UCLA Perspective on Nike

Here's a look at the Nike Camp from a UCLA perspective -- focusing on all of UCLA's targets and potential prospects in the rising senior, junior and sophomore classes, including a couple of players from Cameroon...

The top four players at the Nike Camp were Duke commit, Josh McRoberts, 6-10 PF, Carmel (Ind.) High; Richard Hendrix 6-8 PF, Athens (Ala.) High; Georgia commit Louis Williams, 6-0 CG, Snellville (Georgia) South Gwinnett; and Tyler Hansbrough, 6-8 PF, Poplar Bluff (Missouri) High.

Micah Downs, 6-7 SR SF, Bothell (Wash.) High, and UCLA target Jon Brockman were probably the two best prospects from the west, and among the top 20 at the camp.

Here's a look at all the UCLA targets and potential prospects that participated this week in the Nike Camp:

Martell Webster, 6-6 SR SF, Seattle (Wash.) Prep. Webster is still getting back from his injury, and he's doing it in stops and starts. He needs to probably lose a bit of the weight he gained, which will improve his quickness, and just generally get back the sharpness in his game. He's shown spurts, though, of the old Webster, at times here.

Jon Brockman, 6-7 SR PF, Snohomish (Wash.) High. Two Washington players, once again, are probably the two best prospects in the west coast class – Brockman and Downs. It's been written so many times that Brockman is a warrior, but watching him you just want to keep repeating it. He did struggle a bit sometimes against the most elite, top-flight talent in the country, such as when he matched up against Tyler Hansbrough in the 3-on-3, with Hansbrough matching Brockman for aggressiveness but surpassing him in athleticism. But Brockman consistently, again, brought the toughness and relentless to every game.

Ryan Wright, 6-8 SR PF/C, Mississauga (Toronto, Can) Loyola Catholic. He looked very good here, showing off his athleticism and actually knocking down some jumpers. Once he got in the swing of things and got comfortable, he was challenging bigger guys. He's a very good athlete that's quick off his feet and looks very young – like he could get quite a bit bigger physically. A recruiting story is coming.

Eric Boateng, 6-10 SR C, Middletown (Del.) St. Andrew School. Boateng was among the best handful of senior centers at the camp. He's gotten bigger physically, definitely 6-10 and more filled out. He's still very raw, but is active and high-energy, and able to finish anything around the basket. The word still lingers that he's leaning heavily to Duke at this point.

Alfred Aboya, 6-7 SR PF, Tilton (NH) The Tilton School. Aboya is a big bruiser, weighing 242 pounds, made up of muscle, but with a body that could probably end up 260+. He's a nice athlete, who is tough around the basket, and while he's still raw offensively, he showed a decent touch Thursday in the 3-on-3s. He had his knee scoped recently and it could be the reason he sat out Friday. UCLA had been in contact with him before, but they could show more interest now. A recruiting story is on the way.

Chris Oakes, 6-8 SR PF/C, Oakland (Calif.) Castlemont. Probably the prospect in the west that helped himself the most, Oakes established his level of play in the first half an hour of play here Wednesday night and didn't let up all week. His listed weight was 177, but we would suspect it's more around 190ish. But it's a pretty tough 190. Oakes is thin, and narrow-shouldered, but he's very quick, and quick off the second jump, which gets him rebounds, block shots and putbacks. It was a who's-who of players on the list of guys that Oakes blocked this week. He also doesn't back down physically, posting up, setting screens, and has a good sense of the game and scoring instinct. Clearly a high major prospect, it will be interesting to see what level of school now gets involved with Oakes after his coming-out performance here. Pac-10s will be involved, as will high majors from around the country. Because of his performance here you can expect UCLA to watch him closely this July.

Luc Mbahamoute, 6-6 SR SF, Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Academy. Another Cameroonian (is that how you say it?), Mbahamoute is a very intriguing small forward prospect. He has a great body, weighing 205 pounds with great muscle definition, and he's a superior athlete, not only exploding off the floor but with great foot quickness for his size. He plays his butt off, too, being very active, especially around the basket rebounding. He has a very good toughness to him, and likes the physical aspect of the game, setting screens, taking charges, etc. – exactly the type of guy Head Coach Ben Howland would like. His drawback is his skill level; he has a shot with a considerable hitch in it. He's made some, but others have looked poor. If he had a jumpshot he'd be a top 40 national player. He does, though, handle the ball pretty well, but just needs to learn how to go to the basket under control. It's a good bet UCLA will look into him seriously, along with his countryman.

Diamon Simpson, 6-7 SR PF, Hayward (Calif.) High. Another west coaster who helped himself significantly, Simpson, while still pretty thin, showed a great feel and physical presence around the basket, in both scoring and rebounding. Quick-footed and with very good hops, Simpson scored repeatedly on spin moves and explosive first steps around defenders, and jumped over them for rebounds. He also has a solid jumper. He'll get recruited at the high major level now. Some Pac-10ers will be involved. UCLA will keep an eye on him. Academics could be an issue.

Andrew Bynum, 6-11 SR C, Plainsboro (NJ) St. Joseph. Emerged as one of the best center prospects in the camp. He wasn't heavily recruited by elite high majors before his physically dominating performance here, but he will be now. UCLA will gauge interest level, but you probably can't expect it to be much since Bynum has said he'd like to stay close to home.

Mitchell Johnson, 6-0 SR PG, Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea. He had a solid week, distributing the ball to his teammates and taking his shot when it came to him. During a long stretch Thursday he didn't seem to miss a shot attempt. Johnson struggled a bit against quicker guards, but seemed to realize his limitations and didn't put himself in risky situations. Stanford and Washington will probably fight it out. Being teammates and good friends with Brockman makes him a big priority for Washington. Whether UCLA moves on him is still a question.

Casaan Breeden, 6-6 SR SF, Clio (SC) Malboro County. A long athlete, Breeden said here that he'd like to hear from UCLA. Breeden is a good prospect, with nice perimeter skills, but he likes to play on the perimeter a bit too much as a small forward and shys away from contact. While Breeden has gotten more recruiting hype, mostly because of his skill level, in my opinion Mbahamoute is a better, long-term prospect.

James Keefe, 6-8 JR PF, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. Also probably being his first time playing with this level of talent, Keefe at times was beat by opponents, but as the week went on he seemed to adjust and fare much better. On Friday he had a very good day, being relentless around the basket, setting up his teammates with great passes from the perimeter, and shooting pretty well from the outside. His performance here certainly will maintain his rep as one of the top 40 players nationally in the class of 2006. A recruiting update is coming.

Spencer Hawes, 6-10 JR C, Seattle (Wash.) Prep. Hawes had a very good week, and like other young west coasters, improved as the week went on and he got more comfortable. He was probably the best prospect on the floor in his afternoon game on Friday, getting rebounds and putbacks above the rim, hitting jumpers, and scoring on some nice turnarounds. He's continued to get bigger, and obviously getting better, and if it continues at this rate he should be among the top centers in the country next year. The Pac-10 will definitely be on him, and high majors from around the country.

Christian Polk, 6-2 JR SG, Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. Polk had a good overall week, with a couple of good games and couple just okay. In one game, he really passed and scored well, finding seams in the half-court defense to penetrate and dish. His body continues to get bigger and his quickness seems to keep improving, and as his skills continue to come along he's one of the best wings in the west for 2006.

Alex Tyus, 6-6 JR SF, Florissant (Missouri) Hazelwood Central. He proved he's one of the best wings in the 2006 class in the nation, Tyus not only showed his athleticism here but hit some nice outside jumpers. If he has decent enough grades, he'll be a huge priority for UCLA next year. He said here that UCLA is currently his favorite.

Brian Zoubek, 7-0 JR C, Haddonfield (NJ) High. A huge kid, weighing 250 pounds, Zoubek is easily among the best center prospects in the 2006 class. He's still getting his body under control and getting comfortable in the post, but he's so huge and has good enough agility that he impacts the game tremendously at both ends of the court. A good student, with a 4.0, Stanford will be all over him as will UCLA.

Jeremiah Rivers, 6-2 JR CG, Winter Park (Fla.) High. The son of NBAer Doc Rivers, he predictably has some advanced skills. Rivers is combo at this point, and played a lot of point guard here, which he definitely can do. He knows how to run a team, as you would expect being the son of Doc, and has very good passing vision and a great feel for penetration. He also has a nice scoring touch, and can nail jumpers when he has an open look. He's not lightning quick, but has good hops. Not to get anyone too excited, but he's a bit reminiscent of Jordan Farmar. Rivers has said he has UCLA on his early short list, and UCLA will be investigating.

Bryce Webster, 6-8 JR PF, St. Paul (Minn.) St. Thomas Academy. A big-bodied, long-armed inside player that can be a real force inside. It would be hard to get him out of the Midwest but UCLA could make the effort.

Jerryd Bayless, 6-1 SO CG, Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. One of maybe the five best guards in the camp, regardless of class, Bayless is an excellent prospect. He not only has uncanny skills for being just a rising sophomore, able to shoot, handle and pass, but his athleticism enables him to do so much. His hops give him such great elevation on his shot that his mid-range is practically indefensible. He'll be listed among the top 20 players in the 2007 class after this week's performance.

Kyle Singler, 6-6 SO SF, South Medford (Ore.) Medford. One of the most enjoyable kids in the west to watch because his skill level is so advanced for his age. He has one of the prettiest jump shots, and is almost automatic in his mid-range. He's so baby-faced and looks so young it wouldn't be surprising if he continued to grow. If he does, with his skill set, he has a chance to be an elite national recruit.

Kevin Love, 6-8 SO C, Lake Oswego (Ore.) High. Being just a baby and probably not used to this level of competition, Love struggled some against the athleticism. He did, though, consistently show his advanced offensive skills and also didn't back down physically. We've never seen this advanced of an offensive set of skills on a such a young post, and it's going to be very entertaining to see how his game continues to develop over the next three years.


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