Jalen Hill, newest UCLA commitment, 6-foot-8 at just 15

Jalen Hill, a five-star center who committed on Sunday to UCLA, could look significantly different when he arrives on campus in 2017.

The Corona Centennial junior-to-be turned 15 in December. He could easily be a 2018 prospect based on his age alone. Hill is touted as a defensive center, but his offensive game is developing as rapidly as his 6-foot-8 body, according to his high school coach, who noted that Hill’s father is 6-9 and his mother is “at least 6-3.”

“Most kids who are this tall this young can’t chew gum and walk, but Jalen is one of the fastest, most agile players on our team,” Centennial basketball coach Josh Giles said. “A year ago, sure, he was more of a defensive guy, but he’s increased his range and he is a much better outside shooter. He’s got much more to his game than just defense.”

Giles thought enough of Hill’s perimeter skills to call the Scout.com five-star prospect a stretch-4. Hill’s offensive development was on display earlier this month when he set a record for the 16U USA Basketball team on its way to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship. He connected on 88 percent (15 of 17) of his field goal attempts in the tournament’s five games, breaking Jahlil Okafor’s 2011 mark of 71 percent shooting.

It has been an unexpectedly eventful summer for Hill, who wasn’t anticipated to issue a commitment this early. His decision boiled down to UCLA and Arizona, according to Giles. Continue reading

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Five-star center Jalen Hill commits to UCLA’s 2017 class

UCLA has landed a commitment from another big man out of Corona Centenniel.

Two months after center Ike Anigbogu announced his decision to join the Bruins’ 2016 class, his high school teammate Jalen Hill has done the same for the 2017 cycle. Hill is ranked a five-star center and a top-25 national recruit by Scout.com, and a four-star power forward by Rivals.com.

He was picked for the USA Basketball U16 team earlier this month.

The 6-foot-8, 205-pound Hill is the second member of UCLA’s 2017 class, joining three-star shooting guard LiAngelo Ball.

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NBA Draft: Steve Alford talks about Kevon Looney, Norman Powell

UCLA head coach Steve Alford answered a few questions about Kevon Looney (No. 30 overall pick, Warriors) and Norman Powell (No. 46, Raptors) after Thursday night’s NBA draft.

What are your thoughts on Looney’s fit with the defending champs?

“You can never predict the draft, and you don’t really have any say of where you go. it’s one of the first times. These guys pick their AAU, pick their high school, pick their college. it’s a different experience for them. You go in the draft, and now you get a chance to go in the first round. You get picked by the defending champs, an organization like Golden State — it just doesn’t get much better than that.

“We said the same thing last year in regard to Kyle (Anderson going to the Spurs). I think if you talk to Kyle — he didn’t play a whole lot this year, he got some minutes — but being a part of that franchise, it was an incredible year for him. I couldn’t be happier for Kevon, because he’s going to a terrific organization.”

Did concerns about Looney’s health depress his draft stock?

“There’s no question. He definitely dropped because of that. Fortunately, he dropped into a great situation, being with the franchise he’s with. But I definitely think those were some concerns. I had to field an awful lot of phone calls in the last week or two, and all of my comments were the same. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Norman Powell drafted in second round by Raptors

A few months ago, UCLA’s Norman Powell saw himself as a late first- or early second-round draft pick. He lasted just a little bit longer on Thursday, going No. 46 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-4 guard became the 16th pick of the round — going to the Toronto Raptors as the pick that the originally belonged to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors received the pick as part of their deal in giving up Greivis Vasquez.

In Toronto, Powell joins another Pac-12 senior in point guard Delon Wright, taken No. 20 overall as the second draftee out of the conference.

UCLA forward Kevon Looney was drafted 30th by the Golden State Warriors, falling amid concerns about his hip and back.

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UCLA’s Kevon Looney falls to Warriors at No. 30 in NBA Draft

In the green room at the Barclays Center on Thursday, Kevon Looney waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, he and his party stood and left their table. More than 20 picks had come and gone already in the 2015 NBA Draft, and Looney — once talked about as a potential lottery pick — was still without a home.

But a few minutes later, that changed. His agent had heard word that the Golden State Warriors were about to select the UCLA forward with the No. 30 pick. Looney and his family zipped back.

“It was just nerveracking,” Looney said later. “I got a little stiff and sore; I was sitting there a long time. It was a long wait. You never know what’s going to happen.” Continue reading

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