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Thunder star chooses UCLA

Brendan Lane picks Bruins over Cal, Stanford
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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No more questions from everybody and phone calls from coaches and tours of universities. Rocklin High basketball star Brendan Lane has decided where he will attend college. The 6-foot-10 inch power forward/center, who will be a senior in the fall, has verbally committed to attend UCLA on a basketball scholarship. Lane averaged 20.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game as a junior while helping the Thunder win the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II championship. Lane was unavailable for comment because he is in France until next week, playing basketball with the United States’ Adidas Nations Team. He and the other high-school all stars played in Africa before traveling to France. He committed to UCLA on June 14, just before leaving for Africa. The Bruins have been very successful of late, reaching the Final Four in the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons. “It was a long process,” said Brendan’s father Steve Lane, who says pretty much the entire Pacific 10 Conference and several other major universities recruited his son. “I think there are a lot of reasons why he decided (to commit) when he did – he felt the opportunity was right. He went down for an unofficial visit (in May) and he was down there with the Adidas Nations team practicing and it was really a good time to talk things out. He is going to have a very busy summer and he could (commit) on his terms.” Georgetown, Virginia, Wyoming and Fresno State were among the colleges that joined the Pac-10 schools in the aggressive recruitment of Lane. Rocklin coach Steve Taylor will coach Lane for one more season. “From a coach’s standpoint, it definitely makes it easier (that Lane has chosen where he will play in college),” Taylor said. “They can only call him once a month, but they can call me every day. And I was getting literally 10 to 15 phone calls a week from different coaches checking in. They wanted to know how he was doing and it was ‘the same as he was three days ago.’ It’s just a lot of contacts and guys feel like they have to keep in contact with coaches and it’s all about time. Being on the phone and talking with people takes a lot of time.” Both Steve Lane and Taylor said Brendan had narrowed his choices to Stanford, Cal and UCLA as he came closer to making a decision. “The coaching changes at Stanford and Cal made it hard to predict what those programs would be like,” Taylor said. “You don’t really know who they are going to recruit. UCLA is a proven program with a proven coach that has obviously been successful.” Steve Lane called the recruitment process crazy. “Brendan has talked to a lot of people and coaches and he was comfortable with coach (Ben) Howland over time and he saw UCLA as a challenge where he is going to have to perform and he will have to earn it out there,” Steve Lane said. “It has been such a crazy time, I can’t believe it has only been like three months (since restraints on recruiters were loosened). “They can call coach Taylor every day and some people did. They can only call the house depending on what time of year it is and Brendan was pretty experienced with the whole process. We let him handle a lot of that himself. If he is uncomfortable talking on the phone with someone then why would he consider their program? As a family, quite frankly, it’s fantastic to get that kind of attention but it’s a lot of pressure. You kind of would like things to go back to normal.” Taylor spent “a number of days” with Howland during the recruitment process. “(Howland) was hands on and I think a lot of it (Lane choosing the Bruins) had to do with UCLA’s success and Brendan having a chance to be successful,” Taylor said. “He is used to winning. He felt very comfortable making the decision.” After Lane returns from France, he will play with the Elite Basketball Organization, an AAU team. That squad will play tournaments in Las Vegas and Cincinnati, among other places, this summer. Lane will also play with the Thunder this summer. “I think the thing we’ll probably see this year is some physical growth and development in terms of his strength,” Taylor said. Lane is ranked 64th overall on ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects for 2009. ESPN.com’s Joel Francisco was quoted on espn.go.com, saying Lane needs to get stronger. “Lane is one of the fastest rising juniors in the country,” said Francisco on the Web site. “He is a hybrid four-man with solid perimeter skills. He has a long frame, quick feet and soft hands. He is quite bouncy and has the quickness to take defenders off the dribble as well. He has the ability to fill the lane on the break and can either finish with an array of athletic moves or pull up for the three-point shot. His jump shot is solid with a smooth release and it should get better as he gets stronger . . . He has the skills and athleticism to contribute for the Bruins as a freshman, but he needs to get considerably stronger.” Reeves Nelson, a 6-7 power forward who will be a senior at Modesto Christian in the fall, is ranked 34th on that same ESPN list. He has also committed to UCLA and both he and Lane can officially sign in November. Lane is ranked as the 69th prospect in the nation (20th power forward) for the class of 2009 according to rivals.com while Nelson is 30th overall and ninth at power forward. Lane is ranked as the 20th best power forward in the nation according to scout.com and Nelson is 10th on the same list. Nelson is currently in France playing with the same Adidas Nations Team as Lane. The team is made of the best players from those who play on Adidas-sponsored teams throughout the nation. Lane was picked for the All-State team for Division II this year (15 players made the team) and Taylor was named the DII coach of the year. The complete list of those picked for the All-State team can be found on CalHiSports.com.