The UCLA Bruins basketball team enjoyed a successful 2013-2014 season by winning the Pac-12 tournament championship and advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. After the season Zach LaVine, Jordan Adams, and Kyle Anderson left school early and entered the NBA draft where they got drafted #13, #22, and #30, respectively. The Bruins also lost the Wear brothers, David and Travis, and reserve guard Aubrey Williams to graduation and reserve center Sooren Derboghosian, who transferred to the Drexel Dragons.
All in all, that is 55.2 points per game, of the 81.2 averaged, 23.7 rebounds per game, of the 37.2 averaged, and 12.9 assists per game, of the 17.2 averaged. That is a lot of production that needs to be replaced, so lets take a look at the roster for this upcoming season and who might be able to replace some of the lost production.
The Bruins have the 7th ranked incoming freshman class, according to 247 Sports, that includes three top 100 recruits, according to ESPN. The biggest name of the bunch is the 5* forward, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kevon Looney. Looney will make an instant impact for the Bruins in 2014 and is a potential one and done guy.
The Bruins also added 4* center, from Redondo Beach, California, Thomas Welsh. The seven footer is a natural center and will certainly help out on the boards. 4* guard/forward Jonah Bolden, from Sydney, Australia, will also be joining the Bruins this season and will look to help fill all aspects of the score sheet in 2014. Hungarian center Gyorgy Goloman will also be joining the Bruins this season, but I expect that he will be redshirted in 2014.
The Bruins also received huge news when they found out that Colorado State guard Jon Octeus decided to transfer to UCLA for the upcoming season. The guard averaged 13.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 2.3 apg for the Rams in 2013. Octeus finished his undergraduate schoolwork in the summer, so he will be eligible to play right away and will replace Jordan Adams in the lineup.
Another big addition to the Bruins in 2014 will be sophomore guard Isaac Hamilton. Hamilton was forced to sit out the 2014 season after breaking his national letter of intent to UTEP and enrolling at UCLA. Hamilton was Rival.com’s 14th best player in 2013 and was a McDonald’s All-American. Octeus and Hamilton will be joined in the backcourt by returning sophomore Bryce Alford.
Alford, who is head coach Steve Alford’s son, averaged 8.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, and 1.8 apg. Alford, Octeus, and Hamilton will all get playing time at the two guard positions and could all find themselves on the court at the same time. None of the three guards are true point guards, however, so it will be interesting to see who coach Alford has running the offense.
The two key returners are center Tony Parker and forward Norman Powell. Parker is the big body in the middle and vastly improved in his sophomore season last year. He averaged 6.9 ppg and 4.4 apg last season as the only true big man down low. The additions of Looney and Welsh will help take some of the pressure off Parker in 2014. Norman Powell is top returning scorer for the Bruins, averaging 11.4 ppg in 2013, and will look to provide leadership on and off the court for the relatively young Bruins.
Also returning for the Bruins will be five reserve players from the 2013 team. Forward Wanaah Bail, guard/forward Noah Allen, and guards Kory Alford, Nick Kazemi, and David Brown. All five players will look to provide some much needed depth and will be important pieces to the Bruins success in 2014.
UCLA has plenty of depth for the upcoming season, but the big question mark is whether there is that one or two players on the team that can take over a game and score 20 points when needed. If I had to guess I would say that Issac Hamilton will probably be the go to guy on offense, for the most part, but Jon Octeus, Kevon Looney, and Tony Parker should all be capable scorers as well.
102 days until the season opener at Pauley Pavilion, against Montana St., and there still plenty of questions that need to be answered by Steve Alford and his staff. Overall, though, the Bruins are in good shape to continue their winning ways in 2104.
UCLA Basketball 2014-15 Roster
|Alford, Bryce||G||20||So.||6'3"||180 lbs.|
|Alford, Korey||G||2||R-Jr.||6'4"||190 lbs.|
|Allen, Noah||G/F||22||So.||6'6"||215 lbs.|
|Bail, Wanaah||F||1||So.||6'9"||215 lbs.|
|Bolden, Jonah||F||---||Fr.||6'9"||205 lbs.|
|Brown, David||G||13||Sr.||6'3"||185 lbs.|
|Goloman, Gyorgy||C||---||Fr.||6'9"||200 lbs.|
|Hamilton, Isaac||G||10||R-Fr.||6'5'"||185 lbs.|
|Kazemi, Nick||G||0||R-Jr.||6'3"||205 lbs.|
|Looney, Kevon||F||---||Fr.||6'8"||210 lbs.|
|Parker, Tony||C||23||Jr.||6'9"||255 lbs.|
|Powell, Norman||G||4||Jr.||6'4"||215 lbs.|
|Welsh, Thomas||C||---||Fr.||7'0"||245 lbs.|