Amari Bailey is a freshman at basketball powerhouse Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California. Bailey joined a team featuring four-star prospect Cassius Stanley and a bevy of sons of NBA players, including Scotty Pippen Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr.
The Chicago native moved west to attend the prep school where he can develop his basketball skills on one of the nation’s best teams. Despite being only 14 years old, Bailey has received plenty of interest from colleges and on Monday decided to announce his commitment to UCLA.
If it seems preposterous that a high school freshman would be making a commitment to a college, you aren’t alone, but that’s part of the game in recruiting now. Talent is being identified earlier and earlier, and once a top prospect is identified on the prep and AAU circuit, schools begin to send out offers.
It’s important to note this is just a verbal commitment, and obviously things can change. For example, Bailey was committed briefly to DePaul in his native Chicago while an eighth grader before decommitting and heading out to California. As for UCLA, they’re certainly not new to the game when it comes to commitments from underclassmen in high school. This time, though, they’ll hope things go more in their favor than it did with LaMelo Ball, who left high school to play pro ball in Lithuania and in his father’s JBA, before ending up playing prep ball again in Ohio.