Five-star power forward T.J. Leaf has announced his commitment to #UCLA. The nation's No. 15 prospect. pic.twitter.com/ELBC1p5LRh— Edward Lewis (@Edward__Lewis) November 12, 2015
Arizona's loss is UCLA's gain. After decommitting from Arizona in August, five-star 6'10" power forward T.J. Leaf announced this afternoon that he is committing to UCLA. According to Scout, Leaf is the 22nd-ranked prospect in the country, and the top-rated power forward in the west.
The Foothills Christian HS senior is set to join the Bruins in the fall of 2016, joining five-star guard Lonzo Ball, four-star center Ike Anigbogu, and four-star guard Kobe Paras. With three of those four players in Scout's top-35, the Bruins' 2016 class will easily be one of the best in the country.
Josh Gershon reviewed the Pac-12 recruiting classes yesterday, prior to Leaf's commitment. After rating UCLA's class without Leaf as the best in the conference, Gershon shared his thoughts on Ball, Anigbogu, and Paras:
For UCLA it starts with Chino Hills (Calif.)'s Lonzo Ball, Scout's 14th ranked 2016 prospect. The best passer in the class, Ball has elite size for the position at 6-foot-5 and is also a very good rebounder. He's one of the most versatile and exciting offensive players in the country.
UCLA isn't only bringing in an offensive specialist but also an elite defender. 6-foot-10 Corona (Calif.) Centennial center Ike Anigbogu is one of the nation's top shot blockers and has a significant upside. Angibogu comes in at 35th nationally.
The Bruins also have a commitment from four-star wing Kobe Paras. The Los Angeles Cathedral athlete has good size and long arms with a smooth stroke and impressive leaping ability. He has the chance to help UCLA on the offensive end.
UCLA has a successful class no matter what, but if the Bruins can land a commitment from El Cajon (Calif.) Foothills Christian power forward T.J. Leaf, Scout's 22nd ranked prospect in 2016, it would really cement this group for Alford and company.
Evan Daniels also shared his thoughts on the Pac-12 recruiting classes recently:
Steve Alford's recruiting class is both strong and balanced; it's certainly the best class since 2012-13 when Coach Howland brought in Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams, and Tony Parker.
One interesting aspect of Leaf's commitment is that prior to Leaf's announcement, all 13 of the Bruins' scholarships for 2016-17 were accounted for, which means that Steve Alford has to free up a scholarship to bring Leaf onboard. As I wrote in August, the apparent solution involves taking Bryce Alford off scholarship.
In case you haven't seen T.J. Leaf highlights yet, here you go:
Finally, here's an interview with T.J. Leaf from the end of the summer after he decommitted from Arizona.
Congratulations to T.J. Leaf for choosing the best university in the country. I'm looking forward to seeing him in Westwood next year.