European Signees Aday Mara and Berke Buyuktuncel Land at UCLA Today

VIDEO: Berke Buyuktuncel is an immediate starter at UCLA | College Basketball Recruiting Weekly

UCLA is set for the arrivals of five-star center Aday Mara and four-star wing/forward Berke Buyuktuncel later today, September 5th.

Mara, the giant Spanish phenom, was recently rated a five-star by 247Sports and the No. 15 overall player in the 2023 class, while Buyuktuncel, the Turkish star, was rated a four-star and the No. 36 overall player in the class of 2023.

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In a bit of a neat quirk, the two freshmen are set to actually begin official visits when they arrive. Because of international recruiting allowances, due to the great distance involved, the freshmen and their families are able to stay tonight to get acclimated to the time shift before beginning their full official visits tomorrow, which will last through Friday. We’ve learned that Slovenian guard Jan Vide and his family did something similar earlier this summer when he arrived.

Once their official visits wrap up, they’ll remain at UCLA and begin practice with the team once the team starts practicing again this month. We’ve heard that the team has the week off this week.

As Buyuktuncel told us this week, this will actually be his first time in the United States, with his only glimpse of UCLA coming from calls with the coaching staff and TikTok videos.

The two international stars join a star-studded, young, and eclectic collection of players on UCLA’s roster, with seven players on the roster who were not born in the United States, and seven total true freshmen. Mara is the lone five-star in the class, but there are seven four-stars, with Buyuktuncel, Vide, French wing Ilane Fibleuil, guard Sebastian Mack, wing Brandon Williams, forward Devin Williams, and transfer guard/wing Lazar Stefanovic. While it may take some time to gel, this is arguably Mick Cronin’s most talented roster at UCLA, with every player besides Kenneth Nwuba having been a four or five-star.

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