Five-star 2017 guard Jaylen Hands committed to UCLA on Wednesday, announcing his intentions via Twitter and giving the Bruins a highly-rated West Coast point guard for the third straight recruiting class.
The commitment of Hands, rated No. 23 overall in his class by Rivals.com out of Balboa City School in San Diego, means UCLA has landed the top-ranked California floor general three years running, along with 2016 five-star Bruins commit Lonzo Ball and 2015 commit Aaron Holiday.
Hands chose the Bruins over essentially the entire Pac-12: Arizona, Stanford, California, USC and others. UCLA's continued emphasis on in-state talent continues to pay dividends under head coach Steve Alford.
“Me and my family felt the most comfortable with UCLA and their staff as a whole,” Hands told Scout.com. “The education, the spotlight, the lineage of point guards being sent to the league and being so close to home is something we couldn't pass up.”
Hands spent the summer playing AAU ball with the Compton Magic, averaging 12.6 points and 4.5 assists on the adidas Uprising circuit. Standing 6'2", Hands brings a solid skill set with the ability to score and distribute comfortably.
DraftExpress noted over the summer from USA Basketball's U16 training camp that Hands looked good hitting shots off the catch and dribble, thrived in the pick and roll and stood out in his age group. As UCLA continues to build under Alford – with two Sweet 16 appearances in his first two years – keeping a recruit the caliber of Hands in-state and away from the rest of the conference is a significant victory.
UCLA has largely been cleaning up the in-state recruiting trail, with all six of their current high school commitments playing high school ball in California. Hands joins four-star forward Jalen Hill and three-star guard LiAngelo Ball (the younger brother of Lonzo Ball) in the Bruins' 2017 class. The ’16 class features the older Ball, four-star center Ike Anigbogu, and three-star guard Kobe Paras, a native of the Philippines.
Looking further ahead, the Bruins have also landed a pledge from 13-year-old 2019 guard LaMelo Ball, the youngest of the three Ball brothers.