On Friday, news came down that Matt Carlino, a freshman guard at UCLA, will be transferring out of the Bruins program.
If you remember, Carlino graduated high school a year early in order to enroll at UCLA. That came after Carlino’s father moved him from Pheonix to Bloomington so he could get a closer look at Indiana, a program he committed to after an elite camp in 2008.
Today, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Carlino will be taking an official visit this week to UNLV. He’ll be on campus from Tuesday to Thursday, allowing him to take in the UNLV-UC Santa Barbara game.
If Carlino does decide to play for Lon Kruger and the Rebels, it won’t be the first time in the Ben Howland era that has happened. In April, Mike Moser — a 6’8″ forward and top 100 recruit in the class of 2009 — left Westwood for Vegas. He followed the footsteps of Chace Stanback, another touted recruit that left UCLA because he wasn’t getting minutes. Stanback has developed into arguably the most important player for UNLV this season.
The Rebels have become a home for players that couldn’t latch on elsewhere. Tre’Von Willis (Memphis), Quintrell Thomas (Kansas), Derrick Jasper (Kentucky), Karam Mashour (St. Joseph), and Tyler Norman (Iowa State) have all also transferred into the program.
Many people have asked the question recently: what is wrong with UCLA? Why is Ben Howland’s program struggling this much? Has Howland gotten away from his bread and butter, bringing in the kids no one wanted that play with a chip on their shoulder, opting instead to recruit top 100 players unwilling to buy into his system? Has his ability to judge talent waned in Southern California? Has he just missed on his last few recruiting classes?
Or can the answer be as simple as he’s been unable to keep talent in his program. In addition to Stanback, Moser, and Carlino, Drew Gordon (New Mexico) and J’Mison Morgan (Baylor) have also transferred out of UCLA in the last year.
Imagine the Bruins with a front line consisting of the four big men listed above along with Joshua Smith, Reeves Nelson, and Tyler Honeycutt.
They may be good enough that the Bruin’s point guard and defensive issues would be irrelevant.