LAS VEGAS - Jahii Carson has had an amazing run this AAU season and now the four-star point guard from Mesa, Ariz., has a new leader. One Pac-10 school should be thrilled.
UCLA has moved to the top for Carson, a former Oregon State commit, for many reasons including the Bruins' point guard tradition and recent conversations with coach Ben Howland that have convinced Carson that Westwood might be his best fit.
"UCLA has a good point guard tradition," Carson said Sunday at the adidas Super 64.
"Jordan Farmar, that's who I really look at right now because he's in the NBA, he has rings in the league and he plays with Kobe (Bryant). Ben Howland said he's going to put the ball in my hands and let me play. They have good players that could surround me at UCLA so right now I feel they're in the lead.
"(Howland) is a great coach and it gives me good confidence that he thinks I can help them win national championships. With him saying that, I can be the man basically with the ball and that gives me a confidence boost."
Arizona and Arizona State are tied for second place according to Carson, a 5-foot-10 point guard who's rated No. 10 at his position and No. 49 overall by Rivals.com.
"They're a smooth second," Carson said of Arizona. "Them and ASU are tied for second right now because they're the home-state teams and Arizona said they're going to put the ball in my hands and let me go. I believe coach (Sean) Miller when he talks to me. I don't think he's lying to me.
"Coach (Herb) Sendek said he wants to change the style of play because with a guard like me they can get out and run, push the tempo and trap. With the athletes they have … I can be a good fit with them."
Things could pick up even more for Carson, who said North Carolina has recently gotten involved as well. He couldn't say where the Tar Heels landed on his leader board since they're a new addition but there is definitely interest.
"You have to consider North Carolina because they have great overall tradition especially with their players," Carson said. "Right now because they're just coming into the picture they can't be a leader but they're definitely going to be up there in the future.
"I wanted all schools to come through and give me interest. When I de-committed I didn't know North Carolina was going to get involved but I guess I played good enough for me to get their interest."
Plans are in place for Carson to narrow his list sometime in September and get his decision out of the way before his senior season starts. As the summer AAU circuit winds down, UCLA finds itself in a good spot with many other major programs charging hard as well.