Hoops Recruiting Update

UCLA will receive a National Letter of Intent today from a prospect in the 2006 class, and there are some rumblings that UCLA has a chance to get some of its recruiting for the 2007 class done early...

UCLA will receive a Signed National Letter of Intent from Marko Spica, a prospect from Serbia-Montenegro, today.

Spica is reportedly a 6-9 skilled post player that weighs about 230 pounds. He's supposed to be a very good shooter, with also some good skills around the basket, with good athleticism.

Spica played for club teams in Serbia-Montenegro. UCLA assistant coach Ernie Zeigler discovered Spica, traveled to Europe last summer to scout him, and then made another trip to Europe last month.

Apparently, Spica was somewhat of a secret among American college basketball programs, but recently had been receiving some recruiting attention. He, though, reportedly, was enamored of UCLA.

Spica reportedly has good academics, and is just in the process of getting a sufficient test score.

Spica will complete the 2006 class, which also includes top-30 national prospect James Keefe, the 6-8 power forward from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita.

So, with the 2006 class completed, UCLA looks to 2007.

And there have been some recent developments in regards to the 2007 class.

As we reported, Kevin Love, the 6-9 ½ center from Lake Oswego (Ore.) High, visited UCLA unofficially for several days recently. (Story on Love's Visit). Love is probably the biggest recruit of Ben Howland's three years of coaching at UCLA, with Love currently ranked the #3 prospect in the 2007 class nationally.

We've also learned that Love's unofficial visit could be part of an effort by Love to get his decision done early. There are some sources close to the situation that have said the Love family is indicating he would prefer to get his decision out of the way. If so, you'd have to assume that UCLA has a very good chance with Love, since he's indicated UCLA was his leader in the past and has yet to visit any other school unofficially this year, and wouldn't be able to visit a school on an official visit until next fall, according to the new NCAA rule.

UCLA would, itself, love to get its recruiting for the 2007 class over with early. In addition to Love, UCLA is pursuing Darnell Gant, the 6-9 combo forward from Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. UCLA has offered Gant, and there are some close to the situation that believe he could possibly also commit early. Gant is a prospect with tremendous upside – with a long, athletic body, having grown at least an inch since last summer. He played junior varsity for Crenshaw a year ago, amazingly, and is still very early on in his basketball development. He does possess a great natural feel and has inherently good skills, able to handle the ball very well for his size. He's a four right now, but probably projects down the line as a three. He's currently ranked on many top 100 lists and if he continues to develop has the chance to be an elite national player. He's currently ranked #44 by Scout.com. Gant attended the New Mexico State game Tuesday night.

UCLA, then, would like to finish off a three-man class for 2007 with Chace Stanback, the 6-7 shooting guard from Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. UCLA has also offered Stanback, who is another prospect with great potential. Stanback has very good skills, is a good shooter, ball-handler and passer. He has continued to grow also, being probably 6-5 a year ago. Stanback looked particularly impressive at the Nike Camp last July, when, against some elite competition, really stepped up and showed some exceptional skills. Stanback is easily a top 50 national player and a McDonald's All-American caliber player. He is supposed to attend one of the two next UCLA home games.

UCLA, obviously, is recruiting many more prospects in the class of 2007, but the prospects mentioned here appear to be their top priority at this time.

A potential class of Love, Gant and Stanback would be quite a recruiting coup – one top five national prospect and conservatively two other top 50 national players.


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