The Bruins appear to be pursuing the son of one of the biggest names sports.
Sierra Canyon (CA) guard LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. – the eldest child of four-time NBA MVP and four-time NBA Champion LeBron James – is leaning towards the college route instead of pursuing professional options, ESPN Basketball Recruiting Insider Paul Biancardi reported on Friday morning. Biancardi listed UCLA, USC, Michigan, Ohio State and Oregon as the five programs that have been in contact with the class of 2023 prospect, adding that others are also involved at this stage of his recruitment.
The recruitment of James had been shrouded in speculation up to this point, with 247Sports listing Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina as the four universities with supposed interest in the rising senior, but none of those blue bloods were listed in Biancardi’s article.
Duke was long considered to be a favorite to reel in James due to his father's relationship with coach Mike Krzyzewski, which they had forged over years together with Team USA. North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T are the only schools to publicly offer James.
James is entering his senior year at Sierra Canyon and is set to be a team leader for the Chatsworth, California, school in their upcoming campaign. Just over 20 miles away from Pauley Pavilion, UCLA is the most local option of the rumored competitors.
As long as his father remains with the Lakers through the 2023-24 season, the Bruins could remain in the hunt for James if he chooses to follow through on his college plans.
At the Peach Invitational from July 22-25, James played for Strive For Greatness and averaged 17.8 points, 5.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-3 guard shot 44% from 3-point range during the tournament.
James is a consensus four-star prospect, according to 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and On3. The 247Sports Composite has the Cleveland, Ohio, native ranked as the No. 12 player in California, No. 7 shooting guard in the nation and No. 43 overall recruit in the class of 2023.
UCLA and coach Mick Cronin are currently deep in recruitment battles for Isaiah Collier, Ron Holland, Andrej Stojakovic, Cody Williams, Brandon Williams, Devin Willaims, Michael Nwoko and others.
Collier and Elmarko Jackson are currently the only uncommitted guards who have offers from Bruins, with the team holding more momentum with the former.
James could provide UCLA immediate depth to a backcourt that could lose James’ former Sierra Canyon teammate Amari Bailey to the NBA Draft and Tyger Campbell and David Singleton to graduation.
The Bruins have some history reeling in celebrities and their sons, with Shaquille O'Neal's son Shareef O'Neal committing back in 2018 and the three Ball brothers committing a few years before that – even if LiAngelo decided to turn pro instead.