When the initial 2016 lists surfaced TJ Leaf was no where to be found, but the 6’8 California prospect couldn’t stay under the radar forever. USA Basketball invited the budding big man out for their U16 men’s developmental team training this Spring after a monster freshman year at Foothills Christian. Despite the big time opportunity in Colorado, Leaf still wasn’t getting the type of hype and buzz that many 2016’s have been receiving for the better part of two years now.
At the 2013 Adidas Invitational this past weekend, the Compton Magic forward impressed many of the division one coaches sitting court side with this versatile game. TJ looked comfortable stepping out and knocking down three pointers with this feet set and shot several nice jumpers off the dribble. Although he showed the ability to step out, Leaf didn’t shy away from contact in the paint. The combo forward hit the boards on both ends and finished through contact at the rim. Leaf was also very impressive running the court and made several nice moves in transition.
A day after Leaf’s performance at Adidas Invitational it was reported that UCLA had offered the rising sophomore. While it may have caught some people off guard when you take a closer look at Leaf’s freshman season things start to come into focus. The freshman was the Sunset League Player of the Year freshman. He averaged over 22 points, almost 12 rebounds and nearly 4 blocks a game for Foot Hills Christian. UCLA is the first major program to offer TJ Leaf, but it’s safe to say that they won’t be the last.