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April 23, 2012

UCLA continues soaring with Parker signing

MORE: 2012 Rivals150 | 2013 Rivals150

Every time it seemed as if the nation's No. 27 player in the class of 2012, Tony Parker, was ready to make a decision, his announcement would get pushed back.

Monday afternoon, the 6-foot-9 center from Miller Grove (Ga.) High finally made things official when he announced his decision to attend UCLA during an afternoon press conference at his high school.

The decision ended months of speculation - which most recently had been pointing to either the Bruins or home-state Georgia - about where the four-star talent go.

"It was a real tough decision, but UCLA is one of the best all-time programs," Parker said. "I just thought it was best for me."

Now that Parker has officially opted with the Bruins, Ben Howland and his staff have put together a remarkable recruiting class for 2012.

Not only have the Bruins landed a big and skilled scorer/rebounder in Parker, but he's only the third-best prospect coming in to join a stacked recruiting class and one that could help re-establish UCLA as one of the nation's premier programs.

Headlining the Bruins' haul is the nation's top player, Shabazz Muhammad. The 6-foot-6 wing from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman is a high-level wing who scores with efficiency and from all over the court. An athletic and physical left-handed player, Muhammad is the most college-ready player of the class of 2012 and immediately gives Howland a guy he knows that he can count on to get buckets.

Next in the UCLA class is the nation's third-ranked player in the 2012 Rivals150, Kyle Anderson. Standing nearly 6-foot-9, the product of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony is a do-it-all player capable of playing four positions and running an offense. His crafty playmaking will be an excellent complement to Muhammad and the pieces already on the team in Westwood.

As mentioned, Parker is a big-time rebounder who has arguably the best pair of hands on any big man in the class of 2012. He finishes with either hand around the basket and is a strong kid who can eat space on each end of the floor. Like current center Josh Smith, Parker does need to be careful about his weight and he'll need to be in shape to make maximum impact.

Rounding out the class is one of the nation's better deep shooters, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill's Jordan Adams, a native of the Atlanta area who, like Parker, played with an Atlanta Celtics program that also produced current Bruins assistant Korey McCray. Adams ranks No. 62 nationally and has 6-foot-5 size to go with his deep range.

With the addition of Parker, UCLA's recruiting haul now jumps past Pac-12 foe Arizona, giving the Bruins at least the nation's second-rated class. Kentucky currently holds the top spot with No. 2 Nerlens Noel, No. 8 Alex Poythress, No. 14 Archie Goodwin and No. 40 Willie Cauley in the fold. However, having two of the nation's top three players will factor heavily into deciding which class is ultimately the best.



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