Hoops Recruiting Update

With more than likely two scholarships to give for the 2003/2004 season, UCLA has a couple of main targets and is exploring other options...

UCLA has two open scholarships to give for the 2003-2004 season. It's pretty clear that they're in the market for a point guard and a front court player.

UCLA was looking to fill one of those spots as early as this spring, with the possibility of signing Ryan Hollins, 6-10 SR C, Pasadena (Calif.) Muir, who has gotten his release from his National Letter of Intent to St. Louis. If he redshirted, though, he would be potentially as good as the top 2-3 post prospects in the current high school junior class on the west coast. The Hollinses have shown interest in UCLA, but it's looking more like Ryan is saying that he really wants to play for former St. Louis head coach, Lorenzo Romar, who is now at Washington. Hollins is long and athletic, but still very raw and physically undeveloped.

Also, UCLA has begun to recruit a foreign player, Yanif Green, 6-9 PF/C, from Israel. Green is 21-years-old and has played in Israel extensively. Reportedly he's a skilled frontcourt player. He's good friends with Cal's Amit Tamir, which could help Cal's chances with him. Apparently, Connecticut is also involved. There is a plan for Green to come to the States and visit Cal and UCLA officially in the next month or so. Cal, reportedly, will be first on his itinerary.

There are still other lingering rumors about potential transfers, but it's too premature – and baseless – to report at this point.

But, if UCLA doesn't get Hollins, or Green, that leaves them looking to fill those two scholarships with prospects from the high school junior class. It appears that UCLA's two main targets in the high school junior class are currently Aaron Brooks, 5-11 JR PG, Seattle (Wash.) Franklin, and Sean Phaler, 6-9 JR PF, Villa Park (Calif.) High.

Brooks, after an impressive spring where he began getting quite a bit more recruiting attention, has definitely become the target of UCLA's attention. After the UCLA coaches saw him in Texas at a tournament a few weeks ago, they've been recruiting him pretty heavily and reportedly have offered Brooks a scholarship. Brooks also apparently likes Washington, Oregon, Gonzaga and New Mexico, along with UCLA. Reportedly, he scored in the high 900s on the SAT. Brooks is supposed to be visiting UCLA in early June.

Phaler, a skilled big man who likes to play more like a small forward, has many schools on him very early. When we spoke with him a few weeks ago, he said he was wide open, doesn't have a leader and was still considering many schools. The word is that UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Utah are among his potential choices. Last year there was some solid inside info that Phaler liked UCLA and his parents preferred he stay close to home, but since then, the word is that he's legitimately looking at all of his options.

Also on UCLA's list is Brandon Bass, 6-7 JR PF, Baton Rouge (Lousiana) Capitol. Bass plays for a west coast AAU team, the H Squad, and was seen by many college coaches at the Pump East tourney in Vegas and in the recent Texas tournaments. Bass is a wiry athlete, who gets off the floor quickly and plays around the basket very aggressively. He probably weighs 200 pounds, but is put together very well and plays bigger than he is. He's probably a top 60 player or better nationally. UCLA is taking a shot with him, having a connection with the west coast AAU team, but Bass lists many schools as the one's he's considering, including LSU, Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Texas and others.

Nick Stiggers, 6-7 JR PF, Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep, is also a possibility, but probably a remote one. Stiggers is a big, burly low-block player, with a nice set of skills that allow him to shoot out to the three-point line. He's limited a bit athletically, but probably effective enough to make up for it. Stiggers came to the west coast from Florida this past season, and it's generally believed that USC has been deeply involved with Stiggers since last year. He said last weekend that, if he had to choose right now, USC would be his choice. Stiggers did say recently that UCLA came out to see him during the contact period.

Marcus Williams, 6-2 JR PG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, looks to be falling down UCLA's recruiting list, mutually. Williams was thought to be a heavy UCLA lean, in fact, many considered him a silent verbal. It went so far as to the UCLA coaches asking Williams what other players in his class he'd like them to bring in with him. But recently the Williams family apparently has had some reservations, while UCLA, at the same time, has had some of their own. It's uncertain even if UCLA is recruiting Marcus Williams now.

So, going into the summer, it looks like Brooks and Phaler will be the two main targets to fill the needs at point guard and post player.

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