The Big Men of UCLA Basketball


As the UCLA basketball fans look ahead to the upcoming season, excitement grows. Yeah, the team lost one of its better big men to the NBA last week, but there are still some great guys returning next year and with the new players added to the roster, the Bruins should be fine in the 2015-16 season. So now Go Joe Bruin is here to give you some insight on the big men of UCLA Basketball.

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Mar 27, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Tony Parker (23) shoots over Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Domantas Sabonis (11) during the first half in the semifinals of the south regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Parker as we know is going to be a senior this upcoming year at UCLA. He has played in almost all the games since he has been on the team and has averaged 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in three seasons.

What’s particularly great about Parker however,  is that he is getting better every year. This past year he started in 33 games and averaged 11.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 24.6 minutes per game. He ranked 12th in the Pac-12 with 6.7 rebounds per game and scored in double figures in a career-high 20 games, totaling at least 20 points in six contests.

Sure, Bruin fans all chuckled in Pauley Pavilion when he pretended to take a shot from the perimeter, but there is no doubt that Parker does work down low, in the paint. If he can keep up his improvement streak, Bruin fans can expect to see a lot from him this coming season.

The next player on our list is Jonah Bolden. While Bolden did not get to play this past year due to ineligibility, Bruin fans can expect to see a lot from him this upcoming year. As a 6’10”, 215 lbs. power forward, we may have our next starter to replace Kevon Looney.

Next up on the list is 7’0″ sophomore Thomas Welsh. This past year Welsh played in all 36 games, making three starts when Tony Parker could not play due to an injury. He averaged 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and a team-leading 1.1 blocks in 15.7 minutes per game as a freshman.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

It’s clear to see that Welsh has some work to do with the Bruins, but he is on an upward streak. In fact, he is currently competing as one of the two centers on the 2015 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team. The team is currently competing at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship in Greece and looking to defend the USA’s 2013 U19 gold title. Way to go Thomas Welsh!

Of our returning guys, finally we have Gyorgy Goloman. Coming straight from Hungary, Bruin fans were excited to see what Goloman could do. This past season he played in 35 games, averaging 1.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.8 minutes per game. Although Goloman was somewhat in the shadow of Looney this season, Bruin fans alike are curious to see how he will do this upcoming season.

Alongside our returning big men for the 2015-16 season, we also have some new guys who will be adding depth to the frontcourt. Ikenna Okwarabizie, a 6’11”, 250 lbs. freshman center will definitely be exciting to watch. He has been noted by his high school coach for his athleticism and great form. If his coach is right and everything goes smoothly when it comes to eligibility, hopefully we can see some good things from Okwarabizie next season.

Last, but certainly not least on our list is freshman power forward, Alex Olesinski. On his ESPN basketball recruiting profile he was described by a scout as “a very long and mobile front line prospect that runs the floor well and can finish with his length as opposed to strength. He is skilled and is much more comfortable facing the basket.”

I am excited to see what he and the others bring to the table next season.