Steve Alford and his UCLA Bruins are making quite the splash in their 2014 recruiting class. This week the Bruins signed Jonah Bolden, a 6’9 Australian currently playing at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas. Bolden has been featured in our International Recruiting Digest and we came away very impressed when we saw him a the adidas Nations this summer. Here was our scouting report on Bolden after the adidas Nations:
“Bolden is a long combo-forward who can defend the interior, finish at the rim and step out and knock down the perimeter shot. Very skinny but long, needs to add strength to play inside at a high level. Has ball skills and is very athletic. Father is from Michigan and played at Boise State. Recruitment will increase once he plays at Findlay. A great feel for the game, His plan is to reclassify up from the 2015 class into the 2014 class. An effective passer in transition and an active defender. He has ability to face and score with jumper inside the arc or off the dribble with his length at the rim.”
Bolden will be joining Kevon Looney (Milwaukee, WI), a very athletic, 6’9, combo-forward. Looney can play inside and out and impressed us so much at the adidas Nations that he was NetScouts Basketball’s Most Outstanding Player at the event. And that was an event that featured just about all the top-ranked players in the 2014 class, and Looney out-played them all. Looney was by far the top rebounder and shot blocker at Nations and out-played his teammate at the event, #1 2014 recruit Duke signee Jahlil Okafor.
To add to the frontcourt Alford also pulled in 7-footer Thomas Welsh (Los Angeles). Welsh is a four-star recruit who has improved in leaps and bounds from his junior year. He went from just having one offer as a junior to being one of the most sought after big-men in the country. Welsh isn’t the most athletic player but can score inside with a variety of nice moves and hooks, is a solid rebounder at both ends and will be a strong defender. If he continues his improvement he’ll be a solid player for the Bruins, and one who will likely stay in school for four years.
Previously the Bruins signed 6’9 Gyorgy Goloman who will likely not see much playing time next season and may be red-shirted. Another international player 6’9 Wanaah Bail is a player we loved when we saw him in the adidas Nations event two years ago. Bail will start getting some playing time as the season progresses and will contribute more next year. 6’9 Tony Parker (7.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) has been performing well this year in about 20 minutes a game and will likely claim a starting spot up front next season.
In addition , UCLA will have 6’5 Isaac Hamilton eligible next year. Hamilton was a highly rated five-star recruit from the 2013 class who originally signed with UTEP.
Assuming that Kyle Anderson leaves for the NBA, the Bruins will still be bringing their star scorer, 6’5 Jordan Adams back. Adams will be joined in the backcourt by star frosh Zach LaVine, 6’4 starter Norman Powell and Bryce Alford, who has been playing very well this season.
The Bruins will be loaded next season. The influx of new talent plus the holdovers from this season will make UCLA a likely Pac-12 favorite for the 2014-15 season and a national top-10 pre-season pick.