UCLA in good Hands based on McDonald’s All-American game

UCLA signee Jaylen Hands had 14 points and 3 assists in the McDonald’s All-American Game. (David Banks/Getty Images)

Lonzo Ball’s prospective replacement at point guard didn’t just show up to the McDonalds’s All-American game Wednesday night, Jaylen Hands showed promise.

One of two signees from a UCLA recruiting class ranked No. 2 in the country playing in the nation’s premiere high school all-star game, Hands finished with 14 points and three assists in 20 minutes to help the West team to a 109-107 win over the East team.

Kris Wilkes, UCLA’s most heralded incoming recruit, finished with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting in 13 minutes for the East team. UCLA’s roster is still very much in flux with TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday yet to declare if they will stay or depart for the NBA, but Wilkes’ spot in the starting lineup seems fairly secure given that small forward Isaac Hamilton is graduating.

Hands showed the type of ability that makes rivals.com’s No. 24 prospect in the country a player who has to be on the court even if Holiday remains at UCLA. Much like he played Ball and Holiday together, coach Steve Alford will put his best players on the floor and Hands certainly qualifies no matter who returns to UCLA.

Ball tied a McDonald’s All-American record with 13 assists last year, but few point guards’ will compare favorably to the best pure passer to play college basketball since Jason Kidd. Continue reading “UCLA in good Hands based on McDonald’s All-American game” »

UCLA recruits to face off in McDonald’s All-American game

Following in the footsteps of UCLA freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf, two of the Bruins’ 2017 recruits will play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American basketball game March 29.

Point guard Jaylen Hands, Leaf’s teammate at Foothills Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) High School, will play for the West Team. Kris Wilkes, a 6-foot-8 guard from Indianapolis, will be a member of the East Team.

The two are part of a five-man UCLA recruiting class ranked second in the country by rivals.com, scout.com and espn.com. UCLA coach Steve Alford casually mentioned this week that UCLA may add to the 2017 recruiting class. Continue reading “UCLA recruits to face off in McDonald’s All-American game” »

UCLA basketball lands eerily similar top 5 recruiting class

UCLA gained recruiting momentum when it landed the best class of the Steve Alford era last year. But the who knew the Bruins were being so efficient?

UCLA was working on both classes at the same time considering its 2017 recruiting haul includes high school teammates – and in one case, a blood relative – of each of the three players from the 2016 class. Most importantly, the caliber of talent is similar too.

On the first day of the early signing period, the Bruins’ signed the No. 3 recruiting class in the country, according to espn.com. And that doesn’t include the potential addition of five-star small forward Kris Wilkes, an Indiana native expected to choose the UCLA over Indiana and Illinois. Rivals.com and scout.com rated UCLA’s haul the fourth-best in the nation.

The headliner is freshman T.J. Leaf’s former teammate, point guard Jaylen Hands of El Cajon Foothills Christian, rivals.com’s No. 26 prospect. Ike Anigbogu’s former running mate in the front court at Corona Centennial High, Jalen Hill, is the espn.com’s No. 50 recruit and Lonzo Ball’s brother, LiAngelo, is a 3-star shooting guard from Chino Hills High. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon power forward Cody Riley, scout.com’s No. 30 prospect, is the fourth member of the class and one of the best rebounders in the country.

Jalen Hands
Point guard
Foothills Christian High School, El Cajon, Calif.
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 170
Rivals.com: No. 26 overall
Continue reading “UCLA basketball lands eerily similar top 5 recruiting class” »