More than three weeks after the hiring of new head coach Steve Alford, four-star shooting guard Allerik Freeman has decided to re-open recruiting.
Freeman signed a letter of intent during the early recruiting period, but will be granted a release since UCLA went through a coaching change. ESPN’s Dave Telep first reported the news.
The 6-foot-4 Findlay Prep product is rated as Scout.com’s 15th-best shooting guard, but may have seen minutes at the one spot after the departure of senior Larry Drew II. The Bruins’ remaining guard rotation now consists of returners Jordan Adams and Norman Powell, as well as incoming freshmen Zach LaVine and Bryce Alford — none of whom are true point guards. Point forward Kyle Anderson might slide in as well.
Freeman, ranked 62nd in the country by Scout.com and 81st by Rivals.com, is now the country’s top uncommitted recruit after No. 1 Andrew Wiggins. UCLA will likely look to the junior colleges or other transfers for potential replacements.
In perhaps the least surprising announcement of 2013, UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad officially declared for the NBA Draft today.
“I am so thankful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at UCLA and will always be proud to be a Bruin,” Muhammad said in a statement through the school. “From a young age, I have dreamed of playing in the NBA, and I believe that this is the right time for me to move to the next level.”
The announcement comes more than a month after former head coach Ben Howland said that he fully expected the freshman, once ranked the No. 1 recruit in the country, to go pro after one season.
“That was his last game at Pauley Pavilion, no doubt about it,” he said March 2 after a 74-69 win over Arizona. Howland was fired on March 24.
Muhammad is projected to go in the top 10 of the June 27 draft, signaling the end of a scrutinized one-and-done campaign that began with a three-game NCAA suspension. Throughout the winter, the Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year was also criticized for everything from wearing a Gucci backpack to not celebrating teammate Larry Drew II’s game-winner against Washington.
Nonetheless, he led the team with 17.9 points per game and helped the Bruins (25-10) to a Pac-12 regular-season title. UCLA lost to Oregon in the conference tournament final, and then to Minnesota in the NCAA tournament’s round of 64.
Q: What do you think are reasonable expectations for Alford’s first year (team record) — from a media, UCLA alumni, general fan, Morgan Center, and unattached viewer perspective? What about the second and third years?
A: Some early projections have UCLA behind Arizona and Colorado in the Pac-12, and that feels … about right. I can see the Bruins being better than the Buffs, but Tad Boyle returns every starter. I think Jordan Adams could be an All-Pac-12 first team selection after getting snubbed for the All-Freshman team. If I had to pick a record right now, I’d probably go with another 25 wins. Too hard to project years two and three right now with potential recruits and NBA departures still in flux.
Q: We have Noah Allen, Allerik Freeman, Bryce Alford, Zach LaVine coming in to a group including Norman Powell, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson. That is seven players to play the two or the three. In your opinion who starts, who plays either the one or the four more, and who doesn’t see much playing time? Continue reading
Questions today, answers tomorrow. Thanks.
Four-star point guard Rysheed Jordan picked St. John’s this morning, joining former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin in New York City. The Philadelphia product turned down hometown Temple as well as the Bruins.
Ranked No. 29 by Rivals.com and No. 53 by Scout.com, Jordan was the nation’s highest-ranked uncommitted recruit after No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins.
The move leaves UCLA without much depth at the point after the departure of Larry Drew II. Ben Howland had said before his firing that Kyle Anderson would play full-time at the one on offense, but that may change under new coach Steve Alford. Incoming freshman shooting guards Allerick Freeman and Zach LaVine may also slide in for some minutes.
Q: Last I heard, Ben Howland’s practices were closed and the players only available for media once a week. What do you expect about practices and player availability under Steve Alford?
More of the same.
Q: Would you mind detailing the expectations for basketball signing day, April 17, I believe? Continue reading
Looks like freshman center Tony Parker wants to stay at UCLA. The big man had been undecided about his future after averaging just 6.3 minutes per game, and was visibly upset after many games as former coach Ben Howland left him strapped to the bench. Still, he enrolled for spring quarter and also made an appearance at Saturday’s spring football practice sporting school gear.
With a tweet Sunday night that said, “UCLA I’m a Bruin,” Parker confirmed that he will stay to play for Steve Alford — who had said that his main priority will be retaining players rather than recruiting. Shooting guard Norman Powell had also considered transferring out until Howland was fired.
Duane Broussard: Broussard, the first to join the new UCLA staff, has on the New Mexico staff even before Steve Alford started there after coaching at Iowa. One of his main responsibilities with the Lobos with advance scouting and game preparation, so his duties under Alford with the Bruins could be similar. Continue reading
Same drill as usual. Leave questions here and I’ll be back with answers on Monday.
On Thursday, UCLA officially announced that it had extended athletic director Dan Guerrero’s contract for six years and nine months. Here is a summary of the main financial terms from the new agreement, which starts retroactively on April 1 and ends on Dec. 31, 2019. Continue reading