These are the dog days of summer for Bruin Hoops fans. Bruin NBA activity has wound down with the Draft, Summer League and trades all in the books. The summer AAU season is over, so the news on recruits is scant as well. Yup, it's going to be pretty quiet until practice starts on October 3.
Although there may well be more announcements, if a recruit hasn't committed by this time, he is probably scheduling official visits, and will wait for the beginning of the early NLI period starting November 12.
Let's take this opportunity to catch up on our remaining recruiting targets. Back in July, I laid out the needs and available scholarships. The guards are set with the commitments of Aaron Holiday and Prince Ali, but the Bruins need to bring in a small forward and a big (Parker and Welsh will still be around, so a mobile, face-up big is preferred). Is it achievable? Without forward ado, here's the board:
|Name||Position||Height||Home State||Visit Date||Visit Type||247 Rank||247 1st||247 2nd|
|Jaylen Brown||SF||6'7"||Georgia||9/11||In-home||2||Kentucky, 35%||UCLA, 31%|
|Stepen Zimmerman||C/PF||6'11||Nevada||10/24||Official||12||UNLV, 47%||Arizona, 37%|
|Carlton Bragg||PF||6'8"||Ohio||9/27||In-home||14||Kentucky, 32%||Kansas, 29%|
|Brandon Ingram||SF||6'8"||North Carolina||9/12||In-home||17||Duke, 60%||North Carolina, 37%|
|Chance Comanche||C||6'9"||California||10/3||Official||47||Arizona, 94%||NC State, 6%|
|Jean Marc Christ Koumadje||C||7'3"||Florida||8/14||Unofficial||248||Florida St., 60%||Georgia Tech, 20%|
It's smaller by two since last time. D.J. Hogg verbally committed to Texas A&M. Hogg is from Texas, and the other leader for him was thought to be Baylor. Did Alford waste his time on Hogg? Hogg did schedule an official visit, which he, of course, never took, so one would suspect that significant time was invested in Hogg as opposed to a local target. Read here for my take on recruiting strategy. Recruiting can be a yield game, and the difference local vs. national recruiting is getting smaller, but Alford should be held responsible if the strikes continue to pile up.
I also dropped Caleb Swanigan, thought to be a strong Michigan State lean, because he hasn't visited or scheduled a visit. Brandon Sampson is one of the new names floated on some blogs, but he's a shooting guard.
Looking at the board, you will notice that four of the six names are east of Nevada and UCLA is in the top two for only one player according to 247 Sports, and you might thusly conclude that our chances are slim with this group. The geography always makes me nervous, but just for giggles, look at the experts in the 247 Crystal Ball. Except for a couple of Jeff Borzello (from CBS Sports) types, most of them seem to be from fan blogs. How come I don't get to vote?
In large part, the success of the class will be judged on Jaylen Brown. His mother recently said he may wait until after his season to announce his choice. Only one or two of the top recruits can get away with this each year (Myles Turner 2014, Andrew Wiggins 2013, Shabazz Muhammad 2012), or risk not having their preferred seat when the music stops. If true, this puts Alford in a tough position. The backup plan appears to be Brandon Ingram. Ingram came on strong over the summer, drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant, but he seems likely to stay in-state, either at Duke, North Carolina or NC State. He talks about his college choice here. Would he play with Jaylen Brown? Turns out that Brown, Ingram and Thon Maker (possibly the best player in the 2015 or 2016 class) visited UCLA together back in August, but don't get your hopes up. They were all in town for the Adidas Nations tournament.
Koumadje is new on the scene, and his emergence is not reflected in his ranking. He'd be a good catch after Zimmerman, Bragg and Comanche, but again, a mobile, front-facing big who can cover the likes of an Ivan Rabb is a bigger priority with Parker and Welsh likely to be back.
In other news:
- According to the L.A. Times, Pauley Pavilion is expected to be ready by October 10. Men's practice starts October 3; the first exhibition game is October 31.
- 2016 commit Lonzo Ball made the Rivals Top 10.
- Is there a future start point guard on the horizon for the Bruins? Russell Westbrook became engaged to former Bruin women's team player Nina Earl.
- Recruiting Calipari style. Kentucky will hold a two day preseason combine for NBA scouts. Apparently, it is actually a recruting event, as Calipari plans to have a boatload of five-star recruits there. I know UCLA, being in Los Angeles, has scouts at almost every practice. I thought Kentucky did too, even though it is in the middle of nowhere. That's why its seems as if the event's only value is to get a slew of one-and-dones psyched for Kentucky.