Fall Recruiting Preview - Pac 10 (Part I)

UCLA leads five schools poised for Top 25 classes nationally

Oct. 26, 2007

By Van Coleman

CSTV.com & Hoopmasters.com


Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
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It's shaped up to be a really good fall for the majority of the Pac-10 with four clubs vying for Top 10 spots and two others pushing for Top 25 spots.


Leading the early recruiting in the Pac-10 is UCLA who is in the running for the nation's top fall class, while Arizona and USC are both pushing for top five spots and Oregon is looking to rate among our Top 10.


Washington and Washington State have had solid starts as had California. They along with a number of others are looking to add to their fall classes. With that in mind here's our Part I look at the Pac-10's recruiting as we enter the stretch run to the November signing period:


UCLA (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments headed by our No. 6-rated senior 6-foot-4 Jrue Holiday from North Hollywood, Calif.'s Campbell Hall, an explosive combo guard who is the centerpiece of one of the best backcourt trios any school has recruited in recent memory. 


He's joined by a pair of point guards in No. 23-rated, 6-foot-2 Malcolm Lee of Riverside, Calif.'s J.W. North and No. 35-rated, 6-foot-2 Jerime Anderson from Anaheim, Calif.'s Canyon. All are extremely versatile and could form a future three-guard offense for the Bruins.


Up front, No. 31-rated power forward, 6-foot-10 Drew Gordon from San Jose, Calif.'s Archbishop Mitty will be consistent offense on the baseline. He will really blossom as he adds strength in Westwood.


The Bruins are still looking to add another big man this fall if they can close on 6-foot-11 J'Mison Morgan from Dallas, Texas' South Oak Cliff, who visited Westwood the last week of September. The athletic big man has also visited Kansas, LSU, and most recently Alabama. He could take one more visit with Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Baylor all vying for a shot to get him on their campuses.


UCLA is involved with at least a dozen of the nation's Top 50 juniors, so we think the Bruins will once again battle for a Top 10 spot again next fall.


Arizona (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments led by our No. 1-rated senior, 6-foot-1 point Brandon Jennings, who just came off a 45-point effort in a preseason scrimmage for Mouth of Wilson, Va.'s Oak Hill Academy versus traditional prep power Chatham, Va.'s Hargrave Military. 


The Wildcats won't need Jennings to score that much, but they will look forward to his ability to lead on the floor. He will be joined in the backcourt by 6-foot-3 Brendon Lavender from Mesa, Ariz.'s Mountain View, who will add depth behind current freshman stud Jerryd Bayless. 


Up front, they add two Top 40 talents headed by No. 30-rated, 6-foot-7 Emmanuel Negedu from Wolfeboro, N.H.'s Brewster Academy, who's one of the top athletes in the class, and No. 34-rated, 7-foot center Jeff Withey of San Diego, Calif.'s Horizon, who's made some amazing strides over the past year and will give the Wildcats a true low post presence on both ends of the court.


It looks like the `Cats are done with their 2008 class and have moved on to the 2009 class.


They already have a commitment from a Top 50 junior in 6-foot-3 combo Abdul Gaddy from Tacoma, Wash.'s Bellarmine Prep.


USC (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments, led by the summer's breakout performer in No. 5-rated, 6-foot-6 offensive machine Demar DeRozan from Compton, Calif. He has range to the NBA arc, can fly to the hoop a la Kansas State's Billy Walker and knows how to create the drive or pass off the dribble. He's the Trojans' second top prospect in as many years after landing O.J. Mayo last season. 


Joining DeRozan is the top JUCO guard in California in 6-foot Donte Smith of Mt. San Antonio CC. He will redshirt this year and have three years of eligibility. To add firepower, 6-foot-5 wing Malik Story will bring his three-point stroke to the Trojans. Look for 6-foot point Percy Miller from Beverly Hills to add depth in time. The Trojans may still add another frontcourt talent, but most likely not until the spring.


They have shown interest in 6-foot-9 Matt Simpkins from North Bridgton, Maine's Bridgton Academy. He's visited Washington and Connecticut to date.  He's also considering the Trojans as well as California but could wait and sign late. They've also shown some interest in 6-foot-7 Michael Bostic from Ontario, Calif.'s Colony. They could dip into the JUCO ranks this winter, so stay tuned if that interest develops.


Among the juniors, the Trojans are one of the favorites to land No. 2-rated, 6-foot-10 Renardo Sidney from Los Angeles, Calif.'s Fairfax. They had him and No. 3-rated 2010 prospect, 6-foot-10 Jeremy Tyler on campus for Midnight Madness.


Since Tim Floyd arrived at USC, the Trojans have become a threat for a Top 10-15 class.


Oregon (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments, led by a trio of Midwestern AAU teammates.


No. 25 rated, 6-foot-10 Michael Dunigan from Chicago, Ill.'s Farragut is a real shot-blocking machine. He will anchor the Ducks' resurgence in the future. He's joined by sweet-shooting, No. 71-rated, 6-foot-6 Matt Humphrey from Chicago, Ill.'s Hales Franciscan. He will create lots of space inside for Dunigan and his own Hales Franciscan teammate in No. 100-rated, 6-foot-8 Josh Crittle, who was the latest of the trio to commit. 


Add in 6-foot-7 wing shooter Drew Wiley from Vida, Ore.'s Mackenzie River High and you have a nucleus to build around for future runs to challenge for a Pac-10 crown. 


This class was a necessity as they graduate three key big men and wing star Malik Hairston. The amazing thing is the ability of Ernie Kent and his staff to dip into the Midwest to get it done. The Ducks have one more scholarship available and could sign someone in the spring or bank it depending on who's available.


They're still showing some interest in 6-foot-7 Michael Bostic from Ontario, Calif.'s Colony, 6-foot-4 wing guard Quintin Dailey from Las Vegas, Nev.'s Bishop Gorman and 6-foot-8 power forward DeAngelo Castro from Seattle, Wash.'s Franklin. If one of them blows up this season they could receive an offer, or the Ducks may look to a stop-gap JUCO solution, so stay tuned.


Washington (Recruiting Log) has received four commitments, all from Top 100 talents. 


The Huskies have really added depth to their perimeter game with this trio. They are led by No. 61-rated, 6-foot-6 wing shooter Scott Suggs from Washington, Mo. He's long, has ball skills to create his own shot and runs the break.


He'll be joined on the perimeter by 6-foot-4 combo Elston Turner from Rosemont, Calif. Our No. 80 prospect can play the one, two or three spot in college. He is an explosive scorer with a much-improved jump shot. 


Turner will be joined in the backcourt by No. 89-rated Isaiah Thomas, who's prepping at South Kent, Conn. The diminutive 5-foot-8 combo -- yes combo -- is a score-first point who averaged 36 points per game as a junior back home for Tacoma, Wash.'s Curtis. He can defend the point guard spot and has really improved his court vision.


The lone frontcourt commit is No. 75-rated Tyrese Breshers from Los Angeles, Calif.'s Price. He has explosive quickness to the hoop and a real nose for the ball off the glass.


The Huskies appear to be done, but they are still watching 6-foot-9 Matt Simpkins of North Bridgton, Maine's Bridgton Academy, 6-foot-10 Edgar Garibay from Compton, Calif., and 6-foot-8 DeAngelo Castro of Seattle, Wash.'s Franklin, plus 6-foot-2 Oscar Bellfield from Los Angeles, Calif.'s Westchester just in case something opens up. 


We hope you enjoyed Part I of our look at Pac-10 recruiting. Look for all the above schools to rate among the Top 25 classes nationally. We will continue with Part II of our coverage tomorrow, right here at Generation Next.

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