UCLA isn't currently recruiting the following prospects, but they're guys to watch during this July evaluation period.
At this point, Scout has only seen John Walker one time, but it was an impressive showing and one that left us wanting to rank him. Because of the limited viewings, he's not in the top 100 yet, but he's certainly a player that we'll be tracking, as will college coaches, over the course of July. Walker is intriguing because of his size, length, athleticism, mobility and skill set that allows him to play away from the basket and on the perimeter at 6-foot-8. Through seven games on the adidas Uprising circuit playing with Texas Pro, Walker averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds and a pair of assists.
Perhaps it's hard to consider a prospect regarded as a five-star recruit as a sleeper, but the truth is Emmanuel Akot still seems to be flying below the radar. Even on Canada's national team at the FIBA u17 World Championships, Akot didn't get a ton of burn until later in the event. Akot certainly proved his worth and played an efficient brand of basket. In that event alone, Akot made six of his nine three-point attempts and also showed off his impressive athleticism and potential on defense. Playing for Exum Elite, Akot is sure to be a prospect that college coaches will take a closer look at and our hunch is that he'll add more scholarship offers as well.
This has been an extremely interesting recruitment to follow and heading into the summer, Kezie Okpala's story is one of the biggest to watch on the West Coast. After a eight-inch growth spurt before his junior season, Okpala showed flashes of a prospect with a significant upside this year. U.C. Irvine offered early, with Utah State and Montana State following suit. Scout has Okpala as 68th ranked prospect in 2017 and a big reason why high majors haven't jumped in is the fear that he'll commit to Stanford if offered. Do the Cardinal offer and end this recruitment or do others move in?
Recruiting: Stanford, UC Irvine
With so few high major post options on the west in 2017 - Jalen Hill is committed to UCLA and after DeAndre Ayton, Brandon McCoy, Cody Riley, Ira Lee and mission bound Branden Carlson things get dicey - West Coast coaches are going to have to be creative in recruiting the class. If there's ever a player to get creative with, Evan Battey is the guy. He's 6-foot-7 and has a big build - he's going to have to slim down to defend either post position at the next level - but has soft hands, is a terrific rebounder, has good footwork, really passes it well and always plays hard. There are defensive concerns but the long list of ways he helps your team on offense can't be ignored.
In the 2017 class someone who I think has a chance to really breakout out is Taveion Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth plays on an under the radar AAU team, but in July it is easier for coaches to see those kids than in April, so expect numerous schools to drop in and take a look at him.
Hollingsworth has pretty good size at around 6-foot-3, and also is a good athlete with long arms. He is a pretty good scorer both going to the rim and from deep, and can even handle the point guard position for a few minutes at a time.
Right now he needs to add strength and continue to get more consistent, but this is the classic kid who could put up a few huge scoring games and see his stock soar.
Coaches are always looking for bigs, and one who could come a long way in July is Jaylen Butz. After an up and down junior year in high school, Butz really looked to be turning the corner during the months of April and May before going down with a foot injury.
Assuming Butz is all the way back from his injury there is a very good chance he will grab numerous offers. Butz is all of 6-foot-9 with very long arms, and high level athleticism. He has been playing harder than ever on the court, and continues to improve as a shot blocker and scorer.
Running with Spiece Indy Heat, Butz will be seen by a ton of coaches, and if he plays to his potential, scholarship offers will follow.
While UCLA isn't being mentioned significantly with many of these prospects at this juncture, we can see the Bruin staff keeping an eye on several on this list, including Okpala. The Bruins will likely look to take at least one more prospect in this class, and it would be ideal for that prospect to be a wing.