Just as it looked like UCLA head coach Ben Howland was losing control of his program, he reeled in the number one recruiting class in the country. Howland not only brought in the top prospect in the country — small forward Shabazz Muhammad (#1) — but he also brought in the number one point guard in the class and another top-five recruit, Kyle Anderson (#5). This quartet of class of 2012 recruits should give the Bruins a Pac-12 Championship in their first season in addition to a potentially deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Get to know the recruits
Muhammad is an athletic, impact-player who has a great motor and an unbelievable post and mid-range game. Inside the arc, he is nearly impossible to guard since he has a nice mid-range jumper and is a very good slasher. He also has an excellent post-game for a wing player which allows him to score on the low block. However, the thing that slides him into the top spot is his work ethic. Muhammad has an unparalleled hunger to improve his game and he is constantly developing his game. Another great quality about him is the fact that he uses his athleticism and quickness to stay in front of his man and to alter shots effectively. One thing I expect to see out of him in the future is for him to become a lock down defender. Muhammad needs to work on his perimeter shooting more than anything else and can also improve his ball-handling and his ability to use his right hand (he’s a lefty).
Anderson is simply a flat out winner. Anderson is the most versatile player high school basketball has seen in years because he is a 6’9 (that’s an official measurement by the way) point guard — and a great one at that. He has tremendous court vision and passing skills and has a knack for finding the open man and putting the ball in a place where his teammates can score from. Although he doesn’t have great speed, he consistently finds a way to get into the lane against both quicker and stronger guards. Anderson has a very high basketball-IQ and always makes smart decisions. He also effectively creates space between him and his opponent using a variety of moves. He has improved his ball-handling too and exhibits good body control. Outside of his offensive arsenal, Anderson rebounds well and uses his length intelligently on defense. However, he needs to work on becoming a better three-point shooter to take his game to the next level although he does have a solid mid-range game.
Parker is a big man with a great combination of size and skill. He does an excellent job of carving out space in the paint and is a volume rebounder who impacts the game on both ends of the court. He displays a variety of scoring moves in the low post and has terrific hands. Parker also has good touch which allows him to step out to the mid-range game and knock down 15-foot jumpers. He is a good finisher around the bucket but the biggest knock on him is his conditioning and how well he [doesn't] run the floor. Parker is the type of guy who will be an impact player as soon as he steps on campus and he should be able to contribute immediately at UCLA for head coach Ben Howland. However, given the fact that the Bruins also have the Wear twins as well as Josh Smith, it should be interesting to see how playing time is allocated between those four big men.
Although he’s the least heralded prospect of UCLA’s great recruiting class, Adams will be able to contribute right away to UCLA on the offensive end since he’s a knock-down shooter from the perimeter. He’s a good scorer who can light up the scoreboard quickly while displaying good body control in the lane. He also has the ability to get to the bucket although he could improve on slashing to the bucket in addition to ball-handling skills. Adams needs to do a better job of keeping his opponent out of the lane, too, and has some difficulty because of his [lack of] lateral quickness.