Update on 2009 Hoops Recruiting

There are some new developments -- and some new names -- on the list of UCLA's prospects for 2009, including a few new guards and wings and a few, new foreign post players from the Ukraine, Guinea and Australia...

It's been a few weeks since the end of the July Evaluation period, and there have been some developments in UCLA's basketball recruiting for the 2009 class.

UCLA, of course, already has two commitments – from 6-7 power forward Reeves Nelson from Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian, and 6-8 power forward Brendan Lane, from Rocklin (Calif.) High.

Both Nelson and Lane will probably see their national rankings fall a bit as a result of the summer. Nelson didn't play due to an injury, and Lane looked a bit out of sync in July, since he was recovering from an injury.

UCLA looks to probably give out three more scholarships to the 2009 class, to two perimeter players and a big.

GUARDS AND WINGS

UCLA continues to pursue perhaps its biggest target, 6-7 small forward Tyler Honeycutt from Sylmar (Calif.) High. Honeycutt has visited campus at least three times this month, and, in fact, was on campus playing in the pick-up games Wednesday. Sources close to the situation think UCLA is the leader for his services. He has said that it's UCLA, USC, Texas and Memphis, while Texas and Memphis have yet to offer him a scholarship. He also visited USC in the last month, and we believe that USC is easily the toughest competition for the Bruins to get Honeycutt. Honeycutt's high school coach played for USC head coach Tim Floyd, so he has some very pro-USC and pro-Floyd influences around him. The smart money is still on UCLA, but it's closer than you might think. Honeycutt will officially visit UCLA in late September. It's uncertain if he's arranged official visits with other schools.

Honeycutt will probably move up, conservatively, to a top 40 national ranking among the various experts as a result of his summer performance.

It's been cooling somewhat between UCLA and Noel Johnson, the 6-6 small forward from Fayetteville (Georgia) Fayette County. The Bruins would probably only pick up their recruitment of Johnson aggressively if they missed on Honeycutt.

At the shooting guard position, there have been some more names added to the list of UCLA targets.

Of course, the list starts with a couple of guys: Avery Bradley, the 6-2 guard from Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep, and Michael Snaer, the 6-4 guard from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde.

Bradley, who is now a top 20 national prospect, has said that his leaders are UCLA and Texas. The stumbling block for UCLA is Bradley's academics, but we've heard that Bradley is dedicated to getting NCAA qualified. If he turns in a good first semester of his senior year that could go a long way for UCLA being able to take him. The issue will be whether he'll want to commit and sign a National Letter of Intent in November. With his semester grades probably not coming in until December, it would be tough for UCLA to accept a NLI from Bradley, with how his academics currently stand. They could, however, get a good idea by November, and, if Bradley does want to come to UCLA, he could possibly be convinced of holding off until later to sign. But that all could be tough when you have Texas ready and willing to take a signed NLI from him in November.

One intriguing element of Bradley's recruitment was the fact that he and his high school and AAU teammate, Abdul Gaddy, the elite 6-3 point guard, said they intended to go to college together. Gaddy's final five are Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Memphis and UCLA, and UCLA is the only school still common to the lists of both Bradley and Gaddy. Gaddy, of course, de-committed from Arizona and opened up his recruitment, and there has been some talk that UCLA is doing better than expected with Gaddy, and could get an unofficial visit out of him. He has said he might commit fairly soon, and many close to the situation feel that Arizona will be his destination, that the new assistant staff at Arizona has done a good job in re-recruiting Gaddy. But it, at least, is intriguing that, with so much made of Gaddy and Bradley wanting to go to the same school, it's UCLA that is the only school still remaining on both of their lists. It's believed it could still help UCLA with both Gaddy and Bradley.

Gaddy is considered by many to be at least one of the two best point guard prospects in the nation, and possibly the best.

Michael Snaer is the other big target at shooting guard. He also visited UCLA in August, and is still considering Missouri, Marquette, Florida State and Stanford. Missouri is thought to be the leader, but it was also expected that he would have possibly committed to them by the end of August, until he recently just said that he could be postponing his announcement for a few more weeks to take more time for his decision and possibly take more unofficial visits.

It's still believed that Missouri is the leader, since there are some influences pushing him that way.

The #1 shooting guard in the nation, Xavier Henry, from Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam City, has said he wanted to take an official visit to UCLA. But we've heard it's pretty certain it's either Memphis or Kansas for him, and that it's doubtful he'll even trip to UCLA.

We reported this week that Matt Vogrich, the 6-3 sharp-shooter from Lake Forest (Ill.) High, will take an official visit to UCLA. The other schools on his list, which he also intends to visit, are Notre Dame, Michigan, Stanford and Wake Forest. He'll visit UCLA on the weekend of September of 27th and 28th.

Durand Scott, the 6-5 shooting guard from New York (New York) Rice, plans to officially visit UCLA also this fall. The #7-ranked shooting guard in the nation also intends to visit Pittsburgh, Miami and Louisville, and take unofficial visits to St. John's and Seton Hall. We reported this summer that UCLA was gauging the interest of Scott, who is currently the #27-ranked player in the national class of 2010, and it appears that it is enough to warrant an official visit. Scott is definitely a Ben Howland type of player, who plays hard and is competitive, with good athleticism. Scott is slated to visit UCLA in late September.

Roger Franklin, the 6-5 wing from Duncanville (Tex.) High, is another prospect that intrigued UCLA this summer. He's physical and plays hard, and is a good athlete. He could visit UCLA officially this fall also.

UCLA is trying to get involved with Nick Russell, the 6-4 combo guard from Arlington (Tex.) Grace Prep Academy. Iowa's been on Russell hard and he's leaning toward the Hawkeyes. Duke has shown some interest, and Russell has many scholarship offers from some significant names – like Michigan, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Marquette. The general thought is that many schools have been on Russell hard for a while and UCLA could be too late to the game.

Elijah Johnson, the 6-2 combo guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne, is still in a holding pattern with so much uncertainty about his academics. The word is that he'd have to do some considerable work to get NCAA qualified, and that might not be determined until well after the November signing period.

Anthony Marshall, the 6-2 shooting guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Mojave, verbally committed to hometown UNLV. It's highly unlikely UCLA would offer him and he'd change his commitment.

BIGS

Anthony Stover, the 6-9 center from La Canada (Calif.) Renaissance, visited UCLA's campus in August. He also recently visited Arizona for their camp, and the word is that Arizona could now be the leader. There is always some buzz about a school when a player recently visits, or camps there, but it wouldn't be surprising if the buzz for Arizona lingers.

Besides Stover, UCLA looks to be going international on the bigs front.

Kyryl Natyazhko is a 6-10 bruiser originally from the Ukraine who plays at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy in the States. He got good reviews this summer, and a number of big-named schools started scrambling to find out more about the 240-pounder. Apparently he's home in the Ukraine for the rest of August, but plans on visiting a few schools when he returns. We've heard there could be an issue regarding his eligibility, but that it could be worked out.

Bawa Muniru is another bruiser, at 6-11 and 250, originally from Guinea but having settled in Madison (Ala.) at Madison Academy to play high school ball. Louisville, LSU, USC and others have offered, and UCLA is getting involved while checking on eligibility for the African big man.

Another foreign name that burst onto the scene in July was Angus Brandt, the 6-10 post from Australia, who will play for Lake Forest (Ill.) Lake Forest Academy this season. Once he got warmed up in July, Brandt put on a show and had college coaches falling all over themselves trying to get involved with him. Apparently, the skilled big man has only been playing basketball for a few years and is thought to have tremendous upside. Indiana has offered, and actually wanted him to enroll in college this fall, since he's already academically eligible, but Brandt opted for one more year at the prep school to get acclimated to the States. Oregon State, Washington State and Gonzaga have also offered. Oregon State, in fact, recently hired a Lake Forest Academy assistant.


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