University of Kansas

Elite California prep power forward Cody Riley chooses UCLA over KU, others

Cody Riley, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound senior forward from Sierra Canyon High in Chatsworth, Calif., on Friday afternoon orally committed to play basketball at UCLA.

He picked the Bruins over Kansas, USC, Oklahoma and UConn.

Riley, the No. 34-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2017 according to Rivals.com, attended the Oct. 1 Late Night in the Phog as part of an official campus visit to KU.

“Through time, I built a great relationship with coach (Bill) Self and coach (Kurtis) Townsend at Kansas. It wasn’t easy for me to tell them no,” Riley said shortly after displaying a UCLA Bruins banner while seated outside his high school.

He thanked coaches of his finalists for recruiting him, indicating he felt it was “best to spend my time at Westwood (Calif.) and continue my education there.”

Riley was born and raised in Kansas City. He moved to California when he was 12.

ESPN.com recently listed Riley’s strengths and weaknesses on his player profile page.

His strengths: “Riley is a physical specimen with long arms, big hands, and a solid amount of explosiveness. Despite his size and strength advantage, his go-to move is his feathery jump shot out to 17 feet. The release on his shot is smooth and his mechanics are solid all-around. He has a solid one-step move to the basket and he possesses the strength to finish through contact. Riley can be an effective scorer with his back to the basket. He has the footwork, strength, and knack to score to be dominant.”

His weaknesses according to ESPN.com: “At this stage, Riley sees himself as a wing at the next level. As a result he has a tendency to be turnover prone while forcing the action with the dribble. He doesn’t have great quickness and as a result he has to rely on his strength and bulk to bully his opponents to the basket. However, as defenses adjust and force him to put the ball on the floor he needs to see the floor better instead of forcing the action. Going forward the game needs to slow down for Riley. He needs to make sounder decisions with the ball in his hands and take advantage of his size and strength to crush opponents inside and when the opportunity presents itself he could show off his more than a solid jump shot.”

As far as a total assessment, ESPN.com stated: “Riley is one of the more intriguing prospects out west. He is already a physical specimen and it will be interesting to see how he develops (body-wise) going forward. Needless to say, he is a true power forward with ball skills, strength, and a soft shooting touch.”

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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