UCLA Lands Three Top Women's Hoopsters

A girls' AAU team called Finest Basketball Club (FBC), which has been good to the UCLA women's basketball program in the past, comes up huge for the Bruins this summer, with UCLA getting commitments from their post player, forward and guard...

Though Ray Mayes maintains there is no pipe line between his program, Finest Basketball Club (FBC), and that of UCLA women's basketball coach Kathy Olivier, the perception of one only grew stronger this past week as the third FBC player this summer delivered a verbal commitment to the Bruins.

Candice Brown
Candice Brown, a much underrated, 6-foot-4 post prospect out of Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif., gave the Bruins a trio of 2007 prospects off the FBC Blue team, which won the two most prestigious tournaments on the adidas circuit this past year.

Previously, Nina Earl, a versatile 6-1 forward out of Diamond Rach in Pomona, Calif., committed to UCLA in June and Darixa Morris, a strong, athletic 5-9 guard out of John Muir in Pasadena, Calif., verballed to the Bruins earlier this month.

The Bruins already have FBC alums Noel Quinn, the senior guard considered one of the nation's top players, and incoming freshman Moniquee Alexander, a 6-6 post from Harbor City, Calif.

"We don't steer kids to any particular program because we try to do what's best for the kids," Mayes said. "But we do urge them to at least take a look at the local programs. It looks like USC and UCLA have been doing pretty well."

The Trojans last year signed a class that was ranked by HoopGurlz.com as the best in the country. USC is thought to be the leaders for Lenita Sanford, a 6-1 forward out of Lynwood, Calif., and probably the most coveted of FBC's 2007 prospects. UCLA, which won the Pac-10 conference tournament, has established a solid 2007 class with its three signings out of the state of California.

Darixa Morris
"Nina Earl is one of the most versatile wings I saw this summer," said Chris Hansen, National Director of Scouting for HoopGurlz and Scout.com " What is most impressive is her versatility defensively. She is able to guard smaller guards on the perimeter because of her quickness and technique and she should give UCLA plenty of ways to use her at a number of positions.

"Candice Brown has a great upside. She has really smooth pivot moves and could be one of the most underrated players on the West Coast. Darixa Morris was a spark plug for FBC this summer and with her athleticism and toughness she should be able to develop into a nice player for the Bruins."

Two jewels from the FBC Blue team actually are in the 2008 class, where wing Jasmine Dixon of Long Beach, Calif., and point guard Nikki Speed of Pasadena, Calif., are considered among the very best players at their positions, nationally.

Glenn Nelson is the publisher of www.HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout.com, an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn founded and coached the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girls basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at hoopgurlz@comcast.net.

Chris Hansen is the National Director of Scouting for Women's Basketball at HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com. Chris leads the panel that evaluates and ranks girl's basketball prospects nationally for HoopGurlz, Scout.com and Full Court Press (www.FullCourt.com). Chris has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He can be reached at chansen@scout.com.

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