Bruins secure commitment from highly rated junior

Coach Ben Howland’s UCLA Bruins extend their outstanding recruiting success with a commitment last night from one of the nation’s top forward prospects in the Class of 2006. This talented combo forward from Southern California chose UCLA over several of the top programs in collegiate basketball.
Last night Ben Howland received the telephone call that gave him the early commitment he had long been anticipating. Multi-talented 6-foot-8, 207-pound power/wing forward James Keefe, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Santa Margarita High School, told Coach Howland that he wanted to become a Bruin.
Keefe had narrowed his list of schools to five, and chose UCLA over Arizona, Duke, Notre Dame, and Stanford.
As a junior, Keefe averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and made 57% of his field goal attempts, to lead coach Jerry Debusk’s Santa Margarita High team to the CIF Southern Section III-AA title last March.
Last July, we rated him the No. 1 junior power forward prospect at the talent-filled Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis.
Prep expert Frank Burlison of the Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram rates Keefe as one of the three best junior prospects in the west, along with 6-foot-10 center Spencer Hawes, and 6-foot-10 center/forward Brook Lopez.
With this commitment UCLA advances their remarkable recruiting success well into the future. After having a national Top 5 recruiting class in 2004, and a Top 20 early recruiting class this year, the Bruins now have a premier player from the 2006 class, and last year received the incredibly early commitment from 6-foot-7, (then a freshman), wing forward Taylor King, Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei High School, rated as one of the best players in the Class of 2007.