UCLA will wear new Adidas unis during March Madness, Credit: AP Photo/Adidas via public Twitter
UCLA is not usually a program to mess with its storied traditions, especially on the basketball court where the Bruins’ own an all-time best 11 NCAA titles.
But with companies like Nike and Under Armour leading the charge in the flashy uniform department, UCLA’s apparel provider, Adidas, is trying to get in on the action too.
In case the Bruins’ all-blue alternates worn versus USC back in January weren’t enough, Adidas has revealed another uniform design that will be sported by six teams this postseason.
As reported by Business Insider, UCLA will join fellow blue blood Kansas, as well as Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Baylor and Louisville, in wearing Adidas’ new camouflage costumes. The Bruins, Bears and Cardinals will purportedly rock both the short-sleeved jerseys and the camo shorts, while the Jayhawks, Bearcats and Irish will wear just the bright-colored bottoms.
At first glance, the design of the unis is somewhat shocking. The extremely loud, patterned pants and sleeves seem to clash with the traditional shirt portion, making the complete ensemble rather hard on the eyes. But maybe disctracting the opposing team is a secret advantage of the new-look lineup. After all, Baylor made a run all the way to the Elite Eight wearing highlighter-yellow camo pants in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
However, for UCLA, Baylor and Louisville the concern extends beyond color schemes, as those three squads will also have to cope with sleeves come March Madness. Maybe it’s just me worrying too much, but isn’t it possible that sleeved jerseys could impact the game directly? Taking a jump shot or skying for a rebound could be difficult with extra fabric interfering, though I’m willing to bet Adidas thoroughly tested the range of motion issue.
Golden State Warriors SF Draymond Green (23) shows off the short sleeves, Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
In fact, the sleeves got a real-life field test earlier this month when the Golden State Warriors debuted the design against the San Antonio Spurs at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors won that contest, surviving the Spurs in overtime by a final score of 107-101. As a team, Golden State shot 41.5 percent from the floor in the short sleeves, but a 23.8 percent clip from three-point range (5-of-21) is troubling.
But when you look shot-for-shot, the Warriors really needed help to get over the hump. PG Stephen Curry shot far below his season average of 44.7 percent, coming in at 35.3 percent on 6-of-17 shooting. Similarly, SF Harrison Barnes fell well short of his average shooting percentage, posting a horrid 12.5 percent outing (1-of-8) compared to his normal 43.8 percent.
I’m not trying to be a fear-monger here, but sometimes change is unsettling for a sports team, especially a young group like the Bruins. Indiana head coach Tom Crean seems to think so, and that’s probably why the Hoosiers opted out of the new uniforms despite being an exclusively Adidas squad. And if IU can do it, there’s no doubt in my mind that UCLA could elect to sit out this apparel experiment as well.
Blame it on tradition, gameplay concerns or even just an alumni outcry, but this short-sleeved, camouflage combination has got to go.
In my humble opinion, the Bruins are better off wearing their standard blue and gold for March Madness, but I’m just one person. To really get an idea of how the public perceives these potential new unis, let’s go to the polls!
If the majority of Go Joe Bruin voters are not on-board with Adidas’ design, it may be worth considering a picket line outside the Morgan Center. Athletic director Dan Guerrero and head coach Ben Howland are under enough pressure as it is, so there’s no way they could ignore the unified voice of the UCLA alumni, right?
Well, it was worth a try.