UCLA basketball continues to go global with commitment of Slovenian guard Jan Vide

UCLA coach Mick Cronin instructs his players during a loss to North Carolina on Dec. 21.
UCLA coach Mick Cronin instructs his players during a loss to North Carolina on Dec. 21, 2019. Cronin and his staff received a verbal commitment from Slovenian guard Jan Vide this week. (John Locher / Associated Press)

UCLA’s basketball roster is starting to develop a distinctly European flavor.

A verbal commitment from Jan Vide, a Slovenian guard known for his natural scoring instincts, is the latest sign of the Bruins’ overseas shift in their recruiting efforts. Should he sign with the Bruins, Vide would become the fourth player on the team next season with ties to Europe, joining guards Ilane Fibleuil (France) and Lazar Stefanovic (Serbia) in addition to center Adem Bona (Turkey), should Bona opt for another college season over the NBA draft.

Another player with European ties, guard Abramo Canka of Italy, recently entered the transfer portal and is expected to play for Wake Forest next season.

More Europeans could be headed to Westwood. UCLA is recruiting three additional players from the continent for the incoming freshman class, including heralded 7-foot-3 center Aday Mara of Spain. Vide’s commitment was confirmed by a person close to the situation on condition of anonymity because the player has not made his plans public.

A 6-6 combo guard, Vide was selected most valuable player of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament Euroleague finals while playing for Real Madrid’s under-18 team. During the regular season, he showed an ability to affect games in a variety of ways with averages of 20.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals.

Vide could fill the shooting guard spot vacated by Amari Bailey while playing additional minutes as point guard Dylan Andrews’ backup. He’s the fifth member of what is shaping up as a massive freshman class, joining Fibleuil, guard Sebastian Mack and forwards Devin Williams and Brandon Williams (no relation). Stefanovic will also make his UCLA debut next season after transferring from Utah.

Vide’s commitment counts as another win for assistant coach Ivo Simovic, who has significantly bolstered the Bruins’ international recruiting efforts in his one year at the school. With at least eight newcomers needed for next season, UCLA has conducted a global talent search to fill its roster.

The Bruins are waiting to learn whether Bona and Jaylen Clark will return next season or make themselves available for the NBA draft. Regardless of his decision, Clark is recovering from an Achilles injury that will sideline him for at least several months next season.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.