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Dominating California: More On Lane's Commitment

Let's build on  Tele's great post on Drew Gordon , the blue chip recruit from the Bay Area who will be coming in this season with the number 1 recruiting class in the nation. Coach Howland has followed up Gordon's recruitment from the Bay Area with two consecutive commitments from Reeves Nelson (6-6 bluechip PF from Modesto) and Brendan Lane (6-9 bluechip PF from Rocklin). Nelson is ranked number 4 among rankings for 2009 West Coast PF class, while Lane checks in at number 2.

So much for all the chatter from some perennial worry worts and concern trolls when the Wear twins from the OC committed to UNC few months ago. None of them are ranked higher than either Nelson or Lane. And it looks like not only Coach Howland knew what he was doing wrt to building his class, he was locking his focus on the best of the West. From the Sacramento Bee:

Lane, a Bee All-Metro first-team player last season as a junior and the second-best power forward prospect in the West, according to, met with UCLA coach Ben Howland on Saturday morning, then decided.

Steve Lane, Brendan's father, said his son, who had "10 to 20" major-college offers, had decided "two to three weeks ago" to narrow his decision to UCLA, Cal and Stanford.

But Steve Lane said his son was impressed with Howland, who personally handled Brendan's recruitment, and that Brendan also wanted to decide before embarking on a tour of Africa next week with a group of high school all-stars.

Lane, who averaged 20.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.2 blocks in leading the Thunder to a 30-3 record last season, is the second California forward prospect to commit to UCLA for 2009-10, joining Reeves Nelson of Modesto Christian.

And a Happy Father's Day to Mr. Lane and all the Dads out in Bruin Nation!

More on Lane's reasons to become a Bruin via the Daily News:

"I thought UCLA was the right place, so I committed today," Lane said Saturday. "I definitely like the place, the academics, the location, everything about it."

Stanford and California were on Lane's short list of colleges he was considering.

He said he made his decision on UCLA because he wants to "learn defense from a coach like Ben Howland."

"I definitely like to play up-tempo," Lane said. "I am a forward who can play inside, but step outside and make a shot."

And from the LA Times:

Both of Lane's parents are Dartmouth graduates. His father, Steve, played a year of football at Dartmouth and his mother, Lelia, ran cross-country in high school in Vermont. [...]

Lane said that earlier this year he had narrowed his college choices to California, Stanford and UCLA and that the coaching changes – Mike Montgomery replaced the fired Ben Braun at Cal and Johnny Dawkins took over at Stanford when Trent Johnson left for Louisiana State – made it easier to pick UCLA.

"But UCLA was a place I wanted to be anyway," Lane said. "I like the style and I like the way the program is going."

So despite all the hating (which always bubbles up during March Madness) on Ben Ball, the style that emphasizes defense first (the virtues of which the Lakers are learning the hard way ... AGAIN), one elite recruit after another is lining up to play for Coach Howland. And it now looks looks like Coach Howland is not only locking up his backyard in Southland, he has expanded his recruiting reach to rest of the state.

There is one question that will arise from Lane's commitment: what impact will it have on Stepheson's decision to where to transfer out of UNC. Keep an eye on that situation. On the Lane's commitment probably means the end of Renardo Sidney watch for UCLA.

I am sure Coach Howland and his staff will be keeping eye on Alex, as they will also move on to shore up the class of 2009 (See's UCLA prospects list) by bringing in some talented back court recruits to balance out his two power forwards from the North.

Good times ... all around.