Washington State v UCLA

Findlay Prep (Nev.) newcomer Allerik Freeman commits to Ben Howland and UCLA


UCLA is still awaiting word from the NCAA on the eligibility of some of its top 2012 recruits, but the Bruins got good news in the meantime when coach Ben Howland secured a commitment from 2013 top-100 prospect Allerik Freeman Saturday while he was on an official visit to Westwood.

Freeman tweeted the news Saturday evening.

“I’m officially a UCLA Bruin,” he wrote. “Thank you too all the people who supported me and especially my family! All love. Long way to go though.”

Freeman becomes the second player committed to the UCLA program from the Class of 2013, joining combo guard Zach LaVine, who committed in June. He chose the Bruins over schools that include Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Villanova.

Though a native of North Carolina, Freeman transferred to Findlay Prep (Nev.) for his senior season. His coach at Findlay, Andy Johnson, tweeted his support Saturday.

“Congrats to @Al_freeman on his commitment to UCLA,” he wrote. “Al will play a big role this season for Findlay Prep!”

This now makes two solid classes in a row for Howland and the Bruins, following a 2012 class that featured Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker, and Jordan Adams.

Muhammad and Anderson are still under review by the NCAA regarding the details of their respective recruitments. News of the Anderson investigation came last week, while Muhammad from barred from the team’s August trip to China while the NCAA investigated.

During that trip to China, the Bruins finished 3-0 and look to carry that momentum into a much-improved Pac-12 Conference in 2012-13.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.