Different events come and go, and they're coming and going so fast in the last several years it's difficult to anticipate what the July evaluation period will be like until it's practically over.
It's not only tough for scouts and reporters to know exactly where recruits are going to be during July (and difficult to make travel plans accordingly), but it's not very easy for college coaches. They've been making calls for weeks trying to find where their targets and prospective targets would be during July, and it's tough when you have so many new and different events, and recruits switching from one event and one AAU team to another.
For UCLA, Head Coach Ben Howland is in Indianapolis today, and for the next couple of days, for the Adidas Invitational tournament, which is new this year. Many teams that include UCLA recruits will be there, including two of the Pump teams and most of the best Adidas AAU teams in the country. Howland, who is still recovering from his Achilles injury, will have a particularly tough time getting around this July.
UCLA assistant coaches will be in Los Angeles for the Double Pump Summer Tip-Off Tournament during this same time. This tournament will feature many of the west coast Adidas teams that didn't go the Adidas Invitational tournament in Indy. There will also be some UCLA recruits in the Pangos Summer Tip-Off, also in L.A.
Nike is having its King City Classic in Cleveland, a camp with some of the best Nike-affiliated players in the country, over the next couple of days. It will then finish off the first session of the July evaluation period with the Peach Jam July 12th thru the 15th, which usually features the best Nike AAU teams in the nation. Howland and an assistant are sure to attend.
The Dream Vision AAU team will participate in the NY2LA Sports Summer Jam in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 12th thru the 15th, and you can expect UCLA to be represented there.
Back in L.A., the Pumps will conduct their west coast camp and then the Adidas Three Stripes tournament, while across town there will also be the Fullcourt Press All-West Camp and Fullcourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge.
The July period goes dark from the 16th thru the 21st, then resumes on the 22nd. In Las Vegas will be the Adidas Super 64 and the Las Vegas Fab 48, two events that will feature most of UCLA's prospects. Back in L.A., there will be the Pumps Best of the Summer to finish off the evaluation period, with at least a few other events around the country that feature UCLA prospects, enough at least to keep UCLA coaches scrambling.
UCLA's recruit for 2011 is unusual. It has one scholarship to give currently, but could very well have more by the end of next school year, depending on potential transfers or players leaving the program early for the NBA.
It's generally accepted that UCLA is looking for guards for 2011, but it would be very agreeable to a very elite prospect at another position.
Looking at and projecting out UCLA's roster, a point guard is clearly a priority. UCLA did get Matt Carlino, a 6-2 guard, to come to UCLA this fall (a year early), but Carlino isn't really a point guard. UCLA has two point guards on its roster, Jerime Anderson and Lazeric Jones, but they will juniors for the 2010 season; a point guard in the 2011 class, then, would share the roster with them as a freshman, but then have a wide open shot at the spot as a sophomore. If UCLA waited until the 2012 class to get a point guard, it would be starting a true freshman point guard in 2012 season, which isn't ideal.
UCLA has extended scholarships offers to a handful of players so far and, of course, that could change by the end of July.
Those with scholarship offers:
Norman Powell, 6-2 combo guard, San Diego Lincoln. He's emerged as perhaps UCLA's biggest priority in the 2010 class, with elite athleticism, and the potential to perhaps do some time at the point guard spot. He's been on campus for an unofficial visit. Powell is on the Dream Vision AAU team with elite 2012 prospect Shabazz Muhammad, so you can expect a UCLA, or two, at just about every one of Dream Vision's games in July.
Josiah Turner, 6-2 point guard, Sacramento (Calif.) High. UCLA's on-again-off-again relationship with Turner could be on again. Reportedly, Turner's academics are better than previously believed and UCLA's new assistant coach, Phil Mathews, has a connection.
Jahii Carson, 5-11 point guard, Mesa (Ariz.) High. A very athletic true point, who has been on UCLA's campus for an unofficial visit. It's thought that academics could be an issue.
Quinn Cook, 6-0 point guard, Mouth of Wilson (Virg.) Oak Hill. Cook, the #3-ranked point in the nation, has UCLA among his small list of favorites.
Austin Rivers, 6-3 combo guard, Winter Park (Fla.) High. The #1-ranked SG in the nation doesn't seem to have much interest in UCLA at this point.
Branden Dawson, 6-6 power forward, Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace. Dawson is a stud, particularly as a rebounder, but is probably an undersized power forward rather than a small forward.
Norvel Pelle, 6-9 center, Los Angeles Price. UCLA offered Pelle a while back, but it's contingent on grades. The Bruins are still keeping in contact, but it doesn't look likely at this stage.
Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-3 point guard, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft. He did well at UCLA's camp two weeks ago, and the UCLA coaches will definitely be giving him a long look in July. A good student and good kid, he wants to be a Bruin, and could even wait until spring.
Jabari Brown, 6-5 shooting guard, Oakland (Calif.) High. UCLA is starting to get more involved with Brown, the #5-ranked shooting guard in the nation.
Amir Garrett, 6-6 small forward, Las Vegas (Nev.) Findlay Prep. A good athlete who has jumped up many rankings this spring, Garrett is also a big baseball prospect, but there could be issues.
Josh Richardson, 6-5 small forward, Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe. He had a good spring, came to UCLA's camp to try to get an offer, but didn't show the appropriate level of effort or focus. Undoubtedly UCLA will scout him more in July.
Kevin Bailey, 6-5 small forward, Clovis (Calif.) East. A great athlete, Bailey is under-rated, being from the west coast. Also a very good student. He recently took an unofficial visit to UCLA, and could be a guy that emerges as a top target by the end of July.
Kyle Wiltjer, 6-8 power forward, Portland Jesuit. Skilled face-up four, UCLA is still pursuing him, even though they nave a roster full of the same type of player.
Kenyatta Smith, 6-7 center, La Canada (Calif.) Flintridge Prep. Smith is an undersized post, with good athleticism and skills. UCLA will be watching him, but with limited rides and being a position of less need, they probably won't get to him.
Hikeem Stewart, 6-2 combo guard, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach. A guy UCLA is watching, but he seems like the perfect fit for the local Huskies.
Collin Woods, 6-1 combo guard, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Horizon. A good athlete who is more of a two-guard at this point, he's a Pac-10 level player, but probably not UCLA level.
Shane Larkin, 5-11 point guard, Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips. Larkin is a point guard UCLA will check out this July.
Chane Behanan, 6-6 power forward. Bowling Green (Kent.) High. The recent MVP of the NBA Players Camp, Behanan has a connection to UCLA, so the Bruins will be scouting him.
Next: The prospects of 2012, 2013 and beyond that UCLA will be watching in July…