UCLA, with four excellent 2008 commitments, is looking for one more post player to round out a five-man class.
As we predicted, UCLA's scouting list of 2008 big men is changing just about day by day in July. Some players emerge, and college coaches get a sense of what out there and realize who they need to be on.
UCLA, so far, has one scholarship offer out to one non-committed recruit that they have a reasonable chance of getting. Then, after that, there's a sizeable list of prospects they're scouting. Again, this list will change considerably as July goes on.
J'mison Morgan, 6-9, Dallas (Tex.) South Oak Cliff. He's at the top of UCLA's want list for bigs in 2008, and has a UCLA offer. He told Scout.com's Dave Telep that he's trimmed his list to five schools: Kansas, Texas, Baylor, Alabama and UCLA. He said, "It'll be about the relationship I have with the players and coaches." Official visits are next on his agenda.
Ralph Sampson, 6-10, Huntsville (Ala.) Butler. Sampson looked better as the LeBron James Academy progressed, far more active around the basket, particularly in rebounding. It was good enough to probably make the UCLA coaches continue to watch him throughout July. He still is fairly passive, and when he went up against the best posts in the camp they more or less had their way with him. But everyone who knows him says he's come very far, the light is just starting to turn on and believe he'll continued to improve dramatically. It's a matter of trying to project how good Sampson could be, say, after a redshirt year. Will he continue to develop like he has in the last year?
Kevin Jones, 6-8, Mount Vernon (New York) High, has really stepped up so far this July and many colleges are watching him, including UCLA, and he now has offers from Syracuse and Kentucky. Jones has a combination that obviously would appeal to Howland: he's athletic, tough, a good rebounder and is a good student.
Olek Czyz, 6-7, Reno (Nev.) High, came to UCLA's Camp for a couple of hours and was impressive. A great athlete, he just started getting high major attention this spring. UCLA could look seriously at him if they don't get a traditional five type. He's been ripping it up in the spring and summer events, and has a Kentucky offer and other elite high majors on him.
Colton Iverson, 6-9, Yankton (South Dakota) High. Iverson is one of those guys who is showing solid play so far this July and the high majors are coming out. In fact, Washington State and Nebraska have offered. He's on UCLA's to-scout list.
Tim Williams, 6-8, Antioch (Calif.) High. All the west coast mid-majors know about him and are trying to keep him quiet. Now the high majors are starting to watch, and we'll see if any offer. We consider him at least a Pac-10 level player.
Xavier Gibson, 6-9, Dothan (Ala.) Northview. Gibson was not aggressive throughout the LeBron James Academy, and didn't do much. He has the athleticism and length, but didn't display it much. Reportedly he's doing quite a bit better at the Peach Jam in the last few days. We'll see if UCLA continues to scout him.
Assane Sene, 6-9, South Kent (Conn.) High. UCLA is scouting Sene. Originally from Senegal and showed flashes at the NBA Players Camp in June.
Festus Ezeli, 6-9, Nigeria and Sacramento. Ezeli is getting some attention from high majors. He's an interesting story -- being an excellent student who's already graduated from high school and is taking JC classes. UCLA is watching him, however, we doubt that Ezeli has the talent to be someone UCLA will recruit.