Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:21 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 10:48 am
By Gary Parrish
You can blame it on underclassmen leaving early or on a recruiting lull.
Or on a combination of the two.
Either way, Ben Howland hasn't tasted a Sweet 16 since he made three consecutive Final Fours from 2006 to 2008, and many had started to wonder about his long-term viability at UCLA. Had his style of play run its course in Los Angeles? Could he still consistently recruit elite-level prospects? Was his hiring of a summer coach from the Atlanta Celtics program a sign that Howland was getting desperate?
Those are the questions basketball people spent July asking each other.
Now a new question must be asked: Is Howland suddenly in position to make a fourth Final Four?
That's how significant Kyle Anderson's commitment to the Bruins was late Monday. Not only did it give Howland a consensus top-five prospect from the Class of 2012, it also quieted critics and suggested UCLA's first season in what will be a renovated Pauley Pavilion could lead to Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
That's the site of the 2013 Final Four.
Pencil UCLA in for it if Howland next lures a commitment from Shabazz Muhammad -- a Las Vegas native and the top prospect in the Class of 2012 who, according to sources, is likely to choose the Bruins over Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and UNLV. It should also be noted that Howland's assistant from the Atlanta Celtics (Korey McCray) has UCLA seriously involved with a pair of elite bigs from Georgia, specifically Tony Parker and Shaq Goodwin. Assuming the Bruins get just one of them, Howland could have a 2012-13 roster that looks like this:
G: Larry Drew
G: Shabazz Muhammad
F: Kyle Anderson (as primary ball-handler)
F: Reeves Nelson
C: Josh Smith
Key Reserves: David Wear, Travis Wear, Dominic Artis, Jordan Adams and Tony Parker/Shaq Goodwin.
That would be quite a collection of talent in Westwood.
Perhaps good enough to bring a 12th national championship to the school.
Posted on: April 9, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:42 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
HAMPTON, Va. – In a 2012 class loaded with quality post players, Miller Grove (Ga.) big man Tony Parker stands out.
Parker is a dynamite offensive player, capable of beating defenders on the low block with a variety of post moves or facing up from the elbow and knocking down mid-range jumpers.
Although he is not ready to make a college decision, Parker’s recruiting is heating up.
“Duke is coming at me very hard right now,” he said. “Duke and Georgetown are coming at me the hardest.”
North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida are also in the mix for his services.
Some scouts were souring on Parker a season ago, but the 6-foot-8 space eater has lost weight and is looking more effective at both ends.
“I’m getting in better shape and I’m playing hard,” he said.
Texas Titans more than Randle
Although Julius Randle gets most of the publicity on the Team Texas Titans, coach Scott Pospichal has another 2013 star in the fold.
Matthew Jones, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from DeSoto (Tex.), impressed onlookers Friday with his shooting stroke and ability to score from behind the arc. Jones was aggressive offensively and made things happen against CIA Bounce (Canada).
“It’s sort of overwhelming at first,” Jones said of the Boo Williams event in general. “But I like it. It helps me get better.”
Six schools currently comprise Jones’ list: Kansas, Texas, Washington, Missouri, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Canadian native impressive in Hampton
Canada continues to make an impact on AAU basketball in the United States.
CIA Bounce is a newcomer into the Elite Youth Basketball League, yet boast at least nine potential high-major prospects. In their first game on Friday, they absolutely dominated the Texas Titans and the No. 1 player in 2013, Julius Randle.
One of the more unheralded players on the team is Naz Long, a 6-foot-3 guard who suits up for Findlay Prep (Nev.) during the high school season.
At this point, the five colleges standing out to Long are Marquette, UNLV, Virginia, New Mexico and LSU.
“I’m taking my time,” he said.