The two AAU teams that UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland has watched quite a bit in the first eight days of the period are: Dream Vision, which features Norman Powell, the senior guard, and Shabazz Muhammad, the junior wing; and the Oakland Soldiers, which includes Josiah Turner, the senior point guard, Jabari Brown, the senior wing, and Brandon Ashley, the junior power forward.
Dream Vision is in Milwaukee, at the NY2LA Sports Summer Jam, and the Oakland Soldiers are at the Peach Jam in South Carolina. Both events run through Thursday, the 15th, the last day of the period's first session.
The other prospect that UCLA is watching in every game in Milwaukee is Branden Dawson, the combo forward from Indiana. Dawson did very well at the King City Classic in Ohio last week, and UCLA is doggedly following him around.
Turner, so far, has had an exceptional July, with many elite high-major programs now getting involved, besides the ones that were already on him. Connecticut is rumored to be offering, and Duke is taking a serious look. UCLA has had an on-again-off-again relation with Turner, mostly because it was believed his academics were a question. But recently it's been revealed that academically Turner is in passable shape. Also, UCLA assistant Phil Mathews has been assigned the recruitment, with some connections to the family, and that could very well get UCLA back in the think of it for Turner.
Mathews is also trying to get UCLA involved with Brown, but that could be a little tougher since it's pretty late in the game.
Powell took a day off Monday for family reasons, but then played well Tuesday in front of Howland and assistant Scott Duncan in Milwaukee. At the very least, Powell moving to Dream Vision has made it quite a bit easier on the UCLA coaches to watch Powell and Muhammad. The general feeling around Powell's recruitment is that the Bruins are doing very well with him.
UCLA coaches have been at the games of Jahii Carson, the 5-11 point guard from Mesa (Ariz.) High, who has really shown that he should be among the elite players in the country at his position. Carson has revealed that Arizona is his leader, and it's thought that it could be hard to get him away from the Wildcats, the hometown school, with an open spot at the point guard position. Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller has been at just about every game of Carson's.
A possible new name on UCLA's radar screen is D'Angelo Harrison, the 6-2 combo guard from Sugar Land (Tex.) Dulles, who is playing in Milwaukee. A very good shooter and scorer, who is adept at taking his defender off the dribble, Harrison has previously been considered an undersized two-guard, but he has shown more of a point guard's mentality, which makes him very interesting. Harrison has had a great July so far and Arizona State has made Harrison a priority, and schools like Alabama, Marquette, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Arkansas are on him aggressively.
Another player who has been impressive that reports have UCLA investigating is Juan Anderson, the 6-5 senior small forward from Castro Valley (Calif.) High. Anderson athletic and skilled, and looked good in the cent Pump Camp in Los Angeles.
Myles Mack, the 5-9 point guard from New Jersey, has shown some interest in UCLA.
It looks like, though, for 2011 UCLA is putting a big effort into Powell, Dawson, and Turner, and trying to make some headway with Brown and Carson.
Quinn Cook, as we said, played with the USA Basketball U-17 team that won a championship in Europe. UCLA will get a chance to see him during the second half of the evaluation period in Las Vegas.
Among the 2012 prospects, UCLA has been zeroing in on Muhammad, Ashley, and Grant Jerrett, the 6-8 power forward. The coaches have been able to see every one of the games of Muhammad and Ashley with Dream Vision and the Oakland Soldiers, and there has been a coach at every one of Jarrett's games playing with Belmont Shore in Los Angeles at the various Pango and Full Court Press events.
Xavier Johnson, the 6-5 2012 wing, has been hurt and hasn't participated in the first session of July. He's expected to be back for Vegas July 22nd thru 26th.
The #1 Pump team, curiously, isn't playing in the Adidas Three Stripes tournament in Los Angeles, but in a tournament in Minneapolis.
In L.A., however, has been Tyrone Wallace, the 2012 point guard prospect, with the #2 Pump team, and UCLA coaches have been out to see him, along with Victor Robbins, the skilled 2012 wing from Compton.