PRESS RELEASE FROM UCLA
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA basketball program has received signed National Letters of Intent from high school seniors LiAngelo Ball, Jaylen Hands, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley on the first day of the early signing period, it was announced Wednesday by head coach Steve Alford.
Ball, Hands, Hill and Riley will enroll at UCLA in 2017 and begin their freshman seasons in Westwood in the 2017-18 academic year. The four players are all currently in their senior seasons at high schools in Southern California – Ball at Chino Hills High School, Hands at Foothills Christian High School (El Cajon, Calif.), Hill at Centennial High School (Corona, Calif.) and Riley at Sierra Canyon High School (Chatsworth, Calif.).
Hands has been ranked No. 27 overall in his class by Scout.com. The 6-foot-3 guard from San Diego was named MVP of the 2016 adidas Nations tournament this past summer, leading his team to the tournament title with an 18-point performance.
“Jaylen is an elite point guard who brings great speed to our backcourt,” Alford said in the statement. “He has the ability to change the tempo of a game. Jaylen is a terrific athlete who thrives in transition and can make good decisions at full speed.”
Riley has been ranked as the No. 30 player, nationally, in his class by Scout.com, and has been a three-time CIF Southern Section Division V John Wooden Award winner as the division’s player of the year. Last season, Riley led Sierra Canyon to a 26-5 record, averaging 12.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
“Cody gives us a physical presence inside," Alford said. “He has tremendous size and explosiveness and can play both in the post and also out on the floor. His versatility and strength with that elite skill set makes him a special player.”
Hill, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Corona, Calif., has been ranked No. 87 nationally by Scout. He played alongside current UCLA freshman Ike Anigbogu last season at Centennial, averaging 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. As a sophomore in 2014-15, Hill helped Centennial compile a 26-6 record as his team won the CIF Southern Section Regional title.
“Jalen has a very bright future,” Alford said. “He’s a young player who is long and athletic and takes great pride in rebounding the basketball. He runs the floor very well and has the potential to be an elite shot blocker.”
Ball, a three-star guard, led his undefeated high school team in scoring last season at 27.4 points per game. Playing alongside his older brother and current UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball in 2015-16, Li’Angelo helped Chino Hills post a perfect 35-0 record, culminating in the 2016 CIF State Open Division Championship.
“Gelo can flat-out shoot the basketball,” Alford said. “At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, he brings size, strength and a guy who knows how to make shots. We love his physical approach to the game and his ability to post as well as play on the perimeter.”