The UCLA basketball had a successful 2013-2014 season under first-year head coach Steve Alford, with Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams, and others leading the Bruins to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008 before falling to the Florida Gators.
Despite the three of Anderson, Adams, and LaVine heading to the NBA, the future does look very bright in the Bruin backcourt which begs an intriguing question: Would a trio of starting combo guards succeed for UCLA?
Former 2013 five-star guard Isaac Hamilton joins UCLA after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, and he could wind up being an explosive addition to the team. Adding in Bryce Alford and Norman Powell to the starting five would be the logical choice under a three guard lineup.
Alford surpassed expectations last season while coming off the bench, showing that he can be a valuable component to the going forward. And with Anderson off to the San Antonio Spurs, Alford’s role definitely looks to be getting an increase.
Hamilton is the prototypical combo guard as he has an excellent shooting touch and can also run an offense and distribute when needed.
According to Maxpreps, Hamilton averaged 22.1 points, 4.5 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game in his senior season at powerhouse St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA). He was also dependable on the defensive end, averaging 2.1 steals per contest. Hamilton seems more suited to play at the two guard next to Alford thanks to his 6’5″ frame, and he could definitely be a difference maker in year one.
Powell improved mightily last year under Alford’s more free-flowing run and gun system, and it definitely showed. He became more consistent on offense while also getting more aggressive with the ball, established a dependable mid-range shot and become more of a slasher, routinely drawing fouls and converting highlight reel dunks.
The San Diego native continued to be a lockdown defender as well, garnering All-Pac-12 Defensive Team Honorable Mention Honors.
As for Colorado State transfer Jon Octeus, he’ll probably be a solid backup behind Alford and be another one that would fit in Coach Alford’s system well. He probably will not start, but would still be a good contributor.
While this proposed group may not all be a part of UCLA’s starting lineup when next season tips off, the tandem may prove to be very beneficial if used, especially given Alford’s offensive philosophy.