Dominic Artis’ reported verbal commitment to UCLA tonight affects the Bruins in many ways…
* Point Guard Lockdown?
With the point guard spot looking precarious for UCLA as recently as a year ago – the Bruins were spurned by the cream of the 2010 and 2011 crops – many fans were wondering who was going to carry the team, and the ball, in the near future. Now, UCLA seems to be in pretty good hands for the foreseeable future. Between the senior duo of Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson in 2011-12, a senior Larry Drew and a freshman Artis for 2012-13, and the projected four-year career for Artis, the Bruins are regaining some of the stability that lifted them to great heights in the mid-2000s.
* A Perfect Fit?
Artis’ game seems to lend itself very well to Ben Howland’s style, and Artis should give the Bruins the high-impact half-court creator that they’ll need going forward. Artis has some stop-and-pop in him, but he thrives with the ball in his hands – great handles – and he’s able to create as the clock winds down. In the Howland offense, that’s crucial, as it encourages teammates to stay active for 35 seconds.
* Puzzle Pieces?
First Jordan Adams, now Artis. Who’s next? While many are predicting a dream class for UCLA – and in my opinion, a more thoroughly put-together dream class than the ill-fated ’08 group – and Adams and Artis are a great start, they are the lesser-coveted of the projected future Bruins. UCLA is still working hard on Shabazz Muhammad, Brandon Ashley, Kyle Anderson, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Shaq Goodwin, L.J. Rose, Arnaud Moto, Zena Edosomwan and Robert Upshaw. With as few as three scholarships and as many as five to give for the ’12 class, any combination of as many as three of those would be a major coup for Howland.
* Opening Channels?
Everyone knows that in college basketball recruiting, you don’t just have to recruit the player, but in most cases, the coach, and sometimes the school, too. So the commitments of Findlay Prep and Oak Hill Academy products cannot be understated (overstated, I mean overstated, as in…overstated), and now, along with the Mater Dei pipeline flowing freely – the Bruins have inroads at some major basketball schools that produce top talent on a yearly basis. If Muhammad comes aboard, that opens up Bishop Gorman, one of the dominant high school programs in Nevada.