UCLA BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Bruins sign two of nation's top small forwards
By Jon Gold, Staff Writer
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Posted: 11/09/2011 10:21:44 PM PST
Updated: 11/09/2011 10:42:53 PM PST
UCLA signed two of the nation's premier high school basketball players Tuesday.
Now comes the hard part.
Waiting on a couple more.
For now, coach Ben Howland is ecstatic to get the signatures of No. 2-rated small forward Kyle Anderson and No. 15-rated small forward Jordan Adams.
A 6-foot-7 Swiss army knife out of St. Anthony High in New Jersey, Anderson is considered one of the top prospects in the country, rated a five-star prospect across the board and ranked as the No. 4 overall player in the 2012 class by Scout.com, No. 2 by Rivals.com and No. 5 by ESPN.
"He's got unbelievable skills for a guy his size with the ball," Howland said. "He's really improved his shot in the last year. He's really smart. He's way ahead of the game in terms of understanding the game."
Anderson is expected to play point guard on offense for the Bruins, though with the glut of small, quick ballhandlers in the Pacific-12 Conference, he might start off guarding the three position.
"It goes both ways - he has to be better at the other end - but he's a very difficult matchup against anybody," Howland said about Anderson's size advantage on offense. "He's a great passer, anywhere he gets the ball. Out on the post, in the perimeter, pushing it in the break. He sees the floor so well."
Adams, meanwhile, is one of the best pure scorers in the country, rated the No. 73 overall prospect by Scout.com and No. 74 by Rivals.com.
"Jordan Adams is a really good shooter," Howland said. "He's a team captain for Oak Hill, a very good team, one of the best in the country.
"We're really excited about him. Watched him play a lot this summer. He can play the wing, play the two, play the three. He's used to winning."
Howland now will have to get used to waiting.
UCLA is still awaiting the decisions of No. 1 overall prospect Shabazz Muhammad, who indicated he's waiting until spring to make his decision, and highly regarded center Tony Parker, who is expected to announce his decision in December.
The Sports Illustrated cover jinx has struck Westwood.
On the same day UCLA junior forward Reeves Nelson adorned the cover of one of the regional college basketball preview issues, he had an X-ray to determine the extent of an ankle injury suffered in Tuesday's practice.
The results came back negative, however, and Nelson is considered day-to-day but expected to play in the team's season opener against Loyola Marymount on Friday at the Sports Arena.
Nelson hurt his foot/ankle late in practice Tuesday and was held out of practice Wednesday but is expected to return today.
The team's returning leading scorer had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Bruins' 80-72 exhibition win over Cal State San Bernadino on Sunday.