Currently, if you count every player projected to be on the 2017-2018 roster, UCLA is one over the allotted 13 scholarships the NCAA allows.
But it's expected UCLA will get back at least one, if not more, from the possibility of a player leaving early. Lonzo Ball has already made it clear he intends to leave after one season, so that would be one ride right there. Then there's a chance Aaron Holiday, Jonah Bolden, T.J. Leaf or even Thomas Welsh could leave early and open up a spot, or two.
UCLA will clearly be a little thin in the backcourt, especially with Ball projected to leave. And it could get a little needy in the frontcourt if two of the above post players aren't with the program for the 2017 season.
The future UCLA Bruin was absolutely tremendous for the Compton Magic last weekend. Hands made plays off the dribble, showed his high level athleticism, and then also made shots at a pretty good clip.
The highlight for Hands came with a game winning jumper at the buzzer last Saturday giving the Magic a big victory.
Look for Hands to be someone who has the ball in his hands from day one at UCLA. His combination of size, shot making, and athleticism should give him a chance to be an impact player from day one.
Cody Riley has been a UCLA target for quite some time and he’d had a solid spring, going for 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds a game playing for Phoenix Phamily.
A tough, aggressive power forward, Riley plays with energy on both ends of the floor. Riley’s biggest strength may be his ability to rebound and his numbers may be a tad down just due to the fact that he’s playing alongside Marvin Bagley, who is also a good rebounder.
Offensively, Riley is versatile. The southpaw can score inside around the basket, but also is able to step away from the rim for mid-range jump shots. At this stage, he’s not real consistent shooting the ball from three, but he is capable of making shots from distance.
Riley is 32-for-66 from the field, which is good for 48.5%, through two stops on the EYBL circuit.
UCLA is considered to be the favorite for Riley, but there are other schools like Connecticut and Kansas involved to a degree.
The UCLA-committed Hill looked solid over the past two weekends, still looking raw offensively and a low way to go on that end of the court. He's a very good defensie presense at this point in his development, though, being a big body in the paint and an athletic shot blocker.
We actually didn't see Ball either of the last two weekends, because his AAU team only played in minor west coast events. We did see him a few weeks prior. He's gotten a bit bigger physically, possibly 6-6 now and really filled out, looking more like a football player, and looking physically more like a power forward. He has a decent outside shot, and relies on that heavily.
It’s hard to call a five-star recruit a breakout performer, but Brandon McCoy has certainly helped his stock this spring.
McCoy, who is playing alongside DeAndre Ayton, has had some dominant moments playing for California Supreme and is averaging 18.4 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.
Standing 7-feet tall, McCoy is not only tall, but he has a terrific frame with strong, broad shoulders and a long set of arms. He’s turned into a very good rebounder and because of his length and instincts, protects the rim as well.
Offensively, McCoy isn’t fine-tuned on the block, but he does have a good set of hands and has added a jump shot to his game, which he’s capable of making from 15 to 18-feet. He displayed the ability to face up and hit jumpers, while also utilizing and improving hook shot.
While his offense continues to evolve, McCoy remains a guy who really frustrates opposing posts with his size, athleticism and timing.
There aren't too many better scorers in the class of 2017 than Brian Bowen. UCLA assistant Ed Schilling and Steve Alford both spent some time watching Bowen on the EYBL with Meanstreets. Bowen is a big time wing who loves to attack the rim, but can also step back and hit the three point jumper.
Right now Bowen isn't someone who makes others better, as his role is clearly defined to score. He does however rebound the ball at a pretty good clip, and always gives maximum effort when on the floor. With his size and good athleticism he also projects as a good and versatile defender at the next level.
Michigan State and Kentucky are probably the top two options right now for Bowen, but schools like UCLA, Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame, Creighton, Villanova, and Texas are all squarely involved in this recruitment.
UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford and assistant coach Ed Schilling both spent some time this past weekend in Indianapolis tracking five-star wing Kris Wilkes. Wilkes is one of the most naturally talented players in the 2017 class, and he had a very impressive time of things on the Under Armour circuit. Wilkes showed off his high level athleticism finishing around the rim, and also his improved jumper. Now he was a bit inconsistent at times with his motor, but he is continuing to get better in that area. Wilkes has the prototype length and athleticism that NBA teams love, and he continues to improve his overall skill set.
On the recruiting side of things Indiana, UCLA, Maryland, Purdue, Xavier, Butler, Illinois, and Michigan State all spent a lot of time with Wilkes, and Notre Dame just offered. At the moment Wilkes is nowhere near making a decision, and things could extend into the high school season before that happens. He has however indicated he would like to make a visit out to UCLA.
It's been a successful start to the spring for Chuck O'Bannon, who is someone the UCLA staff has tracked closely over the spring evaluation period.
O'Bannon has long arms and is a really capable jump shooter. He can hit three-pointers off the catch and pull from beyond the arc, while he's also a threat to hit one or two dribble pull-up jumpers from midrange.
He's not an elite slasher, but O'Bannon's bounce off one leg has improved and he's had some impressive finishes off the drive.
Besides UCLA, O'Bannon says that USC, Washington, NC State and Texas are recruiting him the hardest.
With Brown and O'Bannon both starring on the Las Vegas Prospects, UCLA coaches have made this team a priority and rightfully so.
While Brown made his name as a combo guard that could create or score, the five-star prospect has been mostly in score-mode this spring.
Brown's jumper has really improved and he's now a legit threat to hit from three, while he's always been adept at hitting midrange jumpers and attacking the basket.
Brown's size, athleticism and motor make him a very good rebounder for the position, while he's also an extremely versatile defender.
California, Arizona, Alabama, Ohio State and Stanford are other schools targeting Brown.
It’s been well documented that DeAndre Ayton is a tremendous long-term prospect, as he oozes with potential because of his size, coordination and all around physical gifts.
Ayton, who stands 7-feet tall, will certainly make his money with his play in and around the paint, but it’s become clear over the past five months that he has significant potential as a shooter.
Ayton has good form and shot mechanics. If we are being picky his release point is a tad low, which causes for line drives at times, but overall it’s a good-looking stroke.
In some recent events, Ayton has gotten hot from three, in one tournament hitting seven three-pointers in a row, shooting the ball with confidence.
Ayton is currently listing Duke, Kansas, UCLA and Kentucky as the schools he's interested in.
Other 2017 Players UCLA Watched
Marvin Bagley sat out his sophomore season after transferring from Phoenix Hillcrest Academy to Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon but showed no signs of rust last weekend.
The versatile power forward can play inside and out, as he uses his size, athleticism, skill and touch to finish around the basket, but can also square up and take jumpers or take opponents off the dribble.
Bagley did a nice job grabbing rebounds, contested and blocked shots and made several impressive passes from the high post.
He’s one of the best prospects in high school basketball, regardless of class.
There wasn’t much to pick apart about Jordan Brown and his performance at the adidas Gauntlet. The legit 6-foot-10 interior player can do a little bit of everything. In this new age of basketball where bigs have to be mobile, Brown is just that. He can guard ball screens, play in space on offense, and then also can score down low.
With a jump to the No. 2 spot in the rankings in the 2018 class, Brown more than proved himself worthy of that position. Steve Alford of UCLA and coaches from California made sure to track Brown closely at the event, and expect many of the other elite schools in the country to see him as the spring progresses.
Romeo Langford may be the best prospect on the adidas Gauntlet circuit and he certainly proved he’s in the conversation for the second week in a row.
Langford checks in at 6-foot-5 and possesses a 6-11 wingspan. He’s quick and a bouncy athlete that springs up off the ground in a hurry. Offensively, he’s almost too unselfish, but when he’s called upon to get a bucket, he can do so in a hurry. He has shot mechanics and good distance on his shot. He was 4-for-9 from three on the weekend. Langford is comfortable attacking the rim and picks his spots to do damage off the drrible.
For the weekend Langford was 33-for-54 from the field, putting up point totals of 23, 23, 20 and 29. He’s currently averaging 23.6 points, which is good enough for No. 2 in the Gauntlet scoring list, and 8.9 rebounds a game.