With Lonzo’s high-profile departure, it’s the turn of the new face of the national recruiting efforts: UCLA’s Lonzo.
The Bruins will start with recruiting the No. 2 overall player in the country this fall, and that’s where things get interesting.
Ball’s departure will be felt most intensely at UCLA’s campus.
The Bruins were in the running to land Ball, and they’ve been the ones doing most of the recruiting work on their behalf.
As the Los Angeles Times reported last week, UCLA is in the middle of a “major push” to land the top-ranked player in its class, according to a source familiar with the process.
That person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person is not authorized to speak publicly about the recruiting process.
The source said the Bruins have been in contact with Ball’s agent, J.B. Newhouse, and have received several offers for the 2017-18 season.
Newhouse is the president of basketball operations at AmericanAirlines Arena, and the Bruins are hoping to lure him away from their other target, USC, according, according.
If UCLA were to sign Ball, it would make him the only player from the Pac-12 to leave UCLA since it joined the league in 2015.
The other schools that have offered Ball, according for instance, are Kentucky, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Utah.
All four schools are known to have a recruiting presence at UCLA, though the Bruins would not confirm those offers.
The Lakers have had plenty of success recruiting from the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Coast, and in recent years have also been on the hunt for a marquee player, with the exception of Jordan Clarkson and Malik Monk, who opted to play for Kentucky.
In all, UCLA has signed 12 players from the West Coast, six from the East Coast and one from the Midwest.
The first recruiting class UCLA signed in 2016, which included Lonzo, led to the team being ranked as the No, 9 overall team in the AP poll.
The 2017-19 class is expected to be even better, with some of the top prospects from the class being set to arrive in Los Angeles in the fall.
A source familiar on the recruiting situation told ESPN.com on Wednesday that Ball is “very interested” in UCLA.
He is a top-10 prospect in the nation according to 247Sports Composite, and he’s a consensus five-star prospect according to the ESPN.
They’re also in talks with other top-tier schools.
Ball is the only member of the 2017 class to announce his intentions to leave the Bruins before he left, and it’s clear that he’ll be one of the first to sign with UCLA.