Addition of Jonah Bolden means UCLA is loaded for 2014-15

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Jonah Bolden burst onto the scene with an impressive performance at Adidas Nations. (Adidas)
Jonah Bolden burst onto the scene with an impressive performance at Adidas Nations. (Adidas)

When USC and UCLA had coaching changes back in the spring, it's not a stretch to say that Andy Enfield received more attention than Steve Alford in southern California.

Enfield was bringing excitement and up-tempo offense to USC, while there were some questions whether Alford could consistently recruit elite-level players to the Bruins.

After eight months on the job, it seems Alford has answered most questions about his ability to recruit.

On Tuesday morning, Alford landed top-50 recruit Jonah Bolden, one of the best recruits still left on the board. Bolden chose the Bruins over Indiana, USC, SMU and others. Assistant coach David Grace made major inroads with Bolden when Grace visited with Bolden's father in Australia.

The Bruins then sealed the deal when Bolden took an official visit over the weekend.

Bolden, a 6-foot-9 forward from Australia, is playing at Findlay Prep (Nev.) this season. He emerged as a coveted recruit at Adidas Nations, and is ranked No. 49 in the 247Sports Composite.

Getting Bolden's pledge means UCLA will have one of the best incoming frontcourts in the country next season. Bolden joins five-star prospect Kevon Looney and four-star 7-footer Thomas Welsh in the class, in addition to Gyorgy Goloman, who is likely a project at the five spot.

Putting Bolden alongside Looney and Welsh gives Alford a little bit of everything in the frontcourt next season. Bolden can make shots from the perimeter, but is long and skilled at the forward position. Looney is one of the best rebounders in the class, and is a very good inside-outside offensive player. Meanwhile, Welsh can finish inside and is also a solid face-up player.

With the Bruins losing David and Travis Wear next season, and sophomore Kyle Anderson likely to go pro after his sophomore season, Alford needed to make an immediate impact with his recruiting class. He's accomplished that – and that's not even counting the addition of former UTEP signee Isaac Hamilton, a five-star prospect from the class of 2013.

Throw in the likely returns of big-time scorer Jordan Adams and star freshman Zach LaVine – along with several role players – and Alford has the Bruins positioned to for a potential top-10 preseason ranking heading into next season.

The attention is certainly on Westwood now.

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