UCLA loses top 100 guard Allerik Freeman as he reopens recruitment


UCLA’s recruiting class suffered a blow last night when Allerik Freeman announced that he will be seeking a release from his letter of intent and reopen his recruitment. 

The No. 81 recruit in the Class of 2013, per Rivals, Freeman is a strong, 6-foot-4 scoring guard known for his ability to get to the rim and finish through traffic. He immediately becomes the best available recruit nationally not named Andrew Wiggins. 

“I think Al just wants to exercise all due diligence in making this major life decision with the change in circumstances at UCLA,” Freeman’s high school coach told

That change in circumstances was a month ago, when Steve Alford was hired from New Mexico to takeover for Ben Howland. So why did it take this long for Freeman to reopen his recruitment? Jeff Eisenberg has a theory:

One possible explanation is that once Alford had time to evaluate his roster thoroughly, he realized Freeman was unlikely to earn much immediate playing time. Even with the early departure of Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA has an abundance of options at shooting guard next season, between sophomore Jordan Adams, junior Norman Powell and incoming freshmen Zach Lavine and Bryce Alford.

UCLA does have minutes available at the point guard spot, as Larry Drew II is graduating and there really isn’t a natural replacement for him to run the team. Kyle Anderson is a playmaker, but he’s not a point guard. Zach Lavine isn’t a point guard. Neither is Bryce Alford. 

Perhaps the reason he decommitted is that he saw the writing on the wall: he was going to play sparingly on the wing or be forced into a situation where he was playing out of position at the point. 

Neither are ideal.

It will be interesting to see where he winds up. He picked UCLA over Duke, Kansas, Villanova and Ohio State back in November.

(Image via Findlay Prep)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.