New UCLA head coach Steve Alford has his first recruiting gem as a member of the Bruins: 5-star power forward Kevon Looney.
The Milwaukee native's recruitment was impossible to predict. Florida, Duke and Tennessee all looked like legitimate leaders (Michigan State and Wisconsin were also very much in the running) for his recruitment at some point in the last couple of days, but in the end, the Bruins won out, per CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello:
Kevon Looney has committed to UCLA.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) October 31, 2013
Looney, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, is the 12th-best recruit in the class of 2014, the third-best power forward and the No. 1 player overall coming out of Wisconsin.
At 6'9" and 208 pounds with immense length, he can score in the paint and block shots, but he's also capable of facing up on the perimeter, where he can handle the ball very well. He isn't the most athletic player in the class, but his versatility, frame and competitiveness make it easy to see why he's an elite recruit.
In Westwood, he'll have a good chance to play right away.
Travis and David Wear are set to graduate after this season, while sophomore Kyle Anderson, who has a tantalizing point-guard skill set in a 6'9" frame, is likely to go pro. True freshman Wanaah Bail, who had knee surgery in the summer, will likely be ready to contribute by 2014, but it's clear Looney will be asked to make an immediate impact for the guard-heavy Bruins.
It appears as though Alford, who made his way from New Mexico to replace the fired Ben Howland, will have no trouble recruiting in the Pac-12—going across the country to win the ultra-competitive battle for Looney against Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo and others is a major deal.
Looney joins 3-star Gyorgy Goloman in Alford's 2014 class.