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During the recruitment process it's not uncommon to hear that "family ties' are a factor in a top prospect's choice of schools.

But those ties rarely run as deeply as Heritage High School (California) star Amanda Muse's connections to the UCLA Bruins women's basketball program. 

The 6-foot-4 post, who is rated the nation's No. 38 overall prospect and No. 5 post, committed to UCLA over fellow finalists Duke, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington this week.

And family ties played a big role.

Muse's mother, Amy Muse (Amy Hughlett in her playing days), and UCLA coach Cori Close played together, then Close became her mom's coach at Santa Barbara in college along with UCLA assistant coach Tony Newnan.

Muse's mother also played high school basketball with assistant coach Shannon LeBeauf. 

But beyond that, UCLA sold Muse on the family feel of the program and the campus. 

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"I love the relationships with the staff and between the staff and the girls," she said. "I love the campus and the weather." 

In truth, Muse's committed to UCLA came several days ago, but she waited until Wednesday to release her announcement:

"I committed via Zoom call with my whole family," she said. "So, that was really special. Coming off the visit I knew I wanted to commit, but I wanted to give it a couple of days to simmer before I made it official." 

Muse joins La Jolla Country Day five-star guard Jada Williams, the nation's No. 20 overall prospect and No. 5 point guard, in UCLA's 2023 recruiting class.

That group comes on the heels of the Bruins signing sensational point guard Kiki Rice, the nation's No. 2 overall prospect, and Adolfo Camarillo five-star forward Gabriela Jaquez last cycle. 

For Muse, the opportunity to play for a program in which she is surrounded by talent was the final piece of the puzzle. 

"That was definitely a huge draw," she said. "I'm super close to Gabriela Jaquez. We played together last year. So just knowing how excited they are - because I've talked to both Gabs and Kiki personally - and knowing how talented they are was super appealing. I see the draw in going to compete for a championship there." 

UCLA is one of just the six  programs in the country to secure verbal commitments from two of the nation's top-40 prospects in the 2023 class so far, joining UConn (Nos. 6, 7), North Carolina (Nos. 5, 14), Stanford (Nos. 12, 40), Maryland (Nos. 25, 29) and Oregon (Nos. 31, 34).  

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