With his busy summer schedule, Maarty Leunen, the 6-foot-9, 210-pound combo
forward from Redmond, Ore., continues to enlighten coaches across the country
to his versatile talents. He just returned from the Nike Peach Jam in North
Augusta, SC, and one elite program apparently saw enough of his abilities there
to extend an offer.
"Coach Howland from UCLA just got off the phone with me and Maarty," said
Marjie Leunen, Maarty Leunen's mother. "He has just offered Maarty a full ride
Leunen had previously received offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Gonzaga, and
Cal, and all four schools have been in hot pursuit of him for awhile. But now
you can add Westwood to the list. Leunen has family nearby in San Diego, and
several relatives have also graduated from UCLA. It's a school that he would
like to find out more about and is now considering taking an official visit
"It's a pretty cool school with all the tradition there," said Leunen. "It was
a dream school for me growing up"
However, before Bruin fans get too excited, Leunen finished his sentence.
"But that won't factor into my decision," he said.
The offer is somewhat of a reward for his solid play at the Nike Peach Jam.
Leunen's Team Oregon squad was in the position of making the Elite Eight, with
a record of 3-1 after knocking off the Jackson Tigers and Al Jefferson in pool
play ("We zoned them and doubled down on Jefferson when he got the ball," said
Leunen). With a playoff spot on the line, Leunen faced Team Texas and was
matched up one-on-one against LaMarcus Aldridge. While Aldridge and Team Texas
got the best of Leunen and Team Oregon to advance, it was a valuable experience
"That was tough," said Leunen. "That was the first time I ever played against
him. It was tough getting your shot off because he's so long. But it was
definitely something to learn from."
In general, Leunen is drained from all of the travel, spending nearly two
straight weeks on the road having attended Nike All-American Camp prior to the
Peach Jam. But he's enjoyed every second of his whirlwind tour this summer.
"I've had a good time," he said. "But I am very tired. I'm glad to do all
these camps and everything though. You only go through all this once so you
have to enjoy it."
And his travels aren't finished. Leunen will be playing in the Oregon City
All-Star Tournament in Oregon City, Ore. this weekend in preparation for the
adidas Big Time in Las Vegas next week. After that, he'll start sorting out
the steps he needs to make before making his college choice.
"I'm going to wait after Big Time and see what happens," said Leunen, alluding
to discussions he's had with the likes of Arizona and Kansas. "Then I'll go
forward with my official visits. I hope to cut those down to about 3-4."
Leunen has maintained all along that he would like to make a decision and sign
in the fall before basketball season starts.
Jed Tai is a senior writer with Hoopville.com