UCLA lands huge basketball commitment in big man Adem Bona

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UCLA’s latest basketball commitment is big in every way.

Adem Bona, a 6-foot-9 post player from Napa’s Prolific Prep who picked the Bruins over Kentucky, will provide the team with a highly skilled big man who elevates what’s shaping up as one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

A consensus five-star player, Bona combines elite shot-blocking skills with power moves around the basket and a willingness to work, making him a perfect fit for coach Mick Cronin’s team.

“I envision myself playing with the team because I saw them practice, I saw the guys give their all in practice, all they had, and that’s big for me because I want that,” Bona told Stadium’s Sham Charania on Monday while announcing his nonbinding verbal commitment.

Cronin cannot comment on recruits until they sign binding letters of intent later this month. Bona’s commitment boosts UCLA’s 2022 recruiting class to No. 3 in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 21 nationally, according to 247 Sports. The Bruins also have commitments from Amari Bailey, a five-star guard from Chatsworth Sierra Canyon High, and Dylan Andrews, a four-star point guard who plays for Chandler (Ariz.) Compass Prep after having previously starred at Windward High in Los Angeles.

UCLA also continues to pursue Mark Mitchell, a five-star small forward from Wichita Sunrise Christian.

Bona visited UCLA late last month, the coaching staff showing him around campus while ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast from Wilson Plaza before the Bruins’ football team played Oregon. Cronin’s straightforward approach helped sell him on the team, Bona said.

“They have a winning mentality down there and it’s going to help me a lot in developing my game,” he told Charania. “I wish, I hope I’m going to start on the team — there was no promises like, ‘You’re going to start’ — but I hope with my work ethic and my abilities, I believe I’m going to be starting.”

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