There is quite a bit happening with UCLA basketball, and the next few months should be eventful.
Just yesterday, BRO reported that the UCLA staff was allowed to have just one coach out during the first April evaluation weekend.
To clarify: the April evaluation period is now broken into two weekends, last weekend and this upcoming one.
A staff is allowed to have three coaches out at one time during these periods at various AAU events. But each staff -- and each coach -- has a certain amount of "days out" allotted to them over a year.
As we've reported, because of a misjudgment of days that the coaches were allowed out during the high school season, UCLA was allowed out only one coach last week, and that was Steve Alford. The rest of the staff was grounded.
From what we've heard from sources, assistant and recruiting coordinator David Grace miscalculated the days out.
We've heard from sources that the mistake by Grace has caused some tension on the staff.
The staff will be allowed to have three coaches out this coming weekend, however. Alford and Grace will be in Indianapolis for both the Nike and Under Armour events. Duane Broussard will be in Atlanta for the Adidas event.
Recently promoted assistant Tyus Edney will not be on the road. We've heard that he hasn't passed his NCAA-required recruiting test yet, but we have yet to confirm that.
We haven't heard anything lately that leads us to believe it's likely that the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2018, Marvin Bagley, will be able to successfully reclassify to 2017. It's been a rumor for a while, not just when it bubbled up on the BRO Premium Hoops Forum a couple of months ago, and we haven't heard anything recently on it. In fact, people fairly close to the situation think it's unlikely.
While some think Bagley is leaning to UCLA, others in the recruiting community think he still very well could opt elsewhere.
It will be interesting to see how UCLA does from now through the summer evaluation period. It's going to be a time of many developments for the UCLA basketball program, particularly in regards to its roster.
As we all know, UCLA has seen a big contingent of players who have put their names in early for the NBA Draft: Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday. Ball, Leaf and Anigbogu have all signed with agents and can't return to college. Welsh and Holiday haven't signed with an agent, and have a deadline of May 24th to decide whether they'll remain in the Draft (which is June 22nd). It's important to note that Anigbogu signed with Glushon Sports Management, which also represents Jrue Holiday. It's pretty certain that Glushon, too, is counseling Aaron Holiday, so there is that factor in whether Holiday will remain in the Draft. We haven't heard anything concrete about the status of Welsh staying in the Draft. In most mock Drafts, both Holiday and Welsh are projected as undrafted.
If Holiday and Welsh return for the 2017-2018 season, UCLA's roster is in pretty good shape.
The roster would look like this:
UCLA would have 12 scholarships accounted for and just one available.
It obviously could use one more body in the backcourt, and we know UCLA has been poking around the grad transfer market a bit. The 6-8 guard Cameron Johnson has transferred out of Pittsburgh and had UCLA on his list. He's visiting Kentucky today, and Johnson has some considerable connections to Kentucky's John Calipari. We've heard it's likely he ends up in Lexington. If not Kentucky, Arizona could be the next-likely possibility.
It will be interesting to see if UCLA holds open that one spot for a grad transfer who is immediately eligible for the 2017-2018 season, or if they opt for, say, Chase Jeter, the sophomore center who is transferring out of Duke. Jeter has indicated privately that UCLA is in destination of choice, but he'd have to sit out a year before being eligible for the 2018-2019 season. All in all, despite UCLA needing some immediate help in the backcourt for the 2017 season, Jeter would be a good pick up, since Welsh will graduate after next season and the 2018 high school class is low on good center prospects. You'd much rather have a proven commodity like Jeter, who will have been in the program for a year and be a junior, for the 2018 season.
If either Holiday and/or Welsh stay in the Draft, it creates some bigger holes in UCLA's roster. Without Holiday, the backcourt is incredibly thin. Hands would be asked to actually play as close to 40 minutes a game at the point guard position. And what if he turns an ankle and is out for a a few weeks? The season could teeter on the brink without anyone truly able to play point guard besides Hands on the roster. The squad could tolerate the loss of Welsh a bit better, but it would be a considerable blow to UCLA's chances of winning at a high level, having to probably play Gyorgy Goloman for the majority of the center minutes rather than Welsh.
Clearly, UCLA has some roster building and management tasks to take care of over the next few months. Whatever happens with Welsh and Holiday, and any potential transfers for the 2017 season, of course greatly affects UCLA's 2018 recruiting. If UCLA doesn't get any new additions in transfers this spring, it will have five scholarships to give to the 2018 class, and will be targeting one point guard, two wings and two bigs. It just received a commitment from David Singleton, the 6-4 shooting guard from Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery, the No. 58-ranked prospect in the 2018 national class. Singleton is certainly a good start to the 2018 class, but there will be some challenges for the UCLA staff with the rest of the 2018 class. We detailed out the Bagley situation above, and how UCLA does overall in the 2018 class could be dependent on whether it gets Bagley or not. But there are other factors to consider, such as: Not nearly as much talent flowing from the Adidas AAU program, Compton Magic; whether UCLA's main recruiting assistant, Grace, can be successful without that Compton Magic connection since most of the recruiting responsibility for the program has fallen on his shoulders, and how effective the unproven Edney can be as a recruiter. On the other hand, UCLA's style of play last season has certainly helped its profile in recruiting circles, with many recruits citing how they'd like to play in UCLA's style.
We updated the most recent reset of UCLA hoops recruiting here.