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UCLA Basketball: Ben Howland Announces Projected Starting Line-up, And It’s A Bit Weird

UCLA basketball tips off on Friday against Indiana State, and if you didn’t know, the Bruins are laden with talent at every position.

That’s pretty obvious at this point, since we keep slamming our head on the table every time someone asks, “Is UCLA basketball any good this year?” to which we just roll our eyes, sigh heavily, and say “yes.”

So you should understand the shock we received when Chris Nguyen of the Daily Bruin tweeted out Ben Howland’s projected starting line-up. Here it is:

Of course, this seems like a bit of an odd line-up. Last season, Josh Smith was starting most of the games (hey, we never said he finished them) and the Wear Twins took turns playing the 3 and 4 (which was disastrous since neither twin was very good at the 3 at all in 2011-12). If Josh Smith was going to get benched because of conditioning, you’d think five-star freshman Tony Parker would get the nod at the 5, unless he wasn’t exactly polished enough offensively to do so.

This might not be a bad line-up, though. With Howland planning to implement an uptempo offense, it’s not unreasonable to see the agile Wear Twins playing the bigs to start; both were very consistent last year, even though they were out of position half the time, and Travis Wear looks like he’s muscled up. This is added on to the fact that Travis looked serviceable last season against Arizona at the pivot, too, so perhaps Howland sees something we do not.

The other head-scratcher isn’t so baffling, all things considered, and that’s Norman Powell starting. Powell is an athlete and can definitely play the 2-guard, but no one figured he’d be starting. With the injury to combo guard Tyler Lamb, though, Powell will likely just start in his place until Lamb recovers fully.

This line-up was clearly built with running in mind, because big men Parker and Smith tend to be plodders over anything else. The Wear Twins can play the fastbreak offense that Kyle Anderson will dictate and are totally versatile.

We’ll see what happens, and whatever line-up Howland threw out there, it would likely be good enough to beat Indiana State. This doesn’t apply to the Legends Classic, however, when UCLA will play Georgetown on November 13 and, possibly, Indiana (the consensus No. 1 team in the country) soon after.

Like we’ve said over and over, this is going to be a wild ride. Buckle up, UCLA fans

Tags: Basketball UCLA Bruins

  • Hamilton

    Nothing weird about the lineup. If I remember correctly, Smith may have began the year starting games at the 5 with the Wear twin at the 3 and 4, but later in the year, Smith would come off the bench because Howland didn’t want him to get into early foul trouble. I agree that one would think it would make sense to start either Smith or Parker since they both play the 5 and the Wear twins are ideally both 4′s, but look for Howland to sub out one of the Wear twins early with Smith coming in.

    Also nothing weird about Powell starting because as you mentioned, Lamb is coming off an injury and of course Shabazz hasn’t been cleared.

    • Carlos S.

      Fair enough. Eager as hell to see how this rotation runs, though

  • Barry Levy

    Am ready for Friday when the New Pauley is opened for its first game, and the 2012-13 team takes the floor for the first time in the new facility.

    Had the tour last Sunday and the stadium now looks modern, and beautiful, the only negative that I heard was that the visiting locker room is not worthy and that visitors when welcomed into your home should be treated as guests, not subject to abuse, which is what I was told the visiting locker room is.

    That is a little sad.