just now turning the corner from prospect to player, it's still too early to project his role at UCLA. However, he's giving every reason to believe that ultimately an Anigbogu/Hill duo at the five will be very sufficient for the Bruins in the future.

The middle Ball brother is an extremely strong forward who may be able to help the Bruins as a three-point shooter and defensive rebounder. He takes a lot of shots for Chino Hills but when he's feeling it he can put up points in a hurry from beyond the arc. Ball doesn't have a true position to defend at the Pac-12 level but his three-point ability is a valuable asset.


It's way too early to know what kind of prospect the youngest Ball brother is. He's a 5-foot-10 point guard who is a capable shooter, ball handler and passer, but his ultimate height will play a big role in what kind of prospect he is, as will the development of his skill set, as is the case scouting almost anyone his age.

* Scout hasn't seen Kobe Paras yet this season, as he's no longer playing for Cathedral High School and is now on the prep circuit, playing for Middlebrooks Academy.


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