UCLA head coach Ben Howland announced Nov. 14, the signing of a heralded class of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend UCLA in the fall of 2008. It was the first day of the early signing period that extended until Wed.
The class consists of Jrue Holiday, a 6-foot-3-inch, 190-pound guard out of North Hollywood, Calif. (Campbell Hall HS); Drew Gordon, a 6-foot-8-inch, 235-pound forward/center from San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS); Jerime Anderson, a 6-foot-1-inch, 165-pound guard out of Anaheim, Calif. (Canyon HS) and Malcolm Lee, a 6-foot-4-inch, 170-pound guard from Riverside, Calif. (J.W. North HS).
“We got all four Letters of Intent back, they are all official now, and needless to say, I’m a happy guy,” Howland said. “You got a happy coach today in Westwood because I feel like we have a great recruiting class. Not only in terms of their abilities _- because you have four of the best players in the country – but also all of them are great kids from great families. I’m excited about the class and all four of these kids and I’m looking forward to their arrival next fall.”
The class has been rated No. 1 by several recruiting services and Web sites, including CSTV.com, Scout.com and Hoopmasters.com. Additionally, all four players were among the top six vote-getters in the 2007-08 Best in the West poll, including Holiday, who was the top vote-getter with 370 points and 34 (out of 62) Best Prospect votes. Demar DeRozan (Compton, Calif., Compton HS) was second with 368 votes and Luke Babbitt (Reno, Nev., Galena HS) was third with 361 votes. Gordon was fourth with 343 votes, followed by Anderson in fifth with 326 votes and Lee in sixth with 322 votes.
Holiday averaged 23.2 points per game last year at Campbell Hall High School and is rated the No. 1 point guard in the country by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. He is also the No. 2 rated overall player by Scout.com and No. 3 by Rivals.com.
“Jrue Holiday is really talented and he’s as athletic as anyone that I have recruited since I’ve been at UCLA and as good an athlete as anyone in the country,” Howland said. “He’s very strong, a quick jumper and is an outstanding ball handler. What I love about Jrue is that he has multi-position capabilities. He can guard a one, two or three and can handle the ball and run the point or can play at shooting guard. He’s a nightmare matchup for people. He’s a very good defender and is unbelievably competitive.”
Gordon averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds last year at Archbishop Mitty High School. He is rated No. 10 at power forward by Scout.com and No. 16 by Rivals.com. He is also the No. 31 rated overall player by Scout.com and No. 49 by Rivals.com
“Drew Gordon is an outstanding athlete, a big-time athlete,” Howland said. “He has great physical abilities and is a great rebounder. He is one of the best rebounders that I have recruited. He has a lot of potential and a huge up-side. He has a good low-post scoring ability and he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a lot of playing time as a freshman.”
Anderson averaged 17.2 points per game last year at Canyon High School and is rated the No. 4 point guard in the nation by Scout.com and No. 8 by Rivals.com. He is also the No. 28 rated overall player by Scout.com and No. 48 by Rivals.com.
“Jerime Anderson is an outstanding true point guard that is very athletic and an outstanding defender,” Howland said. “He showed huge improvement in his game this summer and in my opinion, is one of the best guards in the country. He’s got a great mentality and is very outgoing with natural leadership qualities, so I’m very please about Jerime joining our basketball family.”
Lee averaged 17.0 points per game last year at J.W. North High School and is rated the No. 2 point guard in the country by Scout.com and the No. 9 shooting guard by Rivals.com. He is also the No. 22 rated overall player by Scout.com and the No. 51 overall rated player by Rivals.com.
“Rounding out the class is Malcolm Lee, who is another multi-talented athlete who is very skilled,” Howland said. “He can play point or at the off-guard because he’s a very good shooter. I have already threatened him that I’m going to pull him out of the game if he doesn’t shoot more once he gets to UCLA because he’s such a good shooter. Sometimes I think he passes up shots because he’s so unselfish. Malcolm can be a look-down defender because he has very quick feet.”