The thought is four-star guard Natrell Curtis favors UCLA. The thought is his love for California is strong. The thought is the fact that Kenny Lacy, one of his closest friends, has already signed with the Bruins will help seal the deal. The thought is it's just a matter of time.
Curtis doesn't much care about "the thought", though. He's playing this thing cool. When the question is posed to him directly, he shoots it down with a the accuracy of a sniper.
Is UCLA, as everyone thinks, his clear leader?
"No," he says. "Not at all. It's all open right now."
There are certain things he cops too, though. Curtis was born in California and doesn't deny his love for the state He's lived in Texas and currently resides in Arizona, where he plays for Phoenix's Mountain Pointe High School. He considers California is his home, though. He comes out and says he likes the Golden State best.
"I'm just always in Cali and I grew up here, so I know it and love it," Curtis said. "It's great out here."
Curtis uses the word "here" because he's speaking on the phone from a car. He's on his way home from a short trip to check out the campuses of USC and UCLA. As far as he's concerned, he's "at home."
Seated next to him is Lacy. A faint "Bruin up" can be heard in the background and there's no doubt about its source.
"Kenny is on me right now," Curtis says through a bit of laughter. "He's always on me about it."
Curtis, who was recently named the defensive line MVP of the Phoenix Rivals Camp Presented by Under-Armour, netted an offer from UCLA on his trip. He is yet to land one from USC. On that front, he remains hopeful.
"USC is still recruiting me hard, but there's no offer yet," Curtis said. "They said they are going to continue to recruit me."
See, when it comes to his recruitment, Curtis strains to stay neutral. On Wednesday, he described the campuses of USC and UCLA as "pretty much the same." This is his default. He goes out of his way to hid any opinion he may have.
"I like both schools," Curtis said. "I really liked both a lot. It was a good trip. The offer from UCLA was really exciting."
Curtis says he will take his time plotting his next move. He has no further visits planned at this time and will wait until after his spring break to revisit the matter.