Saturday, August 24, 2013

ESPN's Myron Medcalf on UCLA's chances of rekindling its recruiting mojo from Diego to tha Bay

"Can you dig it, mahn?!?"

P.S. OK, I think this has got to be Cali's state song but others on NPR beg to differ, insisting on "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and Papas (link). Check out the comments. 

Originally Published: August 22, 2013
By Myron Medcalf |
David Wear loves Los Angeles.
Sure, traffic is a nightmare, but the social vibe is unrivaled.
So it wasn't easy for the Huntington Beach, Calif., native to leave the West Coast. Picking the UCLA Bruins would have made sense for the former McDonald's All American. A traditional powerhouse where he could play in front of his friends and family members? A win-win, right?
Well, few cities can compete with L.A.'s buzz, but the metro's constant activity creates a drawback for college programs: There's usually a better game in town.
The Lakers, Clippers, Kings and a pair of popular MLB teams are perennial obstacles in UCLA's fight for exposure.
[+] EnlargeUCLA
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesUnlike many of the schools it recruits against, UCLA hasn't exactly offered a stellar game-day atmosphere in recent years.
North Carolina basketball, however, isthe game in Chapel Hill. And the campus felt like a real college atmosphere to Wear when he visited.
So Wear and his twin brother, Travis, chose to cross the country and join the Tar Heels following high school in 2009.
"[UCLA] did a great job recruiting me," said Wear, who eventually transferred to UCLA alongside his twin in 2010. "I took my visit out to North Carolina during their Midnight Madness. I think I just saw the whole college environment. It was just intriguing to me. I've never seen anything like that. … I think I just wanted to experience that. Coming out of high school, it's something I didn't want to pass up."
New Bruins coach Steve Alford wants to keep the next David Wear and a generation of elite local players home by selling the school's legacy and potential. Alford wants in-state standouts to be pivotal components in his rebuilding plans.
But that hope could crumble if he can't attract the state's most coveted athletes. Alford called the task "vital" in a recent interview with
"Obviously, the success and what's happened, in large part, at UCLA have had an awful lot to do with in-state kids," Alford said, "so they're obviously going to be a key part of what we're doing moving forward."
The UCLA brass offered him a seven-year, $18.2 million deal in March with the expectation that he'll win and find high-level players. He's blessed with a rich crop of talent within the Southern California region and the rest of the state.
The Bruins' strong legacy was built on local players. Lew Alcindor is the only non-Californian on the program's top-20 all-time scoring list. Some of the squad's most recent stars -- Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Arron Afflalo and Jrue Holiday -- were all California prospects.
But the program has lost some of the area's young stars in recent years. James Harden chose Arizona State. Jordan Hamilton picked Texas. Michael Snaer signed with Florida State.
There were 11 California reps in RecruitingNation's ESPN 100 for the Class of 2013. None signed with UCLA.
"Sometimes they find greener pastures," said Mark Olivier, executive director of the powerful Oakland Soldiers AAU program.
Many schools throughout the country have mined California. But Arizona's Sean Miller has been UCLA's greatest threat since he arrived in Tucson in 2009. Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill, both Los Angeles natives, were two of his first signees.
[+] EnlargeUCLA Bruins
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsUCLA students might mock Arizona, but Sean Miller and the Wildcats have certainly tapped into the L.A. area to help build strong recruiting classes.
Grant JerrettGabe York and Brandon Ashley -- all California prep stars -- anchored his 2012 class, which was ranked third by RecruitingNation. Aaron Gordon, the No. 4 prospect in the 2013 class, signed with the Wildcats too.
"Those were guys UCLA has to get," said Joel Francisco,'s Los Angeles-based recruiting expert.
But they were ultimately guys that Miller reeled in. The UA staff sells its location. West Coast players don't really leave the West when they pick Arizona, and they can attend school in a midsized city with a dedicated fan base.
Miller also offers recruits multiple examples of California natives who were successful under him and his predecessors. Think Steve Kerr, Gilbert Arenas and Chase Budinger.
That lineage is helpful on the recruiting circuit.
"It's amazing to me how many Southern California players, state of California players, were successful at Arizona," Miller said. "You have an opportunity to stay in the West Coast, but you go to a program that's surrounded by a true college town. … The only show in town, especially from a sports perspective, is the U of A."
But he's also established strong ties with coaches and players in the area.
Ashley said he picked Arizona in part because of his connection with Miller. He said he didn't have the same relationship with former UCLA coach Ben Howland and his staff.
"They were on the list, but I was never fully considering them just because, I don't know … it's hard to really say," he said. "I felt like me and Ben Howland, nothing against him at all, just didn't really click like that."
Ashley added: "I feel like some of the California coaches and schools take for granted some of our talent. When we see that they're not recruiting us as hard because we are close to home, that hits hard, and the schools that recruit us harder end up being the ones we go to."
The outsourcing of talent coincides with a turbulent time for UCLA. The program reached the Final Four three consecutive times from 2006 to 2008 but hasn't advanced past the first weekend since, winning a total of just two NCAA tourney games in five years.
The Bruins haven't won a national title in almost 20 years (1995), and they were ranked 45th nationally in attendance last season (9,549 average in an arena that seats nearly 14,000).
UCLA was a legitimate option for Snaer, who ended up starring for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. But …
"Of course I wanted to stay in Southern Cal," Snaer said. "At the time, neither one of those programs [UCLA or USC] were appealing to me."
In the 1960s and '70s, however, young California stars dreamed of playing for John Wooden's Bruins. Jamaal Wilkes, a Berkeley native who won two NCAA titles in Westwood, admired Alcindor and the other UCLA standouts who guided those legendary squads.
[+] EnlargeSteve Alford
Victor Decolongon/Getty ImagesSteve Alford has made plenty of California ties during his coaching career. How will he do at the state's premier basketball program?
It wasn't really necessary for the Bruins to recruit him and his peers.
"If you were from California, most guys wanted to go there," Wilkes said.
But the recruiting terrain is more complex today, especially among the blue-chip players. Many won't stay long. They're often seeking the quickest path to millions in the NBA.
So coaches must persuade kids to come to their respective campuses and be prepared to replenish their talent pools if and when those athletes leave early. Plus, many local kids, who travel the country each summer on the grassroots circuit, are more comfortable leaving home today. Proximity is not always a guaranteed advantage.
The Bruins' recent woes haven't helped. The school's greatest stretch came decades before its current targets were born. The bottom line is just one national title since Wooden retired 38 years ago.
Alford's first season is an audition for a new group of players that never witnessed UCLA's glory years.
He is not intimidated by the challenge and its inherent difficulty.
He has better access to California's top prospects than most high-major coaches. And he has connections to West Coast high school and AAU programs after signing multiple players from the region when he was at New Mexico.
But will that be enough?
"Players have a lot of options," Alford said. "We obviously hope when they look at UCLA and they come see us and they get to know who we are and all the things that we have to offer, [they realize] you're not going to have to leave the state to fulfill the things that you're wanting to do in college."

Thanks to ej for posting this on BZ.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Former 2014 Louisville commit PG Quentin Snider plans to visit Westwood

Former Louisville Commit Snider Planning Visits

Since decommitting from Louisville this past week, Quentin Snider has been besieged with phonecalls.
Now the Louisville Ballard point guard and his family are focusing on a few schools to visit.
His father, Scott Snider, told Saturday Quentin will likely visit Indiana and Xavier unofficially by the end of August, and is also planning official visits to UCLA, USC and UConn.
“Right now he’s got offers from Minnesota, Marquette, West Virginia, USC, Illinois, Loyola Marymount, UConn, Texas A&M, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Memphis,” Scott said.
“He’s getting some interest from Michigan State, Indiana, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Purdue, Butler, Xavier and Manhattan.”
 Scott said they would drive to schools that are close — such as Indiana and Xavier — for unofficial visits.
“We told Indiana we’d come for a visit there and we talked to Xavier and we’ll visit there, too,” Scott said. “We haven’t got a date for either one of them. We just said we’ll try to get there by the end of August or the beginning of September.
“Those we’ll take unofficials,” Scott said.
UCLA, USC and UConn are in the mix for official visits.
“We’ll probably visit UCLA and USC and probably visit UConn also,” he said. “Probably those three.”
No dates have been set for those.
As for the decommitment from Louisville, Scott said the Cardinals simply had too many point guards in the mix with Chris Jones and Terry Rozier.
“It got to the point where it got really, really crowded at that position,” he said. “It was just something where the situation changed after he committed.”

2014 SG target Rashad Vaughn down to 11

from the Cardinal's Beak link

ESPN 100 SG Rashad Vaughn names 11

July, 31, 2013
JUL 31
Shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (Golden Valley, Minn./Findlay Prep) has narrowed his school list down to 11, according to a tweet from the ESPN 100 prospect.

Vaughn will decide among Baylor, Iowa State, Kentucky, North Carolina, Connecticut, Kansas, UNLV, Arizona, Georgetown, UCLA and Minnesota.

The senior is currently ranked No. 11 overall in the 2014 class.

For videos on Rashad Vaughn and talks about a possible package signing with premiere PG Josh Perkins Jul 10  link

For anti-package talk, though July 24 link

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2014 SF prospect Trevon Bluiett down to 7

Recruiting Central: Trevon Bluiett cuts list, talks about his seven finalists

FILE - Trevon Bluiett glances at the scoreboard as time ticks down in the Class 2A title game March 24, 2012. Park Tudor defeated Bowman Academy 70-57 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. / Rob Goebel/The Star


Park Tudor rising senior forward Trevon Bluiett whittled down his two dozen scholarship offers down to seven finalists on Wednesday night.
The 6-6 Bluiett, ranked as the No. 46 prospect nationally in the 2014 class by, named Arizona, Butler, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue, UCLA and Xavier as the seven schools he will target from now until he makes a decision. Bluiett plans to sign in November, during the early signing period.
“I’m grateful for the all the coaches calling and the opportunities I’ve had,” Bluiett said. “There are a lot of coaches that put in a lot of time and effort to recruit me. But at the same time, it gets a little hectic and I’m happy to focus in on these seven schools.”
There were no surprises on the list, other than possibly Arizona, which offered Bluiett earlier this week. But Bluiett had established a connection with Arizona assistant Damon Stoudamire, a former Wildcat star guard who had recruited Bluiett previously at Memphis.
“We have a good relationship and he’s obviously a former NBA player who knows what it takes,” Bluiett said. “Arizona is in the Pac-12, which is a prestigious conference.”
There was some question as to Bluiett’s interest in Butler followingBrad Stevens’ departure to the Boston Celtics, but new coachBrandon Miller seems to have made a positive impact in his first month on the job.
“I’ve always liked Butler,” he said. “The move to the Big East was big and I’ve known coach Miller since I was in the eighth grade. He was at almost all of my games in July, so that made a big impression on me.”
Bluiett, who averaged 27.8 points and nine rebounds as a junior, has been a frequent visit to Assembly Hall for Indiana games through the years and said he’s had positive interactions recently with both coachTom Crean and assistant Tim Buckley.
“The Big Ten is a great conference and coach Crean has coached a lot of NBA players,” said Bluiett, who has scored 1,570 career points. “He has a sense of urgency about him, which I like. Obviously Yogi(Ferrell, his former high school teammate) is there, and we have good chemistry together. And the atmosphere in Bloomington for games is crazy.”
One of Indiana’s Big Ten rivals, Michigan, is also squarely in the mix for Bluiett.
“I probably have the best relationship with their coaches,” he said. “Me and (assistant coach) LaVall Jordan talk or text almost every day and coach (JohnBeilein is in contact about once a week. He lets his players play and I like that. He has a lot of trust in his players and they play with a high IQ.”
Bluiett said he included Purdue on the list in large part because of proximity and a long relationship with Purdue assistant coach Jack Owens.
“It’s an in-state program that has been at the top of the Big Ten and coach Owens was the first coach who started to recruit me,” he said. “He was the first one to show interest in me. Coach (MattPainter is a great coach and what he’s done in the past with his teams speaks for itself.”
UCLA became a serious contender when Steve Alford took over as coach and hired Ed Schilling, Bluiett’s former coach at Park Tudor, as an assistant. Schilling, who had previously coached in college and the NBA, has been a mentor for Bluiett since the sixth grade.
“It wouldn’t bother me at all to be coached by him another four years,” he said. “It’s in the Pac-12, a great conference, and who doesn’t like Cali? They’ve had a lot of players come from there and make it to the NBA, a lot of successful players.”
Xavier assistant coach Travis Steele has also established a relationship with Bluiett over a number of years. He pointed to that relationship, as well as Xavier’s recent success and move to the Big East as reasons for his high level of interest.
“ The campus is nice, the academics are great and they’ve had a lot of success,” he said. “I’ve had a great relationship with coach Steele for a long time and also coach (ChrisMack.”
Bluiett leaves Thursday for Los Angeles to participate in the Adidas Nations camp. He said he plans to take a little down time after that before setting up additional visits, either official or unofficial.
“I might try to take all five officials, but we haven’t talked about that yet,” he said. “But I’ll definitely sign in November so I can focus on my high school season.”

July 31 2013 link

Potential 2014 two-fer PF Abu and SG Terrell shortens list

Logic says to just look at the schools they have in common then: Florida, Miami, Providence, slavin, UCLA and UConn.

6-8 230 PF Abdul-Malik Abu


6-3 220 SG Jared Terrell


Expressions Elite tandem Abdul-Malik Abu, Jared Terrell cut lists to ten

Jul 25, 2013, 9:15 PM EDT
One of the most talented tandems on the grassroots basketball circuit is the one consisting of Expressions Elite (Mass.) products Abdul-Malik Abu and Jared Terrell.
With that comes a relationship that more than a few recruiting analysts believes will result in the two choosing to remain teammates at the collegiate level.
As first reported by Hoop Dreams Magazine, both Abu and Terrell have cut their respective lists to ten schools. For Abu, his list is down to NC State, Florida, Kansas State, Miami, Kentucky, Iowa State, UConn, Providence, UCLA and  St Johns. For Terrell, he’s still considering Florida, UConn, Cincinnati, Providence, Miami, Ohio State, St Johns, UCLA, Rhode Island and  Xavier.
And in regards to the possibility of them playing at the same school, Abu and Terrell have six schools in common: Florida, Miami, Providence, St. John’s, UCLA and UConn.
Both Abu (a 6-8 power forward) and Terrell (a 6-2 shooting guard) are regarded as Top 100 products by many of the major scouting services.
Does the assumption that these two will play together mean that this will definitely be the case? No, because recruiting tends to be a fluid situation even when it comes to “package deals” that are thought to be a lock.
But it likely doesn’t hurt the chances of the six schools on both players’ lists that Abu and Terrell play for the same grassroots program.

2014 PF target Kevon Looney trims schools to 6 - UCLA still on it

August 1, 2013, 11:15 am
(Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

At 6-8, 190 pounds with guard skills, a post-up game, and the ability to stretch out toward the perimeter, Kevon Looney is a hot commodity in the Class of 2014.
Looking for a player in that mold, coach John Thompson III and the Georgetown staff had been on Looney's trail during the July recruiting period to add to their recruiting haul.
But it seems the road has come to an end.
According to Paul Biancardi of ESPN, Looney has trimmed his list to six schools--Duke, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee, and UCLA--meaning that the Hoyas will have to look elsewhere in 2014.
Looney has a skill set that many high-major programs covet, a player with size who can take players off the dribble and flex between the small forward and stretch-four position.
Without Looney, Georgetown still has a strong 2014 class, comprised of Isaac Copeland, L.J. Peak, and local guard Tre Campbell.
Sights likely focus on the Hoyas' next major prospect in the class, big man Elbert Robinson, a 6-11, 270-pound center from Texas.
Robinson would round out the group, giving the Hoyas a guard (Campbell), wing (Peak), forward (Copeland), and center (Robinson). will have more on Robinson in the coming days

Five-star forward Kevon Looney drops Michigan

According to ESPN’s Paul Biancardi, Kevon Looney has trimmed his list to six schools and Michigan didn’t make the cut.
Looney’s final six are Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA and Wisconsin.

Looney has long been considered a Duke lean but many thought the Wolverines could be in contention for an official visit after a summer push by the Wolverine coaching staff.
Michigan has four outstanding offers in the class to Devin Booker, Kameron Chatman, Trevon Bluiett and Vince Edwards. Bluiett announced that Michigan is in his final seven, Chatman is planning an official visit to Ann Arbor and Booker wants to take both of his parents on an official visit.