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UCLA BASKETBALL

Bruins are best fit for Morgan

May 24, 2008|Diane Pucin | Times Staff Writer

J'Mison Morgan, a 6-foot-11 center rated the fourth-best at his position in high school this season, announced at a news conference Friday that he will attend UCLA next season.

Morgan had signed a letter of intent with Louisiana State in November but asked to be released from the letter after LSU fired Coach John Brady and hired former Stanford coach Trent Johnson. UCLA had originally been Morgan's second choice, and his mother, Bianca, said her son wanted to reconsider UCLA after Brady was fired.

"We signed to play with Coach Brady," she said. "Then he wasn't there. What UCLA has to offer with academics and basketball seemed like the best fit for J'Mison."

UCLA probably also will have plenty of playing time for Morgan. Freshman center Kevin Love has announced his intention to enter the NBA draft, and while he hasn't hired an agent, he's unlikely to withdraw before the June 16 deadline.

Backup power forward Alfred Aboya, a junior, has not committed to using his final year of basketball eligibility. He will graduate this summer and wants to attend graduate school, but he is also going to play for the Cameroon national team as it tries to qualify for the Olympics.

Morgan will join an incoming class that is widely ranked as No. 1 in the country and includes a trio of top-50 guards -- North Hollywood Campbell Hall's Jrue Holiday, Riverside North's Malcolm Lee and Anaheim Canyon's Jerime Anderson -- plus power forward Drew Gordon from San Jose Archbishop Mitty.

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

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