Hoops Recruiting Update

After Aaron Brooks, what is the UCLA recruiting picture? A couple more names have popped up. Here's a list in order of their value to UCLA...

Here is a look at the basketball prospect possibilities for UCLA, ranked in the order of their value to the UCLA program.

1) Aaron Brooks, 5-11 SR PG, Seattle Franklin. He's what UCLA needs – a quick, talented point guard. He's been the #1 priority since spring when UCLA coaches saw him in a tournament in Texas. UCLA is fairly full up in the front court, has talent at the wing, but its big question mark is at the point, and he's the best answer out there. The rumor that he's verballed to UCLA is very unconfirmed at this point. UCLA continues to look at other, back-up point guard options, too.

2) Brandon Bass, 6-7 SR PF, Baton Rouge (Louis.) Senior. Bass is athletic and has gotten very muscular and thick since spring. He's the type of player that UCLA doesn't seem to get much – the 225-pound banger who knows his game is under the basket. He's conservatively a top 40 national recruit. It is, though, sketchy on just what kind of chance UCLA has with him. The rumor is that he'll visit UCLA unofficially in August.

3) Charlie Villanueva, 6-9 SR SF/PF, Blairstown (New Jersey) Blair Academy. He's the most talented player that UCLA is recruiting. He gets ranked only third here since it's very well known that he intends to jump to the NBA as soon as possible. He might not even play college ball. But if he did, many believe he's one and out. And it's not farfetched. He is 6-9, and he has great perimeter skills, which makes him a very attractive NBA prospect. His people want him to be a one-and-out guy, and the list of schools he has on his list are those they believe could be the best for him to go one and out. Not the kind of thing you want to hear. But he's still very talented and there's always a chance, perhaps, that he doesn't jump early.

4) Marcus Dove, 6-7 SR SF, Long Beach (Calif.) Millikan. Dove has some extreme upside. He's very athletic, handles the ball like a guard, has a decent outside shot and can go inside and get a rebound. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn't he? Well, he really could be. He also has a body that has continued to grow, and could put on quite a bit of muscle. The question will be whether Dove plays hard all the time. When he does, he's a top 40 national level talent. UCLA has been sniffing around him. He has said his dream school is Kansas, while he's getting interest from USC, Oregon, Arizona State, Boston College and Oklahomat State.

5) Trevor Ariza, 6-7 SR SF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. It's a hard choice between Dove and Ariza. They're actually very similar. Dove probably is a bit better prospect because he handles and shoots the ball better than Ariza at this point. Plus, Dove has less baggage. UCLA is looking for a wing who can score, but with a priority of being able to shoot, which might not make it a great fit. But Ariza could very well keep developing his perimeter skills and become a huge college player. It's still thought that because of different priorities, Ariza will more than likely end up somewhere else besides UCLA.

6) Sean Phaler, 6-9 SR PF, Villa Park (Calif.) High. This summer hasn't improved Phaler's stock too much. He's getting interest from the likes of Oregon, Utah, and possibly Stanford, who haven't quite decided whether they'll offer him. While what I said about him for months has proven to be true in his recruitment – that he really is a tweener – Phaler still does something that not many other prospects can: shoot. There's always a chance for someone who can shoot, and when Phaler gets it going, he's one of the best. While UCLA seemed to fill a spot on its frontline when it got the commitment of Ryan Hollins in spring, if a second scholarship becomes available and UCLA, for whatever reason, isn't able to fill it with a wing, Phaler might be a good option.

7) Sean Marshall, 6-4 SR SF/SG, Rialto (Calif.) Eisenhower. Marshall has had a great spring and summer, enough to get him some considerable recruiting attention. He has shot the ball fairly well, which really got him the increased interest. He's active and generally plays hard, but has a bit of an attitude at times. He is athletic, but not on the same par as Dove or Ariza, which has generally kept him in the range of the lower end of the high majors. If UCLA absolutely needed a wing , he'd be a good backup choice, but he's not the elite level of talent that UCLA needs to win the Pac-10.

Others:

Lawrence Carrier, 6-8 SR PF/SF, Salisbury (Conn.) Salisbury School. There has always been talk about UCLA and Carrier, since Carrier is originally from the San Bernardino area. His AAU coach has tried to push him and that has gotten UCLA to check him out. Carrier, a couple of years ago, had nice potential, but he hasn't developed, while he's also gained quite a bit of weight and fancies himself more of a small forward when he should be banging under the basket.

Khalif Ford, 6-0 SR PG, Diamond Bar. A player whose stock has fallen, it's tough for the kid since he was coming off an injury. Ford showed great promise this time last year, and then started to force his play so much that he made too many mistakes. You'd have to think there is still that same player in there somewhere, the one who played under control, gave up the ball, and took the shot when it was available. He's a nice kid so you have to root for him. UCLA has kept tabs on him, but at this point you'd have to think it's a longshot that UCLA would move on him.

Vincent Camper, 6-3 SR PG, Oxford (Miss.) High. Camper is originally from Southern California and still has SoCal ties. So much so that he has played with Pat Barrett and the So Cal All-Stars AAU team before. That connection has led him to be introduced to the UCLA coaches, and they have considered him. He has a good body and good size. He passes the ball well and sees the court. He shoots only marginally okay, and is an okay athlete, lacking great quickness and with only okay ballhandling. UCLA is considering him as a backup plan if they don't get Brooks.

Marcus Williams, 6-2 SR PG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. As I reported a few days ago from unnamed sources, Marcus Williams himself confirmed that he's no longer considering UCLA.


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