Hoops Recruiting: 2006, 2007 & 2008

UCLA basketball recruiting has changed considerably in the last coule of months, so here's a re-setting of the table, with a look at what UCLA could still do with recruiting for 2006 and a look ahead to recruiting the class of 2007...

With the recent developments in recruiting for the 2006 class, UCLA basketball recruiting looks a bit different than just a couple of months ago.

For one thing, it's a bit easier to anticipate how many scholarships UCLA will have to give in the 2007 and 2008 classes.

As we all are aware, UCLA missed on its recruiting targets in the 2006 class in October -- Alex Stepheson and Deon Thompson.  Conceivably, UCLA could now stand pat with a one-man recruiting class of James Keefe, the 6-8 power forward from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita, and because of Keefe's worth, that wouldnt necessarily be a bad thing.  UCLA very well could keep the the two scholarships that are open for the 2006-2007 season and roll them over to the 2007 class.

But Head Coach Ben Howland recently said that he fully intends to give out one more scholarship to the 2006 class.  His theory is that he just isn't comfortable with just ten scholarship players on the roster.  Having four players on the current roster out right now due to injury has only driven home the issue for Howland. He said that they'd ideally like to get a big with that ride, but if they couldn't, they'd give it to a wing or a guard.

If he did give away one more scholarship to the 2006 class, that would still give him two scholarships to roll over to 2007.   So, Howland looks at it as a good compromise -- it would give him 11 scholarship players for the 2006/2007 season while he'd also have two scholarships to give to the pretty talented 2007 class.

There is another issue here in regards to scholarship numbers that you have to consider. We have it on pretty good authority that UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar would possibly leave the school early for the NBA. In fact, if Farmar had an incredible sophomore year, he could be compelled to leave after this year. Even if  he did have a very good year this season, conventional wisdom is that he'd be more  likely to leave for the NBA after his junior year.

That presents a bit of a recruiting dilemma for UCLA. If Farmar did happen to leave after his junior year, it would give UCLA three scholarships to give to the 2007 class. You probably think that is, at least, something positive to take from Farmar leaving. But the problem is, with how sped up college basketball recruiting is, you recruit every summer for the graduating class of the following spring. And, when a college player decides to go pro is in spring -- close to a year after your program would be able to recruit anyone to fill that scholarship for the next fall.

Now, there could be some telltale signs that it would be pretty likely by next summer that Farmar could pro after his junior year. It could be that he has a great season this year, and is projected fairly high as a draft choice, but not quite high enough to really warrant going out in 2006  If that were the case, UCLA, going into the high-season of recruiting next spring and summer, could take the relative risk and recruit to fill that scholarship for the 2007-2008 season, gambling that Farmar does in fact leave after that season. If you do take the commitment, and he doesn't leave, or he's injured, redshirts and returns, you run the risk of having 14 players committed to scholarships for that season, which actually isn't the end of the world. It's a situation where something could happen to alleviate the problem anyway, like another players transfers or leaves the program because of injury.

So, the way it stands:

UCLA will look to take one more scholarship player for the 2006 class. It could be someone who emerges by the spring signing period. It could be a JC player. A transfer from another school is a possibility but it wouldn't  help you with the depth issue for the 2006-2007 season anyway since that player would have to redshirt due to NCAA rules regarding transferring.

Then, UCLA will have two scholarships for the 2007 class. And possibly try to fill a third scholarship, gambling that there's a good chance that Jordan Farmar could leave after the 2006-2007 season.

So, let's first look at UCLA's options to fill that scholarship for 2006. 

As we've reported, UCLA has been seriously scouting a foreign player. He is reportedly a 6-9, 230-pound post player who is fairly skilled. He's been described as a playe similar to Oregon State's Alexander Cuic, but maybe an inch shorter. Reportedly, UCLA will continue to scout him overseas in the next few weeks and will possibly bring in the prospect for an official visit.  Apparently, the recruit has a good academic history and just needs an SAT score. 

As of right now, there aren't any clear-cut UCLA-level recruits on the west coast remaining in the 2006 class. In terms of a post player, it would have to be almost a complete sleeper emerging out of practically nowhere. On the perimeter, Russell Westbrook, the 6-1 combo guard at Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger, is someone interesting to watch. He  has a chance to play some point guard, and grew up playing point guard, which is intriguing, and he's continued to grow, having grown three inches in the last year. He shoots the ball well, but is more of a scorer than a pure shooter, and is a good athlete. He also is a very good student.

In regard to a JC player, it's always an iffy proposition for UCLA to scout JC players. It's difficult for UCLA to find a JC player that has good enough academics, in both the JC and high school, to qualify for UCLA admission.  As of now, there aren't any specific JC recruits UCLA is targeting, but that could be something UCLA pursues over the next few months.

If UCLA does get a post for the 2006 class, the priorities for the 2007 class look to be one more post, at least, even possibly using the two scholarships currently earmarked for 2007 for two post players.  Much would depend on the talent that is available, and UCLA's chances with it.  Along with one post, UCLA could very well target a guard with the second scholarship.  With Farmar possibly leaving early, that would make Darren Collison the only true point guard on the squad for possibly a year or more, so you'd like to see UCLA get a player who could at least provide you back-up minutes at the one. 

If UCLA does recruit to fill Farmar's scholarship, you'd have to think one of three scholarships for 2007 would be filled by a good ball-handling guard.

UCLA, of course, has already begun scouting the prospects for the class of 2007 (which are currently in their junior year in high school). They really can't seriously recruit 2007 prospects until January of 2006, by NCAA rules, but the Bruin coaches did everthing they could under NCAA guidelines this fall to scout and recruit for 2007.  

Of course, if you're discussing the class of 2007, you have to address the issue of Taylor King, the 6-6 forward from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. As we all know, King committed to UCLA before his freshman year in high school, and then de-committed last summer.  Many observers considered the King de-commitment a negative, while many others now consider it a positive -- for many reasons -- and it's fruitless to debate the issue. Regardless, it's highly unlikely UCLA would get involved with King again. If, perhaps, UCLA had a scholarship open for the 2007 class and King, from a talent standpoint, fit into their plans, and King comes to UCLA and says he wants to commit again, UCLA would probably consider it.  But don't expect UCLA to spend any time recruiting King. 

SO, here's a look at the guys we're pretty certain UCLA will recruit for the class of 2007. Of course, there is the usual disclaimer: It's very early on in the process for the class of 2007, so this list will change drastically between now and next summer.

CLEARLY ELITE FOR 2007

Kevin Love, 6-10 C, Lake Oswego (Ore.) High. Love had a great spring and summer, and dominated almost everyone he faced besides Greg Oden. He is the best low-post prospect in the west, regardless of class. His skills are better than most of the post players in the Pac-10 right now; in fact, he probably would have started for UCLA last season, as a sophomore in high school. Not only is he very sophisticated in his low post moves, but he loves to bang, is aggressive and has a mean streak. he also has developed a nice outside touch and can shoot threes. The son of former Duck and NBAer, Stan Love, he is the #3-ranked player in the class of 2007 nationally. The knock on him a bit has been his size, but he's continued to grow and is approaching 6-10. And he's been knocked for his average athleticism, but college basketball fans should thank the gods since that limited athleticism could keep him playing college ball longer. Or it might not. He's definitely a candidate to leave for the NBA after doing his dutiful one year of college. He has some issues with his knees, and hopefully that will keep him college-bound also.  Head Coach Ben Howland has taken on Love's recruitment personally. On the first day out during the fall, Howland went to see Love work out. Last summer UCLA emerged as Love's leader, even though he more recently has gone back to listing them among his schools, which also includes North Carolina, Arizona and Duke, among others. North Carolina offered Love and that might change his sentiment.  Love is truly the biggest recruit for Howland since he's been at UCLA.  

Kyle Singler, 6-8 SF, Medford (Ore.) South Medford.  When, ever, have the two best prospects in the class both been from Oregon? It's the case with the 2007 class, and it might never happen again. And actually Love and Singler could be the two best prospects in the west, regardless of class. Singler is ranked the #6 player in the national 2007 class, and he's the best wing in the west, period. He's big, quick, skilled and smart. And he's getting bigger, probably having grown at least an inch in the last year. He has such advanced skills and knowledge of the game, with a good stroke and passing ability, all in an ever-improving body for a junior.  In the 2007 class in the west, he'd be the #1 small forward and the #1 power forward. He showed so well last summer that he's also a candidate to go one-and-out. If he continues to grow, forget about it. If he goes to college, he'll be able to go wherever he wants, and the big-named schools we'll be beating down his door. UCLA is trying, and Singler and Love are friends, so UCLA will probably try to use that angle.

Alex Legion, 6-4 SG, Beverly Hills (Mich.) Detroit Country Day. Legion is currently the #11-ranked player in the 2007 nationally. He has great skills and a very good knowledge of the game, and is a remarkable athlete. He has shown an interest in the Bruins early and UCLA has been recruiting him as a priority for a while. Michigan and Michigan State could be tough to beat, while Legon also likes Illinois and North Carolina.

Jamelle Horne, 6-6 SF, San Diego (Calif.) High. One of the elite players in the west, with a great, long body, very good athleticism and aggressiveness. He was dinged up a bit last summer so it limited him from making all the national lists, but he's potentially a top 40 national prospect. He is an excellent athlete, not only able to get off the floor, but moves very well laterally. 

Anthony Randolph, 6-10 C, North Little Rock (Ark.) High.  he was one of the best five overall prospects at the Pangos camp last spring, being relative unknown before. Randolph is long and very athletic, not only with great hops and an ability to get off the floor quickly, but with lateral quickness and a nice burst up the court. He was the best shot blocker in the camp, with great timing and a great second jump. Being a lefty, too, helps, since his shot blocking is coming from angles that many players aren't used to. Offensively he had some nice developing skills for a 6-10 kid, with a relatively good-looking stroke and some pretty decent ball-handling ability.  Almost unknown before the Pangos, Randolph is now well-known. With national scouts being at Pangos, watch for Randolph to end up among the top 40 in the country in the 2007 class. he's originally from Southern California and still has family here, and there was talk he could transfer back to SoCal. He's definitely someone UCLA will investigate.

Darnell Gant, 6-8 SO PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. It isn't often that you see a kid go from playing on his JV team to being an elite, high major prospect in a couple of months, but that's exactly what has happened with Gant. After watching him last spring and summer, we think Gant is the best power forward prospect in the West Coast class of 2007, and he could end up a small forward. He has a terrific basketball body – great length, good frame – with excellent leaping ability and quickness. He looks like he may be able to defend a three or a four down the road. He's got a nice shot to about 20 feet, he can handle it well for his size and he showed a decent post-up game. The really exciting thing about Gant is he's still unpolished. He doesn't look like he's been coached much – but he has very good instincts – and a lot of what he gets done just comes from natural ability. With continued development, Gant has a chance to be recruited by elite programs across the country. He was supposed to come to a UCLA football game and has interest in UCLA. He has had some academic issues, but he's a good kid and is now working hard to improve his academics.

Derrick Rose, 6-2 PG, Chicago (Ill.) Simeon. One of the best true point guards in the 2007 class nationally, Rose is currently ranked the #5 player in that class. One scout described him as a "future pro," with good size, athleticism but a true point guard sense. UCLA is trying to get involved.

Julian Vaughn, 6-8 PF, Reston (Virg.) South Lakes. The #19-ranked player in the country, Vaughn is a low-post load, weighing about 250ish.  He has all the elites after him, and UCLA is gauging interest.

James Hickson, 6-8 PF, Marrietta (GA.) Wheeler. A long and very athletic forward who is crafty around the basket and likess to step away to get his shot. The #21-ranked player in the 2007 class, and UCLA is checking out his interest.

Solomon Alabi, 7-0 C, Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Academy. A recent import from Nigeria, Alabi goes to the same high school as current UCLA freshman, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Not many have seen him just yet, but he's been described as the real deal, with a big body and good athleticism. It could be tough for UCLA to wedge in, especially if there are some schools that were involved in placing him in the States.

GUYS WITH A VERY GOOD CHANCE

Chace Stanback, 6-7 SG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. From what we've heard, Stanback has grown some from when we last saw him in summer. He was probably 6-6 then, and we're hearing reports that he's 6-7 now. That makes him just all the more attractive, already being one of the best-looking young prospects in Los Angeles. He is long, wide-shoulder, with a body that could hold more weight, athletic, and has one of the prettiest outside shots in the city. He does have to turn that shot into a jumper rather than a set shot, and has to get stronger (even though we've heard he's filled out some, too), but there are very few players that come along that combine Stanback's skills and overall grasp of the game. He had a great sophomore year for Fairfax, really showing off his skill set and his improving athleticism. He looked very good at last summer's Nike Camp; he looks like he's the smooth type, but he showed great explosiveness and quickness competing among the elite at Nike.  Reportedly a good student, too. A top 100 national player in 2007, at least.  UCLA has been showing him as much attention as they can. He came pick-up games on campus over the summer and came to a UCLA football game this fall.

Drew Viney, 6-5 SF, Villa Park (Calif.) High. A player who really emerged as a sophomore, Viney grew probably two inches in the last year, and his game has advanced along with his growth. His athleticism has drastically improved, able to now play above the rim some, while his skills are among the best for his class in the west. He has a pretty, soft outside stroke. He needs to continue to improve his ball handling, and it seems like his fast-twitch muscles still haven't developed since his body is still growing. But definitely a top 100 national player and could be top 40 when it's all over.  UCLA has been on him earlier than anyone.

Austin Daye, 6-6 SG, Irvine (Calif.) Woodbridge. Darren Daye's son looks like the best example of a kid who will grow, being very skinny and looking like a baby. He's grown a couple of inches in the last year, particularly since spring, while he still looks young. He is so thin, though, you question whether he'll develop enough physically by the time he's even a senior in high school to get high major looks. If you consider just skills, and feel for the game, Daye, though, is one of the best in the west.  While we bemoan sometimes how players move ahead a grade, if there is ever an instance where it makes rational sense, it's with Daye. This season will be a big determining factor for Daye, whether he's developed enough physically to be recruited at the high-major level. If he has, watch for UCLA to be involved seriously.

GUYS WITH A CHANCE

Sean Williams, 6-10 C, Villa Park (Calif.) High. For the last couple of years, observers have been waiting for Williams to get some control of his coordination to go along with his long, athletic body. This last summer he started to do just that, and looked like a high-major center prospect.  Academics are a question, and Williams has said he might want to leave Southern California.

Justin Holiday, 6-6 SF North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall. The older brother of standout sophomore guard Jrue Holiday, Justin is quite a prospect in his own right. While Jrue is compact and strong, Justin is long and lean. Justin's a very good athlete – great lateral quickness for his size – and he flies all over the court. He plays with great energy and is always active. He's very good at slashing to the basket and his jumpshot is improved from where it was a year ago. Justin is a very good defender right now, but could be a great defender with better technique. He has a chance to be a high major prospect.

Eli Holman, 6-8 C, Richmond (Calif.) High. Among the best big men in the west for 2007, and right now he still looks like a baby, all arms and legs. But he's very athletic and has very good quickness for his size, and looks like he's has tremendous upside. The issue could be academics, but someone to definitely keep an eye on in 2007.

Omondi Amoke, 6-5 SF, Oxnard (Calif.) High.  Amoke has a very advanced skill set. He sees the court very well, is a terrific passer and ball-handler, and he can step out to the stripe with a good-looking stroke. He has good size and strength, looks like a man among boys, with an excellent feel for the game. He's relatively unknown outside the west eright now, and he had a disappointing summer,  tending to be injured quite a bit. He attended a UCLA game this year, and has interest in the Bruins.

Garrett Green, 6-8 PF, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. A skilled frontcourt player who shoots it well with very good mobility, Green possibly had a chance to possibly grow into one of the best frontcourt players in SoCal. He, though, injured his knee at an event a few weeks ago and it's thought it could be serious, which puts his future recruitment on a bit of a hold.

Quinton Watkins, 6-4 SG, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez. Watkins is one of the best athletes in the west, with great explosiveness and a great body. He has an okay stroke at this point, but also has the potential to be a great defender. He was ineligible for a portion of his freshman season at Bellflower St. John Bosco, which isn't a great sign.  Academics could be the limitation.

Kamyron Brown, 6-1, PG, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Very good quickness, good length for his size, average shot at this point, but is a true point guard with a good feel. Right now you probably wouldn't project him as UCLA's level, but he has a chance. He especially came on late in the season for Mater Dei, but was a bit out of control last summer in AAU. 

Eshaunte Jones, 6-3 CG, Fort Wayne (Ind.) North Side. A skilled guard who is originally from California, and has said UCLA is his long-time favorite school. Jones can score, and can shoot very well, but can play point guard also, while he's pretty thin and needs to develop physically.  If he emerges as an elite prospect, you could expect UCLA to get involved seriously, and probably be competing with midwest powers like Kansas and Louisville for him.

Kenton Walker, 6-7 PF, Scripps Ranch (Calif.) High. An inport from Indiana, Walker has a great natural feel in the post. He's a very good rebounder, with a good jump on the ball, and has a decent back-to-the-basket touch. If he continues to grow just a touch, and his athleticism improves, he has a chance, but probably not a UCLA-level player.

Tyrone Shelley, 6-5, El Cajon (Calif.) Christian. Shelley is perhaps one of the best prospects in the west for 2007, with a great basketball body, athletic and long, with good lateral quickness for his length. His skills are coming along, and he has a great natural scoring instinct. A potential top 75 national player.

Zane Johnson, 6-5 SF, Phoenix (Ariz.) Thunderbird. Johnson has a very well-rounded game for a sophomore, with a good stroke, ball-handling and passing. He's just an average athlete, but has a good natural feel for rebounding. He's more than likely a high major and someone to watch. 

Clint Amberry, 6-9 PF/C, Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View. Amberry is a big kid, with a good body and frame, and his skills continue to develop. He now has a very consistent face-the-basket game. He does, though, need to step up his game, get more aggressive and compete, which he didn't do much of this spring. UCLA is trying to line up youngsters, and Amberry is one on the list.  He attended UCLA's camp last June.

Jon Reed, 6-5 SF, Rolling Hills (Calif.) Palos Verdes Peninsula. A good-shooting wing with a good body and some decent athleticism. Many believe he has the potential to blossom, but as of now just a guy to watch.

Isaiah Jenkins, 6-2 PG/SG Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester.  He has good size, a strong body and is a good athlete while he handles the ball well. He's very assertive for a youngster.  He attended UCLA's Camp last June.  

Jamelle McMillan, -2 PG, Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea. Since he's the son of former NBAer Nate McMillan, it's not a big surprise that Jamelle has an excellent feel for the game. He has very good size and frame, plays within himself, is good defender, and is pretty athletic.  

Tim Shelton, 6-5 SF, Bakersfield (Calif.) High.  He has a body that projects possibly more as a baseline player, which could hurt him if he doesn't grow. His older brother, Titus Shelton, who is a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is 6-6 and thick. Tim has better perimeter skills at this point, though, and he's someone to just keep an eye on.

Harper Kamp, 6-7 PF/C, Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View.  He has a good frame and body, and is advanced in his low-post game offensively, with a great feel and physical.  He is an average athlete, not bad, but not particularly explosive. That would be the question, whether he can improve enough athletically to be recruited at the high major level.

Dane Suttle, 6-3 SG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Settles is a fluid, long, good athlete. He lacks explosiveness just yet, but has superior skills and composure, and with an average projected amount of development will probably be a high major. Attended UCLA's June Camp, and attended a few UCLA games.  

THE 2008 CLASS

UCLA could have quite a few scholarships available for the current high school sophomore class. You could bet on at least three, if not four.  If somehow UCLA doesn't get a point guard by then, one would definitely be a high priority, and after that, it's difficult to project position needs. Probably a couple of bigs will be needed, since they always are, and then maybe one wing.

There will undoubtedly be more national prospects on the list, but right now these are mostly the west coast guys recognized to be potential UCLA targets.

Brandon Jennings, 6-0 PG, Compton (Calif.) Domiguez. Quick and skilled, he just needs to fill out some and get stronger. He played this summer with the So Cal All-Stars, which got him a great deal of national exposure, so he's sure to be ranked among the top point guards in the national class of 2008, if not the #1 point guard.  He is more of a scoring lead guard than a pure point, but his talent is unquestioned. Hopefully he'll continue to develop his team-oriented, point-guard skills and he'll fill out physically. He has said UCLA is on his short list.

Larry Drew, 5-11 PG, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. The son of the former NBA player of the same name, he, of course, has a great natural feel and passing ability. While Jennings is going to get a lot of press as the superior point guard in the west, we feel Drew is right there with him. Drew is a true point. He's gotten bigger in just the last year, growing about an inch and filling out physically.  He's still on the smallish side, but if he gets to 6-0+, all bets are off. His quickness has already improved as has his athleticism.  Expect UCLA to be on Drew hard.

Drew Gordon, 6-8 PF, San Jose (Calif.) Bisho Mitty. One of the clearly elite talents in the 2008 class in the west, Gordon has a great body and potential pro athleticism. He's young and still learning the game, but UCLA has already recognized him as a top priority. He has said in the past that UCLA was a favorite of his.

Jrue Holiday, 6-2 CG, North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall. Jrue is a tweener in terms of his body, but man, he can play no matter what position. He really came on toward the end of his freshman season to help lead Campbell Hall to an undefeated state championship, and looked good last summer in AAU ball. He has a great knack for the game, and an aggressive scorer's mentality. If he continues to grow, he'll be a great wing. Even if he stays about the same size, it's still enough, given his talent, to be an elite wing.

Andy Poling, 6-10 C, Portland (Ore.) Westview. Poling had a good summer, showing off a very advanced low post game. He's got a very nice little jump hook and he posted up aggressively. With long arms, good feet and good hands, Poling has all the tools to be an elite post player. He's a true five who understands that he's a five, with an outstanding feel in the low post. He's not very strong yet, which made his willingness to bang inside all the more impressive. Kevin Love gets all the attention in Oregon and rightfully so – he's a freak show. But after Love, Poling is going to be the next great big man out of the Pacific Northwest. He came to UCLA's spring camp and has said he likes UCLA.

Luke Babbitt, 6-7 SF, Reno (Nev.) Galena. Babbitt became know last summer when he beat many older and more heralded players in the camps and tournaments. He came to UCLA's spring camp and you can bet that UCLA has him targeted. He's very skilled and crafty around the basket. If he grows to 6-8ish, he's a top 25 potential prospect.

Jeff Withey, 6-10 C San Diego (Calif.) Horizon. After watching Poling last summer, it's clear that he is one of the elite prospects center on the West Coast for 2008, and has a chance to be right there with Poling. Withey's got a great frame, with wide shoulders, and he moves very well. He's got good hands and feet, with a nice stroke out to about 15 feet. He's not quite as polished as Poling in the low post, but he might be a little better athlete overall. If he develops the way we think he will, Withey has a chance to be an elite, high major prospect.

Malcolm Lee, 6-2 PG, Riverside (Calif.) North. Emerged last summer as potentially another high major point guard in the west coast class of 2008. Lee is long and lanky, but has good size, and quickness for that size, and good skills for this stage in his development. He's attended a UCLA football game.

Ameer Shamsuddin, 6-0 PG, Portland (Ore.) Benson Tech. The 2008 West Coast point guard class is starting to look like it could be pretty special. Brandon Jennings and Larry Drew, Jr. have already shown that they're among the elite prospects in the country and Shamsuddin was very impressive when we saw him at the Kingwood tournament in April. A good-looking kid with a very nice frame, Shamsuddin is long and quick with a young face. He looks to have a good feel, as he made terrific decisions with the ball, advancing it several times with passes in transition. He showed a nice shot as well. We want to see him some more, but he was very intriguing in the one game we saw.

Nicci Combs, 5-10 PG, Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe. Touted as one of the best point guards in the midwest, Combs attended UCLA's spring camp.

Nathen Garth, 6-0 PG, Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian.  Garth is a true point with excellent ball skills, very good vision and a good outside shot. Unlike many of the players in AAU ball, Garth looks to distribute the ball and showed an understanding of how to play the game. He's got very good quickness, with the ability to penetrate and score or find an open teammate. He can go left or right equally well – his off hand (left) is as strong as we've seen in a freshman guard in a long time. With continued development, Garth has a chance to be one of the elite point guards in the 2008 class. 

Demar DeRozan, 6-4 SF, Compton (Calif.) High. One of the elite athletes in the west, DeRozan is very explosive off the floor and can finish above the rim. Potentially, an elite, high major prospect.

Oscar Bellfield, 6-2 SG, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. Talented, with pretty advanced skills for a freshman.

Auri Allen, 6-8 C, Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei. A big bodied kid who's getting hyped too much early. Allen, though, has a chance, with good agility. 

Jaime Serna, 6-7 PF/C, Mission Viejo (Calif.) Capistrano Valley. Another of the best young posts in the west, Serna has a great natural instinct with his back to the basket.

Chris Solomon, 6-2 SG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Skilled shooting guard with a good approach to the game, Solomon is probably among the best young wings in the west.

Jason Pruitt, 6-2 SG, Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia. The younger brother of current USC player Gabe Pruitt, Jason is athletic and aggressive. Right now, he has a scorer's mentality and plays off the ball mostly, but he has the ball skills to possibly develop into a point guard, and just needs to develop the feel.

Elston Turner, 6-3 SG, Roseville (Calif.) High. Turner has a great body, looking like a classic two-guard and combines above average athleticism with a good stroke.

Clarence Trent, 6-6 PF, Olympia (Wash.) River Ridge. An undersized four at this point, but very skilled, and mobile. He's very comfortable on the perimeter, with the ability to shoot and pass, and has good athleticism.

Corbin Moore, 6-9 C, Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Moore has a great frame, and is young looking so he could grow some more. He moves really well, has good feet and hands.  Facing the basket he can really shoot, out to three, and needs to develop a back-to-the-basket game. But one to definitely watch in 2008.


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