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Men’s basketball gets 1st California recruit in 4-star shooting guard Jaylen Clark

Four-star shooting guard Jaylen Clark committed to UCLA men’s basketball on Wednesday. By doing so, Clark becomes the first California high schooler to commit to UCLA in the 2020 recruiting cycle. (Courtesy of Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

By Sam Connon

Feb. 5, 2020 4:17 p.m.

Coach Mick Cronin has started to get some action on the local recruiting trail.

Entering Wednesday, UCLA men’s basketball (12-10, 5-4 Pac-12) had two prospects commit to the program since Cronin joined the team – class of 2020 five-star point guard Daishen Nix and class of 2021 shooting guard Will McClendon. With both Nix and McClendon hailing from Nevada, the Bruins had yet to earn an in-state commitment under Cronin.

That changed Wednesday afternoon when four-star shooting guard Jaylen Clark chose UCLA over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and USC. Clark is from Rancho Cucamonga, California, and currently attends Etiwanda High School, the alma mater of former Bruin Darren Collison.

[Related: Un-Connon Opinions: Men’s basketball is losing its touch when it comes to securing recruits]

With Clark in tow, the Bruins’ 2020 recruiting class jumped up to No. 36 in the country. Clark is the No. 104 player and No. 21 shooting guard in the 247Sports Composite rankings, but on the Top247Sports rankings, he comes in at No. 72 and No. 12, respectively.

Clark has been heralded as a defensive specialist and hyperathletic wing, continuing the string of commitments from two-way players. 247Sports national recruiting analyst Josh Gershon projected Clark to be a Power Five starter with elite defensive upside in his evaluation of him in May.

And despite only being listed at 200 pounds, Gershon wrote that the 6-foot-5 wing is built like a linebacker and plays with the physicality of one on the court.

Both Nix and McClendon had been touted as plus-defenders as well.

Nix played Amateur Athletic Union ball for the Compton Magic, which sophomore guard Jules Bernard and former UCLA guard Jaylen Hands both played for before they came to Westwood. Assistant coach Rod Palmer co-founded the Magic in 1993.

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Sam Connon | Alumnus
Connon joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2017 and contributed until he graduated in 2021. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2018-2019 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats, while also contributing movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment.
Connon joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2017 and contributed until he graduated in 2021. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2018-2019 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats, while also contributing movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment.
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