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Bruins, 'Horns, Tigers hit the recruiting road


Do you think Ben Howland is having an immediate impact at UCLA?

Bow Howland
The Bruins' new head coach has been there only a short time, but he's already wielding the magic in the world of recruiting. Howland has the wonderful tradition of the letters U-C-L-A behind him. Growing up as a fan of John Wooden, he is proud to be the coach of the Westwood school.

UCLA is one of my super seven programs in America. In that tradition-laden group are UCLA and Arizona of the Pac-10, Duke and North Carolina of the ACC, Kentucky of the SEC, Indiana of the Big Ten and Kansas out of the Big 12.

Howland has verbal commitments for his future backcourt. He has signed shooting guard Arron Afflalo from Centennial High School in Compton, Calif., and point guard Jordan Farmar from Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif. Many experts feel this is the backcourt of the future for the Bruins.

It's a nice start for Howland and his staff.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes has wasted no time in capitalizing on the recent success of the Longhorns' basketball program. Making the Final Four last year helped, as T.J. Ford sent a message loud and clear to many high school stars in Texas. There's no doubt that this football power can win big-time on the hardwood.

So the Longhorns are hitting the trail. Texas has commitments from a number of standouts, including power forward Mike Williams of Alabama, 6-11 big man LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-3 guard Daniel Gibson, versatile 6-7 swingman Dion Dowell and 6-10 forward Connor Atchley, who also plays baseball.

Williams picked Texas over Alabama and Florida. He and Aldridge would make a dynamite 1-2 punch up front, especially after Texas loses the likes of James Thomas.

Coaches don't become geniuses in November and December. There is lots of hard work and success from recruiting during the summer. That separates the winners from the losers, getting those magical commitments that make a major, major difference.

Missouri head coach Quin Snyder had to be happy to add 6-8 Lithuanian Linas Kleiza. Last season, Kleiza played in Rockville, Md., and lots of scouts are impressed with his potential.

The Tigers have a lot of returning talent with Arthur Johnson and Rickey Paulding leading the way, and adding former VMI star Jason Conley as a transfer could give Snyder something special in Tiger country.

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