Last night the NBA Draft took place and not a single UCLA Basketball player was taken. That will change next year.
In an era of basketball where any one player on a college team can declare for the NBA Draft, not a single UCLA Basketball player did and thusly, no Bruin taken. This ended the Bruin’s 3-year streak of having a UCLA player selected.
This was not the best season for the UCLA Basketball team. In fact, it was the worst of three for Head Coach Steve Alford. The Bruins, who started the season strong, ended weak.
UCLA went15-17 (6-12 in the Pac-12), finished in 10th place in conference and was embarrassingly booted from the Pac-12 Tournament in the first round by crosstown rival USC with a 95-71 loss (it was also the third time the Bruins lost to the Trojans).
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It was a sloppy year of basketball for the Bruins. On an individual level, the players did not show much improvement and were hardly a factor, especially in Pac-12 play.
While these two Bruins were clearly the best on the roster, they were no where near NBA-ready. That goes double for former center Tony Parker who has graduated, but because of his production on the court (or lack thereof), he was not even an afterthought for the NBA Draft. Yes, this is bad, but next year could be epic!
It is possible that (now stay with me and hold all laughter until the end of the article) UCLA could have six players selected in the 2017 NBA Draft.
It is possible that UCLA could have six players selected in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Let us start with two of the freshmen coming to Westwood next season. Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf come in as 5-star recruits and have the talents to play in the NBA right now, and because of that, many expect them to be one-and-dones.
With Steve Alford vowing to make a difference with the team’s performance, and if he can develop all of his players, Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton, Thomas Welsh and Jonah Bolden could all hear their names called in one year’s time by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Yes, this is a long shot, but looking at the individual skills of each of these players, they all have certain traits that could benefit several NBA teams.
Alford can be a killer outside shooter. Hamilton could be a deadly slashing guard. If Welsh bulks up, he could be dominant down low. Bolden could be a solid two-way player. So yes, I believe, if developed properly, these four Bruins as well as the two freshmen, can land spots in the NBA.
This may be a fantasy, but it is also a possibility. It is unfortunate that no Bruin was taken this year, but UCLA Basketball fans will be very surprised with the embarrassment of riches the Bruins will have next season… and so will NBA scouts. Go Bruins!