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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

UCLA’s newest addition has an unusual name and an explosive game

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Wannah Bail (Rivals.com)

Given his unusual name, it should be no surprise former Texas Tech signee Wannah Bail opted to reopen his recruitment and seek out a new school after initially failing to qualify academically last fall.

Now it's UCLA's turn to hope he shows more loyalty than his name suggests.

Bail reportedly committed to the Bruins during his visit to Westwood on Friday, making him the first recruit Steve Alford has landed since being hired almost two months ago. The 6-foot-8 Bahamas native has been cleared academically and should provide depth off the bench at both forward positions for UCLA next season.

Originally a Rivals 150 prospect in the Class of 2012, Bail brings athleticism that UCLA has lacked of late at the forward position. Luke Lucky, Bail's former coach at Lamar Consolidated High School in Texas, praised Bail's first step to the basket and ability to guard multiple positions.

"He's an amazing athlete at his size, but he's also skilled," Lucky said. "He can handle the ball, he can pull up and shoot a jump shot. He needs polish and his decision-making could be a little better – and he may have worked on that in the past year, I don't know – but it's unbelievable to see someone so big also be so quick and explosive."

Bail was one of the centerpieces of Billy Gillispie's final recruiting class at Texas Tech, but he didn't last long in Lubbock. Lucky said Bail departed both because of his academic issues and because he found Gillispie's abrasive leadership style to be a poor fit for what he wanted from a coach.

"It was a combination of both," Lucky said. "He's a great kid with a great personality and he's fun to be around, but that Billy Clyde way, I don't know if kids this day and age buy into that."

Texas Tech's loss is UCLA's gain now that Bail has apparently chosen the Bruins over suitors USC and Miami. He appears likely to back up Kyle Anderson at combo forward as a freshman and contend for a greater role the following season once both Wear twins and perhaps Anderson too are gone.

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