Here's what's happening with UCLA and the 2010 class.
In Phoenix, Arizona, starting today, is the Desert Duel, which features many of UCLA's top 2010 targets.
As we've written before, the two guys UCLA is putting a great deal of effort into are Josh Smith, the 6-9 center from Kent (Wash.) Kentwood, and Ray McCallum, the 6-0 point guard from Beverly Hills (Mich.) Detroit Country Day. Both Smith and McCallum are the only 2010 prospects who are un-committed that have UCLA scholaship offers (of course, other than the #1 player in the country, Harrison Barnes).
Smith is in Phoenix with his AAU team, Seattle Rotary Select, and McCallum is there with his, Team Detroit.
Both of them had good showings in Las Vegas. In a big showdown between two of the better AAU teams in the nation, Seattle Rotary beat Mac Irvin Fire Friday in the Center Stage tournament at UNLV, and Smith was dominant – just too big to be contained underneath, finishing with numerous dunks. McCallum led Team Detroit to the championship of the Reebok Summer Championships, beating a loaded D-One Sports team in the final.
McCallum and Team Detroit actually faced California Supreme, which featured UCLA-committed Tyler Lamb, in the Reebok semi-final. In that game, McCallum led all scorers with 19 points, while Lamb had 10.
Lamb didn't participate all week in Vegas because of summer school, but arrived Friday night.
So, Smith and McCallum are UCLA's two big targets right now for 2010, and both are in Phoenix, which makes it convenient for Howland, who is there with assistant Donnie Daniels.
Assistant Scott Duncan is in Florida for the Super Showcase.
Also in Phoenix is Terrence Jones, the 6-7 power forward from Portland (Ore.) Jefferson; Trey Zeigler, the 6-4 wing, the son of former UCLA assistant Ernie Zeigler, who is McCallum's backcourt running mate on Team Detroit; and Jelan Kendrick, the 6-6 guard/wing from Atlanta (Georgia) Westlake, who is the #3-ranked small forward in Scout.com's 2010 rankings.
At the Super Showcase in Florida are Phil Pressey, the 5-8 point guard from Dallas (Tex.) Episcopal School; Tobias Harris, the 6-7 power forward from Dix Hills (New York) Half Hollow Hills; and Cameron Wright, the 6-4 guard from Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine.
Later in the week, a UCLA assistant will almost certainly be in the Kansas City area for the KC Prep National Invitational, which will feature Kansas Cit Pump N Run's Trevor Releford, the 5-11 point guard from Shawnee Mission (Kans.) Bishop Miege. UCLA is also looking at Ricky Kreklow, the 6-6 wing from Columbia (Missouri) Rock Bridge, who plays on KC PNR.
Howland and at least one assistant will then be in Los Angeles for the Double Pump Best of the Summer Tournament. In that tournament is Lamb, who we've heard could be playing this week because summer school is over; Anthony Brown, the 6-6 guard from Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View; and Ben Vozzola, the 6-4 guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial.
So, now that you know who UCLA will be watching, this is how it shakes out:
Of course, UCLA's two big targets right now are Smith and McCallum. They have a commitment from Lamb, and one from Kendall Williams, the 6-2 guard from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos. We've reported that Williams' status with UCLA is uncertain, and it probably got a bit more uncertain Friday when, in a game in Vegas in front of Howland, Williams had two technicals and was removed from the game.
At this point, we think it's pretty likely that UCLA and Williams will go their separate ways.
If that does happen, UCLA's prime needs are still point guard and a center, and then, along with the commitment from Lamb, they'd look to fill that fourth spot with another guard, preferably someone who can really shoot – or a prospect that was just too good to pass up.
With McCallum, there is some sentiment in recruiting circles that he will opt to play for his father, Ray McCallum, Sr., who is the head coach at the University of Detroit. Others believe the younger McCallum wants to play at a higher level. If he does, and he chooses UCLA, the Bruins have the point guard they were looking for. The belief is that UCLA is doing well with McCallum.
If UCLA doesn't look like it's getting McCallum, UCLA likes Releford. In fact, Releford very well could be considered 1B in terms of desirability with McCallum if his academics weren't a question. If Releford gets past UCLA's academic admissions process then that will help him. In contrasting the two, McCallum is bigger and longer, has a better body, and is a better shooter; Releford is quicker, flashier, a better passer and creator.
UCLA clearly likes Pressey, as do many programs. It's uncertain just what Pressey thinks of UCLA. If he showed serious interest in the Bruins, and his academics are in order, he very well might vault to the top of the list since he might be the most talented of the three.
Those three – McCallum, Releford and Pressey – are the true point guards on UCLA's list.
After that, there are some shooting guards, combo guards and wings UCLA is evaluating. Anthony Brown very well could be gaining some ground on that list, having a good showing so far this summer. If there were a guard out there besides Pressey or Releford that has the next best chance to get an offer it'd be Brown. From what we've heard, if UCLA offered, the Bruins would be in the driver's seat.
Kendrick, who is very talented – a Chris Douglas-Roberts type -- recently mentioned that he is getting interest from UCLA, but it's uncertain just how interested Kendrick is in UCLA.
Vander Blue, the 6-3 guard from Madison (Wisc.) Memorial, who de-committed from Wisconsin, is reportedly an excellent prospect. Unfortunately, Blue has some academic work to do – and he's doing it, going to summer school instead of participating in the second half of the July evaluation period. On one hand, that's very good, that Blue is trying to take care of academic business; on the other hand, there are coaches, including Howland, who might not get to see him much because of it, and therefore his recruitment could be limited. It's a longshot that UCLA will move on Blue since Howland doesn't have any other opportunities to see him this July.
Wright, who de-committed from Ohio State, is a combo guard, but probably more of a shooting guard without a great outside shot.
UCLA will undoubtedly have more opportunities to see Vozzola this week. While it's likely UCLA will ultimately get someone else we mentioned above, it's also possible that it works out that Vozzola becomes a guy the Bruins target. If, say, UCLA misses on all its true point guard options, Vozzola could be attractive since he can do time at the point guard position.
Terrence Jones is, perhaps, the most unusual prospect for UCLA on this list. He's not a guard, obviously, and projects to being a four on the college level, a spot UCLA looks to have a logjam over the next couple of years. But Jones has done so well this spring that Howland very well might consider him in that category of too-good-to-pass-up. It's uncertain, though, where UCLA rates for Jones.
We'll have more from the various events, and more on 2011, 2012 and 2013 prospect, this week…