Is UCLA Basketball Better Than Last Year?


As the upcoming season approaches, UCLA Basketball fans alike hope that this year will be better than last year.

For the past two years, the UCLA Basketball team has made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Of course, that’s a great achievement on its own, but will this year finally be the year we see the Bruins breaking that streak and moving to the Elite Eight? We can only hope.

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Let’s break down what has changed since last year…

First thing we have to look at is who made a clear and present impact on the team, but is no longer on the team. The first player that immediately comes to my mind is Norman Powell.

As a senior this past year, Powell had an enormous impact on the team. He not only lead the team on the court as a star dunker and a committed player, but also as a leader. As the most prominent senior on the team, Powell had a presence. The younger guys could always count on him to be there to drive the ball up the court and take off with a strong finish.

Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Kevon Looney (UCLA) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number thirty overall pick to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Another star player who left to play for the Golden State Warriors was Kevon Looney.

Although Looney was new to the team last year, he showed promise and caught attention from college basketball fans all over the country. Like I’ve said many times before, it would of been absolutely amazing if Looney had stayed at UCLA to develop his skills further, but no one can blame him for leaving to pursue his real dreams. When opportunity is knocking, you better answer quick.

While we may have lost some great guys, we have also gained some new ones.

I personally am very excited to see what the promising young Aaron Holiday and Prince Ali have in store for us this year. Coming in as freshman guards who have already caught people’s attention, it’s always interesting to see how the freshman develop as the season progresses.

It will also be exciting to see if Alex Olesinski and Ikenna Okwarabizie will develop like Thomas Welsh has. Welsh had a rough start, but he gained more confidence as one of the bigger men on the court over time and I’m curious to see if the new big guys will be similar.

This year, Jonah Bolden will also be making his debut on the court. Having been unable to play last season, Bolden never really had the opportunity to show UCLA fans what he was capable of up until now. With him alongside our seasoned players, there is hope that our older guys will be able to help the young ones transition better and form a strong team.

While it’s impossible to guess spot on if this year will be better than the last, UCLA Basketball never disappoints. Last season no one thought the team make it as far as they did, but they surprised everyone and proved that they earned their spot in the Sweet Sixteen. As we’ve seen on the team’s social media accounts, the guys have been working hard all summer to make sure they are ready to play to the best of their abilities.

We can only hope that with all their hard work, this upcoming season will be even better than the last.

Next: UCLA Football Ranked 13th In The 2015 AP Preseason Poll

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