Editor's note: Every Monday in "Starting 5," we'll roll out five stories, themes and nuggets from the basketball recruiting world to tip off your week in proper form. We'll set the table with the stories that need to be told and give you a leg up on the water cooler conversations around the office.
This week's edition of Starting 5 includes an analysis of UCLA's recruiting situation in the wake of Ben Howland's firing, the five best poachable recruits who could shake loose in the coaching carousel, why freshman Harry Giles is such a special prospect, an introduction to freshman Kwe Parker and a look at the best uncommitted seniors outside the ESPN 100.
1. UCLA needs to move quickly
Sometimes bad things happen to good coaches. We saw Tubby Smith win big at Kentucky before enduring calls for his dismissal. Ben Howland went through the same at UCLA before the whispers turned to shouts. Fan bases have short memories. Ask Howland, who went to three Final Fours in 10 years on the job in Westwood but was fired on Sunday.
A national search for Howland's replacement is under way. You'll hear the usual big timers of this generation mentioned. From Mark Few to Shaka Smart to Brad Stevens, they'll all likely receive phone calls. UCLA should land a distinguished coach, but it better act quickly, especially as it relates to recruiting.
The Bruins currently have a three-man recruiting class ranked No. 19 in the ESPN class rankings. And even though all three players are signed, everybody is poachable when it comes to coaching changes.