After a strong start to the 2019 recruiting cycle, the UCLA basketball team has landed three top prospects, but they are nowhere near finished with the process. Go Joe Bruin looks at how this class is shaping up.
On Thursday, the UCLA basketball team welcomed 5-star prospect and the no. 4 ranked center in the nation, Will Baker to campus for his official visit. A commitment from him would be a boost for the 2019 recruiting class… more than it already is.
But even if the Bruins were to land Baker, they still need to figure out the scholarship distribution as it is getting a bit stuffy.
UCLA will have 13 players on the 2018-19 roster, maxing out at the available number of scholarships for the year. Depending on who leaves after next season, UCLA will have to move things around if they want a stronger recruiting class.
2018-19 Scholarship Distribution
- Point Guards (2): Jaylen Hands, Tyger Campbell
- Shooting Guards (3): Prince Ali, Jules Bernard, David Singleton III
- Small Forwards (2): Kris Wilkes, Chris Smith
- Power Forwards (3): Alex Olesinski, Cody Riley, Shareef O’Neal
- Centers (3): Jalen Hill, Moses Brown, Kenny Nwuba
The status of Cody Riley and Shareef O’Neal are in question, but until it has been confirmed that both are not with the team, we will assume they will be in Westwood in the fall.
Looking even further ahead, we here at Go Joe Bruin project that three Bruins could be taken in the 2019 NBA Draft: Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes and Moses Brown. If these three players leave, UCLA will be down to 10 scholarship players in this scenario. Why is that interesting? Because UCLA already has three players committed to the 2019 class.
The Current 2019 Recruiting Class
- ★★★★ SG Grant Sherfield, 6’2, 180 lbs., (Sunrise Christian/Wichita, KS)
- ★★★ ★ SF Jaime Jaquez, 6’7, 210 lbs., (Adolfo Camarillo/Camarillo, CA)
- ★★★ SG Jake Kyman, 6’6, 180 lbs., (Santa Margarita/Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)
The problem here (though it is a good problem to have, especially since head coach Steve Alford has had way too many teams with little depth during his tenure at UCLA) is that there will not be any available scholarships if this scenario plays out. So what will happen if Baker commits? So one else is going to have to leave.
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It also does not help that there is not a senior on this team, so no one else will be leaving unless they jump into the NBA Draft, quit or retire. So what could happen?
Go Joe Bruin also projected four other players to take on the draft: Ali, Campbell, Riley and Hill.
They all need to have a break out season to get noticed by NBA executives and that is not out of the question. All four have at least a year of experience on this team which could mutually benefit both. UCLA will have consistency from one season to another and the players will have an extra year to get ready for the NBA
UCLA will then have space, but now need address roster issues. If these players leave, UCLA will have to focus on landing another point guard and at least another big man. Ideally, targeting another small forward will, if at least to have more depth on the wing.
Recruiting is doing very well and that should continue, but Alford has to be in his guard when it comes the winds of change out on the trail.