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Fantastic Four, the Sequel — UCLA Basketball adds Tony Parker to their other 3 top-rated incoming recruits, giving them the #1 Recruiting Class in the Nation, which Bruin fans know is no guarantee of success, but is still worthy of Hollywood-type buzz

UCLA made it official yesterday, signing 6’9″ Center Tony Parker to a National Letter of Intent, giving the Bruins the #1 Recruiting Class in the Country, as annointed by ESPN.  Ben Howland’s incoming class was already #3, but the addition of Parker vaulted it over Kentucky and one other team to the Top of the Top.

This is the second time in 5 years that Howland has pulled off this amazing accomplishment.  It’s amazing, because he is defying the odds — Howland has Academic standards that most of the other contenders don’t, plus, UCLA’s lack of exposure on East Coast-centric ESPN is a huge hurdle in today’s Highlight-reel environment.  So, yes, it’s amazing, but no, it does not directly correlate to success on the hardwood.  And nobody knows that better than UCLA fans.

In 2008, the Bruins signed the top-rated class, and it never came close to panning out.  Early defections, as well as misjudgments of talent, not to mention personality/attitude problems torpedoed that class to obscurity.  This year’s class will have one fully-expected one-and-done in Shabazz Muhammad, but could have at least one more.  But as far as attitude is concerned, this class is, by all accounts, above suspicion.  These guys have come together to play hard and win, overcoming the challenges presented by a recent history of Bruin struggles.  Assuming Howland can keep them contented with enough playing time, there shouldn’t be a problem with chemistry or malcontented-ness.

One thing’s for sure:  The expectations will be at an all-time high for Howland, who will need to succeed to keep the wolves at bay.  The fact that he was able to recruit so well is a feather in his cap, but if he can’t coach them to at least an Elite 8 in the next two years, he will be in hot water again, fair or not.  But, a new era of being ELITE is starting right now, and with new Pauley re-opening, Bruin fans have every right to be excited and optimistic.

"THIS TIME IT’S PERSONNEL" was published on April 24th, 2012 and is listed in Blue & Gold News.

Comments on "THIS TIME IT’S PERSONNEL": 4 Comments

  1. JC wrote,

    Howland will need to reach at least the Elite 8 NEXT YEAR, since we know there will be at least one “one-and-done” player in the group.

    Howland will need a good 2013 follow-up class for UCLA to be considered as currently having an elite program again (of course, their claim to an historically elite program will be safe for the rest of our lives).

  2. JP wrote,

    Well, now I’m very excited. Those back-to-back Final Fours seemed so long ago.

  3. bruin86 wrote,

    I’m pumped! This will be fun! Go Bruins!

  4. dswenson wrote,

    Hope Howland can do right with these guys. He’s had talent before and has done nothing with it. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again. I am also pumped and can’t wait for football and basketball seasons coming up soon. GO BRUINS!!!

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