With only being able to have three coaches out at one time during the July evaluation period, UCLA didn't have a coach at the tournaments yesterday. Head Coach Ben Howland is back east, as is assistant Ernie Ziegler. Assistant Donnie Daniels was in L.A. at the beginning of the week, but now it's known that he's overseas scouting a potential foreign prospect.
Here's a look at some of UCLA's prospects, or potential prospects, that participated in the L.A. tourneys:
Brett Hoerner, 6-10 SR C/PF, Fullerton (Calif.) High. Still recovering from being off for a month and the flue, Hoerner is getting back in the swing. Hoerner, though, can be limited by the amount of touches he gets in AAU ball because he's doing silly things like setting screens. What's best about Hoerner is his agility and quickness, with very good feet and quick hands around the basket. It's thought that UCLA is looking hard at offering Hoerner by the end of July.
Darren Collison, 5-11 SR PG, Etiwanda (Calif.) High. The committed point guard sat out the first day of the Adidas Three Stripes tournament in Carson yesterday and said he planned on playing by Saturday. He didn't specify but said he was nursing an injury he suffered at ABCD last week. No matter. Collison doesn't need to prove anything and, in fact, it's better for UCLA the less he plays in July.
Jordan Wilkes, 6-11 SR C, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. We haven't seen Wilkes as of yet, but plan on making his game today. He reportedly had just an okay Adidas Camp last week. The word around recruiting circles is that he's close to committing to California, to team up with his older brother, Omar, who transferred there from Kansas. Stanford still is trying hard. UCLA is in waiting mode and would only probably offer one among Hoerner and Wilkes.
D'Andre Bell, 6-4 SR SG, Pacific Palisades (Calif.) Palisades. Bell had a good ABCD tourney last week and has picked up where he left off this week, looking active and skilled yesterday at the Three Stripes. He really impressed the UCLA coaches at the UCLA camp. It's just a question of whether UCLA thinks they need more of a small forward type, someone who can mix it up inside more and rebound.
Jeff Pendergraph, 6-8 SR C, Etiwanda (Calif.) High. He looked athletic and active yesterday, but still limited offensively. He's still someone UCLA will have to watch but it's unlikely they'll move on him.
Brayden Bell, 6-8 SR PF, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton. He's the most skilled big man in the west for 2005, with a great, quick jump hook, natural baseline moves and the ability to knock down threes consistently. The question is his intensity and attitude. We'll see if UCLA decides to overlook it and recruit him or not.
Davon Jefferson, 6-7 SR PF, Lynwood (Calif.) High. He's still running and jumping out of the gym, and he physically looks like he's gotten bigger, having filled out a bit. While he's one of the best forwards in the west, it's questionable whether UCLA can recruit him due to academics. The word is that he's making some strides to improve academically, but it's still considered a longshot.
James Keefe, 6-8 JR PF, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita, is listed on rosters in both tournaments, but the word is that he'll play with his high school team in a tournament this weekend.
Alex Stepheson, 6-8 JR PF, Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake, reportedly had just an okay performance at the ABCD camp last week. The knock was that he preferred to float on the perimeter, and it's generally true that Stepheson needs to get more aggressive down low. We'll see him today for the first time in the tournament, playing with Wilkes on the Pump N Run team.
Blake Wallace, 6-6 JR SF, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite. Wallace has had a very good summer so far, looking very good at Pump Camp #1 and #2. He's proving he's someone UCLA will watch very closely in the class of 2006.
Sleeper of the Day:
Andre Martin, 6-2 JR SG, San Diego (Calif.) Mt. Miguel, was someone we had never seen before, and he was the most impressive prospect at the Three Stripes tournament among those we saw yesterday. He's a freak of an athlete, with blazing quickness. He made some defensive plays, stepped into some passing lanes with such speed that you would have thought it was impossible he could get there so quickly. He was great at slashing on the offensive side, with no one able to stay with him. We didn't see his jumper, but were told it was decent. We were also told that academics could be an issue.