There were enough to get Head Coach Ben Howland back from following around Kyle Singler, the 6-8 elite forward, at the Peach Jam tournament back east.
Howland watched Singler over the course of a couple of days. It will be, in fact, the last time Howland, or any college coach, will see Singler in an event setting. He will not play in Las Vegas during the second half of the July evaluation period. To see him, college coaches will have to go to his high school, and you can be sure that those involved with Singler will be beating a path to South Medford High in Oregon.
Scout.com's Jeff Goodman reported from the Peach Jam that Singler said he plans to take official visits in the fall to Duke, Arizona and Kansas and is still deciding whether to visit UCLA and Washington.
While on the subject of where prospects will be, we've heard that Kevin Love, the elite 6-9 post, hasn't played since the ABCD Camp, and will only re-emerge with the So Cal All-Stars in Las Vegas for the Big Time tournament.
But getting back to the Three Stripes tourney...
Thursday UCLA assistant coach Donnie Daniels watched Larry Drew, the 5-11 junior point guard, play with one Pump team on one court, while watching 6-1 junior point guard Jerime Anderson and 6-3 junior guard Jrue Holiday play with the other Pump team on an adjacent court.
Many other coaches were there watching the Pump teams, including Louisville's Rick Pitino, who watched the Holiday/Anderson game (probably interested in Holiday), as well as coaches from Arizona, Cal, Stanford, Arizona State (watching it's impending committed player, James Harden), Washington and Gonzaga.
Friday morning, Howland and Daniels watched Luke Babbitt, the 6-8 junior forward in the morning. Babbitt didn't play his best game, looking pretty fatigued, as are many kids at this point. Pitino was in the gym again, watching Babbitt, as well as coaches from the schools listed above.
UCLA-committed wing Chace Stanback was then schedule to play with Rising Stars of America, but didn't show, probably because Fairfax was playing in a tournament in Orange Country, from what we heard.
Howland then watched Drew on one court, and 6-3 point guard Malcolm Lee on an adjacent court. Lee didn't have a great game – not bad, but not great. He had a few nice passes where he split a seam, but struggled with his usually sharp shot, and penetrated out of control a couple of times. Drew arrived at the half of his game, and looked good, continuing to show a combination of very good quickness and handle, which enables him to get around defenders than the other point guards in the west coast class of 2008. He also showed very good quickness staying in front of the ball on defense. While many other prospects look tired, Drew looks unphased.
UCLA's recruiting priorities for 2007 remain Love and Singler. There really aren't any other prospects in that class that UCLA is actively pursuing at this time. UCLA very well could have pursued Harden, but the word is that he's sewn up for ASU.
For 2008, if the attendance at events by Howland and UCLA assistants is any indication, Holiday, Drew, Anderson, Lee and Babbitt look to be the prospects that UCLA is spending its time scouting.
At the midway point of July, there isn't a clear-cut leader in the race for superiority between the 2008 point guards, Drew, Anderson and Lee. If you had to pick, Drew has probably shown better in the first couple of weeks of the evaluation period, with a superior handle and quickness. He's been more effective because of it, able to create more for himself and his teammates. Anderson probably makes the best decisions. Lee might be the best combination of size, athleticism and skill.
Unless he completely tanks the rest of July (maybe even if he did), Holiday has cemented himself as the #1 prospect in the west coast class, and UCLA's top priority in that class.
Former UCLA Head Coach Jim Harrick coached the Drew-led Pump team.
New UCLA assistant coach Scott Garson was out to watch the Pump Camp All-Star game Thursday.
The Pump tourney concludes Saturday, with the final at 3:30.
Then, there are six days off until the three tournaments – the Reebok Big Time, the Main Event, and the Adidas Super 64 – take over Las Vegas July 22-26.