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Five-star recruit Amari Bailey commits to UCLA men’s basketball’s class of 2022

Five-star Sierra Canyon guard Amari Bailey committed to UCLA men’s basketball Wednesday. Bailey averaged 15.6 points per game as a sophomore and has been heralded as a future first-round draft pick. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

By Sam Connon

Feb. 17, 2021 6:39 p.m.

While wins have been hard to come by for the Bruins on the court over the past few weeks, they picked one up on the recruiting trail Wednesday.

UCLA men’s basketball has earned a commitment from five-star combo guard Amari Bailey, the No. 1 player in California and No. 3 in the country for the class of 2022, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. Bailey announced his decision on Overtime’s Instagram Live on Wednesday just after 6:30 p.m.

This isn’t the first time Bailey verbally committed to the Bruins – he did the same in December 2018 before later reopening his recruitment in July 2019. Bailey had also previously committed to DePaul when he was still in eighth grade, but that also fell through.

Bailey is currently a junior at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California, the same school redshirt junior forward Cody Riley graduated from in 2017. Bailey spent last season playing alongside Bronny James, Preston Pippen and Zaire Wade – the sons of NBA superstars LeBron James, Scottie Pippen and Dwyane Wade, respectively – as well as fellow five-star recruits Ziaire Williams and Brandon Boston Jr.

The 6-foot-4 guard first earned a taste of fame when he went viral for dunking while he was still in middle school, but he has continued to draw attention since then. 247Sports Director of Basketball Scouting Jerry Meyer projected Bailey as a future first-round pick when he evaluated him in November, praising the combo guard’s explosive athleticism and threat as a rebounder and defender while comparing him to Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson.

Although Sierra Canyon has been unable to start its season this year because of COVID-19 protocols, Bailey was averaging 15.6 points per game his sophomore season before it was cut short by the pandemic.

Coach Mick Cronin will now have back-to-back recruiting classes featuring a five-star recruit, with small forward Peyton Watson set to join the team next season and Bailey the year after that. That streak could have been three years long, but five-star point guard Daishen Nix – who was going to be a freshman at UCLA this season – backed out on his commitment in favor of a G League contract in April.

UCLA now owns the No. 4 class for 2022, and it would have boasted a top-five class in 2021 as well if freshman forward Mac Etienne hadn’t enrolled early and joined the Bruins’ 2020 freshman class.

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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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