So things do not look so bleak for the UCLA basketball team as they did just days after losing to the Florida Gators in the Sweet Sixteen. The Bruins lose David Wear and Travis Wear to graduation and possibly up to four guys to the NBA Draft. Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine have declared while Jordan Adams and Norman Powell were “testing the waters”. Enter the meltdown.
Thankfully, Adams is returning to UCLA and it is believed that Norman Powell will do the same. All of a sudden, things are not so end-of-the-world-ish in Westwood.
There was more good news last week as UCLA received its fourth signed Letter Of Intent on National Signing Day when forward Jonah Bolden solidified his pledge to the Bruins. He adds to the in-coming 2015 class which includes 5-star Kevon Looney, 7’0″ Thomas Welsh and center Gyorgy Goloman.
As of now, things are pretty good.
There was that little issue about UCLA not having a proper point guard, but as Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times reported, UCLA’s Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton Likely To Share Point Guard Job.
Fair enough. For now, let us say both Alford and Hamilton improve their PG skills enough over the summer to an acceptable level of play. That is another advantage UCLA has going into next season.
Let’s look at the possible depth chart:
(* denotes potential starter)
PG: Isaac Hamilton*, Bryce Alford
SG: Norman Powell*, Noah Allen
SF: Jordan Adams*, Jonah Bolden
PF: Kevon Looney*, Wanaah Bail
C: Tony Parker*, Thomas Welsh, Gyorgy Goloman
On second thought, this team may be as good, if not better than this past season’s team.
Sure that sounds crazy, especially since they will now longer have 6’9″ “point forward” Kyle Anderson, but on the plus side, rebounding should be heavily increased for next year. Not to mention, aside from the “point guards” Coach Alford has already put in place, the Bruins will have some good ball handlers in new guys Hamilton and Looney. Good, but not great.
Tony Parker should have an improved season as he showed he could occasionally dominate in the paint. If he becomes more and more consistent, he will do a lot of damage for UCLA. Allen and Bail are still question marks as they played very little last season. But the key figure here is Jordan Adams.
Having the Bruins leading scorer return for his junior season, is great for the offense, but also keeps that leadership in place, which is worth a lot, especially late in the season. With Adams returning, it will help the Bruins to stay successful, which will be expected of them next year, as it is every year. Do not be surprised if this team blows your mind next season.