Hoops Recruiting for 2011 (and 2012)

We told you the quandary UCLA is in recruiting the 2010 class...well, the 2011 class is part of that quandary since it's far more talented than 2010. If UCLA can find the scholarships for 2011, here are the guys that could be UCLA's top targets...

The 2011 class looks quite a bit better in California in terms of talent. It's still early for sophomores, but right now there are clearly more potentially elite prospects in the 2011 class than the 2010 class in the west.

As we discussed in the previous story, UCLA might not have many scholarships to give to the 2011 class, unless a few things happen.  As of right now, if everyone who is slated to be on the roster for the 2011-2012 season remains, and UCLA takes three players in the 2010 class, the Bruins would be without a scholarship to give to the 2011 class.

Now, it's a no-brainer that Jrue Holiday will be gone by the end of next season (at this time it's a good bet he'll keep his name in the draft this spring).  That would open up a scholarship, unless UCLA chooses to fill it by signing an additional player to the 2009 class this spring.

As we laid out in the previous story, UCLA very well might not give out all three scholarships it has available for the 2010 class.  With the talent in the 2010 class down, especially in the west, UCLA very well could choose to save a scholarship for the more talented 2011 class. 

But that could be difficult.  UCLA already has commitments from Kendall Williams and Tyler Lamb.  While we've said before that it's uncertain if Williams will prove to be a UCLA-level player, UCLA still very well could keep his commitment.  If UCLA does, also, get Josh Smith, it would fill the three rides. 

It's impossible to predict what will happen in terms of UCLA's 2010 recruiting.  It could end up with an extra scholarship that it could use for 2011, or it could end up filing the three scholarships.

There's also the very real possibility that a player -- or players -- currently on the UCLA roster leave the program early or even transfer.  It's a fool's task, however,  to try to project whether someone like Malcolm Lee will be at UCLA for all four years or develop enough to leave for the NBA early.  It's also difficult to predict whether someone will transfer out.  There will, though, be a particular logjam at the power forward position over the next few years: Dreew Gordon could end up playing the position; there are incoming power forwards Brendan Lane and Reeves Nelson; and incoming wings Tyler Honeycutt and/or Mike Moser could easily grow into power forwards. 

There is a time constriction, however.  UCLA will focus its recruitment and look to get commitments from the 2011 class starting next spring, so for UCLA to be able to knowingly have a scholarship, a player would have to jump to the NBA by next spring.  It's fairly unlikely that someone else (besides Holiday) will leave for the NBA by the end of next season. Someone could decide to transfer out by the end of next season, but it's impossible to bank on that. 

Bottom line: How many scholarships UCLA has to give to the 2011 class is completely uncertain.  You can speculate that, through a number of means, UCLA will have some to give, but it could be one, two, three or maybe even four.

It would be a shame if UCLA, though, didn't have enough rides for 2011 to take advantage of the talent in the class. 

In terms of positional need, so much depends on what happens with the recruitment of the class of 2010.  At the top of the list for both classes is a point guard; if UCLA doesn't get one in 2010 (or from the 2009 class, actually, if it somehow found one to sign this spring if Holiday left), it will be desperate for one in 2011.  

While, again, it's impossible to project UCLA's roster for the 2011-2012 season, it's probably a safe guess that UCLA would need another guard/wing.  If you assume (which isn't always smart to do) that there will be some shakeout at the power forward position, it's likely UCLA will need a four.  You can also see that UCLA could very well need a five, too.

Regardless of UCLA's needs, here are the potential top targets for UCLA in the 2011 class.

Gelaun Wheelwright, the athletic 6-1 guard from Corona (Calif.) Centennial, will probably be considered an elite national prospect as soon as the national scouts get a look at him. He likes UCLA quite a bit (Story on Wheelwright).  UCLA recently went to watch Wheelwright, and reportedly the Bruins are very high on him.  It wouldn't be surprising if UCLA offered Wheelwright a scholarship by the end of July.  It wouldn't be suprising if Wheelwright, too, didn't take too long to commit to the Bruins.  There are rumors that he could be transferring to Mater Dei, which might not be the best thing for him. Over the next three years, the most critical thing for Wheelwright is that he play the point guard position, and develop those skills. 

Tony Wroten, the 6-4 combo guard from Seattle (Wash.) Garfield, is the #1-ranked player in the class nationally for 2011, and his recruitment is a circus. UCLA is trying. It could help -- or hurt -- that Wroten's AAU teammate is Josh Smith. More than likely, Wroten is looking for a clear one-and-done scenario, and staying close to home and going to Washington is what most close to the situation think will happen. 

Kyle Caudill, the massive 6-10 center from Brea (Calif.) Brea-Olinda, continues to improve his body, athleticism and mobility. He has good skills and hands, and if he continues to develop at the pace he is, expect him to be a UCLA-level recruit. If UCLA offers him, we've heard that the Bruins would be the strong leaders for him.

Angelo Chol, the 6-8 power forward/post from San Diego (Calif.) Hoover, is an incredibly long athlete who plays above the rim, and is really blossoming as his offensive skills develop. He averaged a triple-double as a sophomore. UCLA has spent some time watching him, and it's thought he could be on his way to a UCLA offer.

Nick Johnson, the 6-2 shooting guard from Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland, claims offers from ASU and Gonzaga, and has high interest in UCLA. He had a good performance in the Boo Williams tournament, and it undoubtedly will raise his stock nationally. 

Kevin Johnson, the 6-9 post from Gardena (Calif.) Serra, is a big body with a good post feel, and definitely a high-major D-1 prospect. There could be academic and other issues.

Norvel Pelle, the 6-8 power forward from Compton (Calif.) Dominguez, is a great athlete for his size. He claims USC and Texas have already offered him a scholarship. He's had some issues, however, in terms of motivation, and it led to very limited playing time at Dominguez this last season.

Kyle Wiltjer is a 6-8, skilled power forward from Portland (Ore.) Jesuit who came to UCLA's elite camp last summer and was impressive.

Jabari Brown, the 6-3 shooting guard from Richmond (Calif.) Salesian, is considered one of the best backcourt players in the west for 2011.

Byron Wesley, the 6-4 small forward from San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon, is one of the early best wings in the 2011 class in the west. 

Jahii Carson,  the 5-10 point guard from Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe, is talented and true point guard, but pretty small.  It will have to be seen whether he's good enough to make up for his size. 

Gary Bell, the 6-0 combo guard from Kent (Wash.) can light it up, but is thought to be more of a two-guard right now.  Reportedly he already has an offer from Washington.  

Rakeem Christmas, the 6-9 center from Philadelphia (Penn.) Northeast Catholic, is the #2-ranked center in the nation for 2011 and has UCLA on his early list. 

Julian Royal, the 6-8 post from Alpharetta (Georgia) Milton is the #3-ranked power forward for 2001 and mentions UCLA. When's the last time (or first time) UCLA got a player out of the southeast?

James McAdoo, the elite 6-8 power forward from Norfolk (Virg.) Christian, is probably a top ten national player who has UCLA on his list of elite programs. It's believed it will be a case of everyone trying to beat North Carolina in the end.


Trying to project 1) what UCLA will need in the 2012 class, 2) how many scholarships they'll have and 3) who will be a UCLA-level prospect is near-impossible.

We know one thing, though: Xavier Johnson, the 6-5 small forward from Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral, has a chance to be one of the best prospects in the country for his class. He has a classic wing body, great athleticism and an excellent feel for the game. Encouraging for UCLA, he came to the Bruin elite camp and likes UCLA. He's also apparently playing with a Pump AAU team, which is a good thing for UCLA. 

Brandon Ashley, a 6-6 power forward from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, is very long with great mobility and has a very good skill level for a freshman. He was at UCLA's elite camp also last summer. Also at Bishop O'Dowd is Richard Longrus, 6-5 small forward who also is showing early signs of being a high-major prospect.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories