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UCLA Basketball: Target Practice

When it comes down to college basketball recruiting, there’s no rest for the weary. Coaches from all over the country are constantly on the move and scouting potential prospects, regardless of whether their respective program is preparing for the rigors of regular-season play, in the middle of a hotly-contested conference race or in the midst of a postseason run during March Madness.

UCLA head honcho Ben Howland is no different from the rest of his coaching peers. Along with his staff, the Bruins brass is always out on the road with the hopes of securing a commitment or building a relationship that might lead to something in the near future. That said, this space will regularly be a proverbial one-stop shop for news and notes about the state of recruiting at UCLA.

CLASS OF 2013

Keith Frazier, SG, Dallas (TX) Kimball: The Bruins have offered the 6-foot-5 scorer. Still, one was to wonder if they remain interested considering Allerik Freeman of Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep and Zach LaVine of Bothell (WA) have signed with UCLA and essentially play the same position. SMU, Texas and Texas A&M appear to be the frontrunners for Frazier (pictured) at this stage so don’t be overly surprised to see him land somewhere other than Westwood.

Kendall Smith, PG, Antioch (CA) Deer Valley: UCLA was in the running for the floor general. That is, until recently. He committed to UNLV earlier this year, leaving the Bruins on the outside looking in. Arizona State and Gonzaga were also interested. Howland & Co. figure to be just fine in the long run. The coaching staff has its eye on Stevie Clark of Oklahoma (OK) Douglass and Rysheed Jordan from Philadelphia (PA) Vaux Roberts. The Bruins figure to move on sooner rather than later, even if Smith changes his mind.

CLASS OF 2014

Shaqquan Aaron, SG, Seattle (WA) Rainer Beach: A native of Los Angeles, he’s been on the UCLA radar for quite some time now. The Bruins, in fact, were one of the nation’s first colleges to express some interest in the 6-6 playmaker. That could bode well for their chances down the road. Arizona and Louisville are also threats to secure a commitment from Aaron.

Malik Pope, SF, Sacramento (CA), Capital Christian: At 6-8, he possesses the size most schools covet out on the wing. Suppose that best explains why the Bruins offered Pope. They are not the only Pac-12 Conference program in the mix. Colorado and Washington have been in constant contact with him. Gonzaga and Georgetown have scholarship offers on the table.

CLASS OF 2015

Tyler Dorsey, PG/SG, Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco: A combo guard, his versatility is a strong suit. Pac-12 Conference counterparts such as Arizona, Oregon State and USC are well aware of this fact and have offered. UCLA does’t want to miss the boat on the 6-4 jack-of-all-trades type. UConn, Georgetown and Missouri must be considered contenders as well.

Aaron Holiday, PG, North Hollywood (CA) Campbell Hall: Given the fact that his brother Jrue Holiday starred for the Bruins before moving onto the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, one has to think UCLA has the inside track for a commitment. Eventually, that is. Nevertheless, the 6-1 distributor has displayed glimpses of immense potential. Keep an eye on him.

Sean Ceglinsky has covered prep and college sports on the West Coast for the better part of the past 15-plus years. Follow him on twitter: @SeanCeglinsky

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