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UCLA Basketball Recruiting: Biggest Day Since 1965?

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Okay not that big, but Marvin Bagley is the best player in years coming out of high school and he visits UCLA today

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Marvin Bagley III is taking his official visit to UCLA today.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Today is a big day in UCLA recruiting history. Marvin Bagley III comes to campus for his official visit. While it would be hyperbole to compare this to 1965 and a young New Yorker named Lew Alcindor, this is a big visit. If Bagley comes to UCLA, the Bruins go from a team struggling to be a top 4 in the conference to a favorite to make the Final Four. Yes, the 6’11” Bagley is that good.

Marvin Bagley’s visit to Arizona is off and his next trip appears to be a visit to UCLA on Monday, sources toldZAGSBLOG. . . .

Bagley was initially slated to visit UCLA Aug. 10, but will now begin his visit Monday. The Bruins have one scholarship available.

Bagley had also planned to visit Kentucky and Kansas, but it remains unclear at this point when those visits would happen.

UCLA has beat Arizona but Duke is still the front runner for this wunderkind. Southern Cal is still in the running despite being loaded at Bagley’s position. Of course, being Southern Cal they are leading in the race to the bottom for Bagley’s recruitment. They are pursuing him despite not having an available scholarship and even offered his seven-year old brother a scholarship.

UCLA has a number of advantages in the pursuit of Bagley. They include an available scholarship and a late school start date. Bagley is trying to reclassify to be eligible this year. As a practical matter, the NCAA may not rule in time for some schools that start earlier than UCLA.

An unusual advantage UCLA may have is Steve Alford’s love of stretch fours. Alford loves ball handling bigs at four. Whether it is the extreme case of point power forward Kyle Anderson, the more reasonable case of Kevon Looney, or last year’s other superstar freshman TJ Leaf; under Alford, the stretch four is key and a featured player.

Bagley is a dream stretch four and it could be a great situation for him. Unlike other schools, Bagley would have an experienced five next to him in Thomas Welsh and will not have to worry about playing a lot of minutes out of position at 5.

If you see Bagley on campus say hello and welcome him. He is the real deal. Come to Westwood, Marvin.

Go Bruins!