Usually, UCLA will have signed its recruiting class in November and will move on to scout and evaluate the next recruiting class during the season.
But this year, with UCLA having three scholarships to give to the 2010 class, and with some clear roster needs, the UCLA coaches are still very actively recruiting the 2010 class.
In fact, Head Coach Ben Howland has been out watching prospects more in the first month of the season than we ever can remember since he's been at UCLA.
On one hand, having now until the April signing period to watch and evaluate prospects gives UCLA some time to do a thorough job. On the other hand, UCLA is spending an uncommon amount of time on the class that is usually put to be in November, which could take precious scouting and evaluation time away from the 2011 and 2012 classes.
But it is what it is.
UCLA, of course, already has commitments from Josh Smith, the 6-9 center from Kent (Wash.) Kentwood, who is the #13th-ranked player in the nation, and Tyler Lamb, the 6-4 shooting guard from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei ranked #60 in the country.
With three rides available, and the obvious need for backcourt players, UCLA is scouring the country (and other countries) looking for guards.
From what I've heard, UCLA is investigating all domestic and foreign guard possibilities. UCLA assistants Scott Duncan and Donnie Daniels have already been to Canada on scouting trips in the last month.
As it currently stands, UCLA has two primary targets at point guard.
There's Ray McCallum, the 6-1 prospect from Beverly Hills (Mich.) Detroit Country Day, the #23-ranked player in the nation. Not much has changed with McCallum since he chose to forego the early signing period and wait until spring. McCallum has visited UCLA, Oklahoma, Florida and Arizona, and at this point it's uncertain if he harbors a clear favorite in that group. The thought is that McCallum is waiting to see what happens in terms of his father's job status as the head coach at Detroit.
UCLA has also offered a scholarship to Lazeric Jones, the 6-1 point guard from Carterville (Ill.) John A. Logan College. We recently talked to Jones (Story) and got the latest on his recruitment. Howland, in fact, traveled to see Jones at his JC on Monday.
Trey Zeigler, the 6-4 shooting guard from Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) High, is still a spring target for the Bruins.
There is also, of course, Terrence Jones, the 6-7 power forward from Portland (Ore.) Jefferson, ranked #20 in the nation, who will also sign in April.
Other than those four, UCLA doesn't have a scholarship offer tendered to any other prospect who would come to UCLA in the fall of 2010.
The coaches, though, have been out scouting various prospects.
They've seen Deonta Burton, the 6-1 shooting guard from Compton (Calif.) Centennial, who is a very good, quick athlete and a decent student. There's a question as to whether he could play point guard in college and many consider him strictly a shooting guard. Utah and Long Beach State have offered Burton a scholarship, and some Pac-10 schools have been watching him. Burton attended the Kansas game Sunday.
There is Jordin Mayes, the 6-1 combo guard from Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. We recently saw him story in the Westchester tournament. Howland has been to see Mayes play twice already this season.
UCLA has also been out to see LaBradford Franklin, the 6-1 point guard from Temecula (Calif.) Great Oak. There is also a plan to take a look at Bobby Miles, the 6-0 point guard from the City of Industry (Calif.) Workman, who came to the KU game. Most scouts believe that Franklin and Miles, however, aren't UCLA-level.
There is also a rumor circulating that UCLA is looking into another JC point guard. And perhaps another player from Canada.
We've also heard that UCLA is going aggressively after Angelo Chol, the 6-8 junior post from San Diego (Calif.) Hoover, who attended the Kansas game Sunday.
Another younger player who is cementing himself as a UCLA target is 6-6 sophomore wing Xavier Johnson from Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral.
It's believed that UCLA intends to fill up its three open scholarships by spring. There's also some belief that UCLA could have more scholarships open up to due transfer after this season, so it's thought that UCLA needs to fill the three currently open to try get as full of a roster for the 2010-2011 season as possible.