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A closer look at UCLA’s fourth-ranked men’s basketball class of 2016

By Saad Qasim

March 31, 2016 9:54 pm

After a disappointing end to the UCLA men’s basketball season in which the Bruins failed to enter the NCAA Tournament, coach Steve Alford and his team will be fortified by the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to The recruiting class, which also ranks first in the Pac-12 conference, includes two five-star recruits in point guard Lonzo Ball and forward T.J. Leaf, both California natives.

Lonzo Ball

A 6-foot-6-inch point guard from Chino, California, Lonzo Ball signed his letter of intent to play for the Bruins in November. With good height, his vision and passing as well as his 3-point range make him the seventh-ranked prospect in his class. The McDonald’s All-American has hops too.
Lonzo Ball GIF 1

At his position and a lengthy wingspan, Ball has all the physical tools to be a force in Westwood.

He led his high school to a 35-0 record and a state championship, averaging 23.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game. Here’s Ball showing off his range:

Lonzo Ball GIF 2

Fun fact: Other than Lonzo, his younger brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball have verbally commited to UCLA as well. LaMelo is 14 and LiAngelo is 17, and they all play on the same high school team. Even more interesting, people say that youngest LaMelo may the best of them all!

T.J. Leaf

A 6-foot-9-inch forward from El Cajon, California, T.J. Leaf recently joined the Bruins after decommitting from Arizona. His ability to score inside and knock down the face-up jumper also make him a five-star recruit and the 16th-ranked prospect nationally in his class. His tenacious play on the glass shown below makes him a consistent double-double threat.

In his last season at Foothills Christian High School, Leaf averaged 28.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. His explosiveness on display:

T.J Leaf GIF 2

Fun fact: In the three games played this season in which T.J. Leaf’s high school and Lonzo Ball’s high school faced each other, Leaf averaged 40.3 points per game and Ball averaged 28 points per game; however, Ball’s team won each time they played.

Fans will find out next year if the two recruits can carry over their exciting brand of basketball to Westwood.

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Saad Qasim
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