How Can UCLA Basketball be Successful this Year?


It’s the most wonderful time of the year…basketball season. This year, UCLA basketball is coming back without some key player and with some new potential secret weapons. As we look ahead to the season opener on Friday in Pauley Pavilion, Go Joe Bruin is here to give you some insight on what it will take for this years Bruins to be successful.

Confidence in skill is something all Bruins should have, however, it is important to not get too confident and allow that to affect gameplay. With the season starting off with some relatively easy competition, it will be easy for the players to fall into an overly confident position before taking on some of the most acclaimed teams.

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In order to succeed this year, the Bruins will have to stay focused and dedicated to working on improving every chance they get. A lot of the players are returning and know that things only get more challenging as the season progresses. Our new players however, need to remember to not be blinded by the new spotlight that comes with playing for UCLA.

Aaron Holiday has been the most exciting guy to join the team this season. During the exhibition game against Cal State LA, it was clear he was very ecstatic to come out to Pauley and start his college career. It was however hilarious/eye-browi raising to see him get a little too confident and miss an easy, open shot because he wanted to show off his dunk skills.

Clearly his skills need some fine tuning, but his excitement was particularly contagious. With some more practice and familiarization with the team, Holiday has the potential to help lead the Bruins to success this year.

Mar 21, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Tony Parker (23) shoots the ball against the UAB Blazers during the first half in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

One of the worst things that can happen during the game is having a key player foul out. Unfortunately, Tony Parker, one of the top big guys on the team, seems to find himself in this predicament quite often.

When Parker is on the court, he does well. He blocks well, makes himself available, however his foul vulnerability makes him unreliable as a player who contributes from start to finish. If Parker can work on staying out of foul trouble and stay in the game as long as possible, the Bruins can utilize his skills longer and more effectively.

One part of the team that always stumps me as a fan is that each player has some pretty amazing performances, however, they’re inconsistent. Last year the spotlight rotated between Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton. With the addition of some extra help in the back court with Holiday and freshman Prince Ali, both Hamilton and Alford should be able to focus on their guard positions with a little more peace of mind.

Hamilton came back strong against CSULA two weeks ago. If he is able to maintain that drive into the season, it will be exciting to see him perform like he did against USC in the Pac-12 tournament last season as he went off for 36 points.

Next: The Go Joe Bruin 2015-16 UCLA Basketball Season Preview

As for Alford, coming back onto the court with two years under his belt should help him set a solid foundation this season. Last season we saw some great work and it will be interesting to see how much he has grown over the year. Hopefully he will be able to take some of his peak performance skill and incorporate it into the game this year.

Ultimately, the UCLA Basketball team needs to find a way to be successful early in the season. They should use the first three games to experiment, but not totally go away from the game plan. The Bruins have a lot of talent and can do some damage this season, but that depends on how prepared they are and that will fall on Head Coach Steve Alford.