after some down seasons recently including 19-14 last year and an embarrassing SI article that detailed the actions of some out of control players and gave the impression coach ben howland had lost control of the team, it should be a great bounce back year for the team next season.
My projected lineup and comments:
pg-kyle anderson. Still have to see if he has the speed to play the pg position, but at 6-8, he is an excellent ball handler and passer who loves to draw defenses and then make the extra pass. A smooth operator who was ranked as the number 5 player of his class.
sg-tyler lamb-last year he averaged 31minutes and got 9ppg...4rpg...3apg and 2stls. Hes an excellent athlete who can create his own shot in the mid range but is an inconsistent shooter and was pretty weak when he tried to get all the way to the basket often driving into trouble.
sf-shabazz muhammad-the number 2 ranked highschool player in america is a aggressive offensive scorer who attacks th ebasket and has a nice shot and can pull up off the dribble and hit floaters and runners in the lane if he cant all the way to the rim. Is a strong candidate to win pac 12 POY honors and be a one and done candidate.
pf-david wear/c-travis wear...these two formed a very solid combo up front once the reeves nelson dust settled and it became clear josh smith wasnt ready to make the next step and get big minutes. Both averaged right at 11ppg and 6rpg and showed their offensive touch facing the basket where they were both around 50% from the field and 80% from the foul line. They actually might be the two best three shooters on the team as well. David was 43% from three while travis was 47% from three. They arent overly physical and have average post skills, but play high iq ball and finish well.
josh smith. Im gonna assume Smith comes in over weight once again and will be limited to around 18 minutes per and thus show minimal improvement. However even without getting better, the guy can be a dominant force at the offensive end for stretches where he will get good position and has great touch around the rim. Hes a very willing passer but gets in trouble reading double teams late.
norman powell. averaged 18 minutes and 5 points last season where he was primarily a spot up shooter who was inconsistent but has a really nice stroke and should become a solid wing scoring threat as a sophomore.
larry drew. The former UNC transfer will be one of the first players off the bench running the pg spot. Possibly even start if freshman kyle anderson struggles with pg duties.
jordan adams. INcoming top 50 ranked 6-5 sg from oak hill academy who is supposedly a knockdown shooter.
tony parker. the final piece of the top ranked incoming recruting class, the 6-8 parker is a big body who has a lot of skills. Will have to fight for minutes but will be ready if the other guys arent ready.
Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson would have been amazing if they went to duke( yeah kinda random) but with those shooters that team would have been crazy
There gonna be amazing at UCLA.
I really hope this opportunity for greatness has motivated Big Josh. If he puts in work and comes in ready, UCLA will honestly be unstoppable.
Nice but i think smith will definetly start unless he's still really out of shape and not improving
key upcoming games for the bruins this season:
legends classic where they will play 2 of indiana, georgia and georgetown
san diego state, texas, missouri
and in conference, both arizona and stanford are top 25 caliber while washington, cal and colorado are all very solid and capable of making a tournament run.
Not a fan of UCLA, but they are loaded next year. They will also have the best player in the country in Shabazz.
If Josh Smith hasn't lost weight or isn't in better shape this year thats a damn shame....
Either he doesn't want to be a millionaire, because he EASILY can be one if he just works hard, the talent is already there all he has to do is LOSE weight!
But if Millions of dollars can't motivate you then IDK what can, all he has to do is look at how Renardo Sidney is slowly turning into a Vagabond, he should take notes.