SoCalHoops Recruiting News
Villa Park's Sean Phaler
Commits To UCLA--(Nov. 11, 2002)
We heard about this one over the weekend, but basically wanted to give Sean Phaler (6'-9" Sr. F) from Villa Park time to make his announcment in his own way, and so we held off reporting his recent verbal commitment to UCLA head coach Steve Lavin until we received confirmation and the word got out to the general public. Phaler visited UCLA over the weekend of November 1-3, and after mulling things over, basically decided this weekend to give the Bruins the nod. Phaler was also offered by the University of Washington and Indiana.
The common question asked about Sean is "How good is he?" And the reason a lot of people feel compelled to ask that question is because he's skinny, really skinny, almost to the point of being Tayshaun Prince-skinny. But like Prince, he's a very effective scoring threat, who has the potential to turn into UCLA's version of Dirk Nowitzki: A solid frontline scorer in the paint, with height, good shot-blocking potential and reasonably good quickness, and, like Nowitzki, an excellent three point shot. Given his somewhat modest weight (if he's 170, we'd be surprised), he could be more of a threat as a perimeter-three man than a frontline player
Sean has had some very solid results in the past two years to merit the attention by a Pac-10 school of UCLA's caliber. Based on last year's CIF-SS season statistics (including playoffs), Phaler led the entire section in free throw percentage, and was among the leaders in several other categories. Last season he average 19.5 ppg (scored 501 pts in 26 games); shot 48.6% overall from the field (193 makes, 397 attempts); shot 41.9% from behind the three point arc, making 44 of 105 three-point attempts; averaged 8.5 rebounds per game (222 total rebounds, 26 games) and averaged 3.5 blocks per game (91 in 26 games). Quite impressive. But here's his most impressive stat: He made an amazing 71 out of 79 free-throw attempts, averaging 89.9% from the line, which is an almost unheard of percentage at the high school level. And then there's the memorable game two summers ago when Phaler and LeBron James squared off against each other, and Phaler knocked down 43 points at the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament. Memorable indeed, and good enough to have a number of high-major programs after him ever since.
Phaler will join UCLA recruit Trevor Ariza (6'-8" Sr. F) from Westchester, who committed to the Bruins two weeks ago. It is anticipated that both will sign National Letters of Intent next week when letters can first be signed in the early period.
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