Top prospect looks at UCLA

Times Staff Writer

UCLA basketball, recently left short-handed by the one-and-done departure of freshman All-America center Kevin Love, may soon get bigger and better.

The Dallas Morning News has reported that J'Mison Morgan, a senior center at South Oak Cliff High in Dallas, has asked out of his letter of intent at Louisiana State and is interested in transferring to UCLA.

Morgan, one of the nation's top recruits, is listed at 6 feet 11 and 255 pounds. He could arrive just in time to help UCLA fill the void of Love, who announced in April that he would make himself available for the NBA draft.

"It was a real hard decision for me," Morgan, an all-state center, told the newspaper. "My comfort level was at LSU, but I felt like UCLA was a better fit for me as far as exposure."

In addition to losing Love, who is projected to be an early first-round draft pick, UCLA may be without big men Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya next season. Mbah a Moute declared for the NBA draft but, like Love, said he would not sign with an agent, leaving open a chance to return. Aboya may give up basketball and attend graduate school.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported Morgan's mother, Bianca, has submitted paperwork to the LSU athletic department seeking her son's release.

"Nothing's happened yet," LSU spokesman Kent Lowe said Wednesday in an e-mail response to The Times. UCLA is prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting on recruits.

Morgan is ranked No. 25 overall and No. 4 among centers on's list of top 2008 recruits. He committed to LSU in November, but Tigers coach John Brady was fired in February and replaced by Stanford coach Trent Johnson.

Morgan said he had established a close bond with LSU assistant Butch Pierre, who was a candidate for the head coach's post but lost out to Johnson.

"Coach Johnson is a good coach," Morgan said, "but I didn't feel all that comfortable with him. I just didn't want to go into a newer situation."

Morgan averaged 13.5 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for South Oak Cliff.


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