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UCLA Basketball Recruiting Update

Will Ben Howland add two more quality recruits for next year?  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Will Ben Howland add two more quality recruits for next year? (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are great recruits. Adams and Anderson are also trying his best to be recruiters for UCLA on Shabazz and Tony Parker. They will be great additions to UCLA. But in this post I will focus on the people we do not have yet.

Regardless of how you feel about UCLA chances to make the big dance, there are a number of very good high school players who have not declared yet that could be influenced by a strong finish by UCLA.

Shabazz Muhammad is obviously the ultimate prize. He is number one in every ranking service. An incredibly tough competitor and great talent who is a game changer from day one. But let's not have me talk about him, let's have the unquestioned number one player in the country talk and our rival in this Kentucky. First in a December 22 interview, Shabazz stated at the 1:56 mark:

"UCLA is a great program. They struggled early. And watching other teams like Kentucky do well. It kind of gets your attitude going to the bottom of them. They're a great program. Still a lot of interest in them. They are going to work it out. Hopefully they are going to have a great season."

Meanwhile, in a University of "One and Done" Kentucky blog said:

UCLA has long been considered his unofficial leader, but the Bruins' struggles this season have cast doubt on that hypothesis. Muhammad's quote regarding UCLA did nothing to disquiet the now prevailing thought that UCLA's abhorrent play has affected his recruitment. In the article, Shabazz said: "They are still a great school and Coach Howland is a great guy and good coach so I am definitely not giving up on them or anything."

I really think that if we close the season really well, Shabazz will come to UCLA. I also think if Shabazz comes and Smith comes back in shape, I will be buying my tickets for the NCAA tourney as we could make a deep run and/or go all the way.

Tony Parker, the big fella ranked #31 in the country is 6'9" and 270. He looks big next to anyone outside of UCLA's current center. He is also a guy who is enjoying the recruiting process and seemingly not in a hurry to make a decision.

Finally, we are curious to not only watch, but sit down and talk with unsigned senior Tony Parker. The Miller Grove (Ga.) High big man is one of the mostly sought-after remaining prospects in the country and there seems to be some sort of disconnect keeping him from making a decision. For the longest time, the general consensus has been that the 6-foot-9 post player prefers Ohio State yet he's never committed and is still considering Duke, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas.

I thinking UCLA is in the running for him but that is all I am confident in saying. Like I said, he seems to like the process and he is one of those guys if you read enough interviews of him you can believe he is coming to your school, where ever your school is. There is a lot out there on him but this video may sum him up. He is a force to be reckoned with inside.

UCLA is also after another big, in this case a true power forward. Zena Edosomwan is a unique kid I would not mind losing for his stated reason. The big man wants to go to Harvard. So far he is not academically eligible falling just short on the SAT. If he fails to get in there, UCLA has a shot.

A 6-foot-8 power forward ranked No. 35 at his position in the Class of 2012 by Rivals, Edosomwan currently lists the Crimson ahead of traditional powerhouses UCLA and Texas, as well as Cal and USC.

"His top preference has been leaning toward Harvard,"Greg Hilliard, the Harvard-Westlake coach, told Tuesday by phone.

"With his clear leaning toward Harvard, he needs 70 more points on the math side of things [on the SAT]. If the gets that most likely he would go.

There is a video for him here.

By all accounts he is a kid of high character. I think he would be a great player to have at UCLA. Hopefully, UCLA can get him if he does not get into Harvard.

The next player looks like an Italian extra from a 70s Woody Allen movie: Amedeo Della Valle. The Italian has been gaining a lot of interest as this season goes on. He came to the United States from Italy because he wants to play college basketball here. He is listed anywhere from 6'3" to 6'6" probably close to 6'5". He is a PG/SG. This video below shows him as a shooting guard last year in Europe. He is pass-first now.

Arizona is after him hard but UCLA is in the running according to this interview by an Arizona site. Valle is another guy unlikely to make a decision soon and could be influenced by a strong finish.

His conversation went similar when he talked with UCLA, Valle said, "Coach Matthews offered me and said that they needed a good guard like me."

Valle still has a long way to go in his recruiting process so don't expect him to sign anytime soon because he doesn't plan to sign early. He is looking to declare his school in the spring. However, he is hoping to start visiting schools after the new year or at the latest-the end of the basketball season.

That's your recruiting update. Ironically, I think it safe to say a key to recruiting for next year is this year. Bruins have to finish strong.

Go Bruins.