Hoops Recruiting Update

You can never discuss or speculate too much about recruiting when a program is doing very well, and that's exactly how it currently is with UCLA basketball. There is some recent developments that also make for some potentially interesting recruiting scenarios...

The most recent development in UCLA basketball recruiting is that Marko Spica, the 6-9 center from Serbia Montenegro, who signed a National Letter of Intent with UCLA, did not achieve a qualifying test score in his most recent attempt at the SAT.

Spica has not achieved a sufficient score in two attempts at the SAT.

He will have three more opportunities, in April, May and June, and there are some close to the situation that believe he will do well enough to qualify by UCLA admission standards.

The word is that it isn't an insurmountable improvement that Spica needs, but not insignificant either.

Spica's uncertainty, though, presents some interesting possibilities. It's believed if Spica doesn't qualify, UCLA could very well offer a scholarship to Russell Westbrook, the 6-2 combo guard from Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger.

Westbrook is emerging as an elite prospect, a potential top 75 national caliber player. However, Westbrook has yet to achieve a test score that would qualify him by UCLA academic admissions himself.

So, given all this, here are the various scenarios that could play out this spring:

Scenario #1: Spica qualifies and UCLA then has two scholarships to give to the 2007 high school junior class. Currently in the 2007 class UCLA is looking very good with Kevin Love, the 6-9 center from Lake Oswego (Ore.) High, and Kyle Singler, the 6-8 forward from Medford (Ore.) South Medford. Much has been written about each of their recruitments (you can peruse the BRO basketball recruiting story archives to access it all).

If UCLA, say, got Love but didn't get Singler, it would probably opt for the best available wing/forward or guard. Right now, the other best bets to fill a scholarship in the 2007 class would be among the local players UCLA has offered, Darnell Gant, the 6-8 forward from Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, or Chace Stanback, the 6-6 wing from Los Angeles Fairfax. It's also known they have offered Derrick Rose, the elite 6-2 point guard from Chicago (Ill.) Simeon, and Julian Vaughn, a 6-8 forward from Reston (Virg.) South Lakes.

Scenario #2: Spica doesn't qualify, but Westbrook does, UCLA offers Westbrook and he commits in spring. This would still give UCLA two scholarships to give in the 2007 class and the same prospects recognized above would be targets.

Scenario #3: Neither Spica nor Westbrook come to UCLA, either because they don't achieve qualifying test scores or Westbrook is not ultimately offered, and UCLA then has three scholarships to give to the 2007 high school class.

If UCLA did, in fact, have three scholarships to give to the 2007 class, they would most like go to a center (with Love as the first priority, obviously), a forward/wing (Singler, Gant, or Stanback) and then a guard. As we've discussed, UCLA getting a guard would probably be a top priority in terms of filling out the roster most effectively if you project it out over the next several years and considering that there is a real chance that either or both Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo could leave to go pro early..

Scenario #4: Singler commits to Duke fairly soon, and UCLA determines, then, its need is more at the guard position, and it offers and takes a commitment from Westbrook.

This might happen regardless of whether Spica qualifies or not. It makes relatively good sense, too, since filling a guard position is a need, and Westbrook very well could be better and more suited (as a combo) to fill the role than any guard UCLA would have a chance with in the 2007 class (which in the west and Southern California is down for point guards and shooting guards). If they did take Westbrook under this scenario, and Spica qualifies, they would only have one scholarship to give to the 2007 class. If Spica didn't qualify, you'd have Westbrook and two scholarships to give to the 2007 class, without the chance of getting Singler.

Singler, as we all know, unofficially visited UCLA the weekend of the Arizona game, and is scheduled to unofficially visit Duke this coming weekend. He's supposed to get there on Saturday and attend the Duke game against Miami on Sunday. He has indicated that he very readily could make his decision in the next month, and at the very least, by the end of school year. A recent report indicated that Singler was down to UCLA and Duke.

So, it's very reasonable that Singler could make a decision in the next month, and if it's Duke, UCLA then could determine it needs guards, there aren't many in the 2007 class available in the west, and offer Westbrook.

We're hearing indications from UCLA that, contrary to what we asserted before, UCLA will probably not take an extra, 14th commitment in preparation for the 2007-2008 season. It was believed that UCLA could take a commitment from one extra recruit in the 2007 class and have him sign a NLI in November, gambling that either or both Farmar and Afflalo would leave after their junior year. But we've now heard that UCLA won't do that.

So, all in all, this spring should be very interesting. One other scenario that UCLA fans should be praying for is if, indeed, Singler does decide in the next month or so, and he happens to choose UCLA. It would then overwhelmingly appear that Love would follow that commitment with one himself to UCLA, since it's known that Love, between the two of them, considers UCLA more strongly.

For a more detailed list of possible UCLA recruits, go to our most recent basketball recruiting update


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