"I always liked UCLA," he said. "I knew about their tradition from the past when I was growing up. Those years they were going back to the Final Four."
The 6-foot-8 power forward from Milwaukee/Hamilton is coach Steve Alford's first highly ranked signee since his hiring in March, showing that the Bruins can successfully recruit on a national level.
Distance was obviously not a factor in Looney's decision.
"It was such a beautiful place and I couldn't turn it down," Looney said.
Looney was considering UCLA while Ben Howland was still coach, but Alford made him a priority after being hired away from New Mexico.
"UCLA was recruiting me before the coaching change, and when the new staff came in I was not sure, but Coach Alford and the whole staff made me feel comfortable, especially on my official visit," Looney said.
Looney will have offensive freedom from the wing position that was attractive, as well.
"I will play power forward and small forward," Looney said. "Rebound, lead the break, play on the wing, post, play fast and play slow. Coach Alford told me to watch how [guard/forward] Kyle Anderson and the Wear twins [seniors Travis and David] play."
Looney joins 6-10 power forward Gyorgy Goloman (Weston, Fla./Sagemont) in the Bruins' 2014 class.