It took barely a month for UCLA coach Steve Alford's first Class of 2014 commitment to backtrack on his decision.
Six-foot-6 forward Trevon Bluiett, ranked No. 45 in his class by Rivals.com, has informed UCLA he intends to reopen his recruitment, Park Tudor High School coach Kyle Cox confirmed via text Thursday. Cox called the distance to Los Angeles Bluiett's "sole reason for decommitting," an explanation Bluiett's father also gave the Indianapolis Star earlier Thursday evening.
"I think the distance part of it played a factor," said Bluiett’s father, Reynardo Bluiett, told the Star. "When he sat down and thought about it, I think the distance from home was hard for him."
Perhaps the specter of playing more than 2,000 miles from his Indianapolis home really did spook Bluiett, but that seems odd considering the distance didn't change in the month since he initially committed. Another possibility is Bluiett grew concerned with UCLA's glut of wings, with several underclassmen already on the roster, McDonald's All-American Isaac Hamilton set to become eligible next fall and the Bruins still pursuing Justise Winslow, among others.
A high-profile recruit reneging on his commitment will not help the perception of Alford among UCLA fans, but the truth is the loss of Bluiett isn't overly damaging for the Bruins because of all the wings projected to be on the 2014-15 roster. Far more disconcerting was Alford striking out on Josh Perkins, Jordan McLaughlin and Quinton Snyder, leaving him without an obvious heir apparent at point guard.
Cox said it's too soon to evaluate where Bluiett will turn next, but he suspects the Park Tudor star will end up at a Midwest school. Michigan, Indiana, Purdue and Butler were among the many schools that heavily pursued Bluiett prior to his commitment to UCLA on Sept. 2.
Bluiett's decommitment continues a trend among top Class of 2014 Indiana high school players. In addition to Bluiett, Trey Lyles, James Blackmon, JaQuan Lyle, Bryant McIntosh and Ernie Duncan have all backed out of their initial commitments.