UCLA Basketball: 2013 Commit Zach LaVine Rockets Up the Recruiting Rankings

Matthew SnyderAnalyst IIIJuly 11, 2012

Heralded class of 2013 point guard Zach LaVine, who committed to UCLA on June 20, has shot up the latest batch of national recruiting rankings.

Once Scout.com's No. 73-rated player, LaVine now sits comfortably at No. 28.

Rivals, which had him pegged as a 3-star prospect and the 140th player in its national rankings, bumped him up to four stars and the No. 40 spot.

He remains at No. 98 in the ESPN 100.

Once rated as the 17th-best point guard in his class in the Scout rankings, LaVine now occupies the No. 5 slot, and keeps his 4-star rating.

It is a sort of notoriety that was a long time coming for LaVine, who was considered by many to be much better than his previous placement would have indicated.

Josh Paunil, a national recruiting analyst, said on Twitter that the spike in LaVine's rankings can be attributed to two things: the Bothell (Wash.) High guard has played particularly well of late, and has thus been able to shed the "underrated" tag that was affixed to him.

While recruiting rankings can be a fickle fiend—stories abound of players who slip through their proverbial cracks and go on to star at the collegiate and professional levels—the three sites mentioned generally do an excellent job of scouting, and can be trusted in their appraisals.

Case in point: Russell Westbrook, the standout Oklahoma City Thunder guard who was made the fourth-overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, was not even ranked by Scout until late in his senior year. However, the recruiting site did end up making him a 4-star recruit.

Fast-track to LaVine, whose rankings bump is the latest bit of good news in a long line for UCLA fans, who have seen Ben Howland recover from a number of recent high-profile misses on the recruiting trail—particularly when it came to point guards—to land one of the top classes in 2012.

(Scout also had the Bruins at No. 2 behind Kentucky in their 2012 rankings, but ESPN ranked UCLA first.)

With LaVine, a long-time UCLA lean, committed, Howland has gotten 2013 off with a bang.

Jabari Parker remains the ultimate—and perhaps unattainable, prize, but LaVine is a very good get, and a welcome reassurance for Bruins fans, who had grown accustomed to seeing top-flight point guards choose other schools ahead of UCLA.