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In answering a question about recruiting priorities in basketball for the 2006 class:
I think they've offered Budinger, the 6-6 wing from La Costa Canyon, because he's that good. Sometimes you have to take someone if they're an elite player, in your own backyard, even if you might have a bigger need at another position.
I also think the staff might feel that they'd like to make sure they have the small forward position well covered - and increase their chances of having elite talent there.
If Budinger goes elsewhere, I think they need a combo guard myself. That way, if Farmar does stay three or four years, you still have a player who can play off the ball. If Farmar leaves, you then have your two point guards in Collison and the combo guard.
It was mostly a Los Angeles Fairfax night.
This is how the Ben Olson recruitment breaks down in my mind.
He's going to stay in the Pac-10. I think it'd be a huge shock if he didn't. For one, he more than likely won't even take an official visit to a school outside of the Pac-10.
So, that narrows it down to UCLA, Cal, Oregon and ASU.
ASU: I can't see him picking ASU over UCLA. In so many aspects they're about the same -- improving program with playing time available. But UCLA has that little tiny advantage of being in the Olson backyard practically.
Cal and Oregon: If he doesn't visit either officially, you can pretty much eliminate them.
If he does visit Cal, I look at them as UCLA's primary competition. Elite team this year with potential to be a very successful program in next few years, with a great coach, great offense, and playing time availability.
I'd say the distinct drawback with Cal is Tedford's situation. You'd have to think that it'd be unlikely Tedford is going to be at Cal for Olson's entire stay. I think that will be a huge factor.
Oregon: Almost the same reasoning as with ASU. Program is at about same level as UCLA's currently, but which program has potential to be better during Olson's years? You couldn't cleary say Oregon. Playing time availability. But again, as with ASU: Why would he go to a similar situation in Oregon if he can get it at UCLA?
So, Cal could be main competition. It will be key if he officially visits this weekend, or he doesn't, or visits Cal officially at all.
But given the options, and going on gut feeling, as I've said, I think he's UCLA's to lose. I think he's a heavy lean to UCLA but is just making sure of his decision, and not making a quick decision like he did the first time.
But anything can change, and often does in recruiting...
A prospect that shouldn't be counted out of UCLA's recruiting picture is 6-10 junior center Spencer Hawes, Seattle (Wash.) Prep.
It's my fault because I've pretty much already had said here a few times that Hawes is a longshot previously.
And he probably is.
But I think the UCLA staff is going to go hard after Hawes.
So, don't count him out just yet.