The UCLA basketball team landed a big commitment from 4-star power forward Shareef O’Neal, and with that, Go Joe Bruin takes a look at the possible depth chart for the 2018-19 season.
The UCLA basketball team currently has the no. 3 recruiting class in the nation after the commitment of Shareef O’Neal. The Bruins were already bringing in a solid class consisting of five very talented players, but now they are just unbelievably stacked.
Coming to UCLA in the fall are 4-star PG Tyger Campbell, SG Jules Bernard, SG David Singleton III, 3-star C Kenny Nwuba and 5-star C Moses Brown. This makes a very impressive class, quite possibly the best Alford has had in Westwood, but it get better for the team as a whole.
Add that to the players the Bruins already have on the roster and it is going to be a very deep and taletned team. But before we get into the potential depth chart, let us take a look at who is returning.
As of now, it seems that Aaron Holiday is the only player that would jump to the NBA Draft early (Thomas Welsh, Gyorgy Goloman and Ikenna Okwarabizie are graduating). Though there has been chatter about the possibility of Kris Wilkes leaving early, for the sake of this article, I have him staying.
With that in mind, UCLA would be at the 13 scholarship limit with the return of Wilkes, Jaylen Hands, Prince Ali, Chris Smith and Alex Olesinski. The Bruins will also (finally) be able to utilize the talents of Cody RIley and Jalen Hill who were suspended for this season. So with that in mind, here is our projected depth chart…
Potential 2018-19 UCLA Basketball Depth Chart
There will be a lot of youth on this team, but also a lot of talent. Though there is not much experience or veterans (Ali and Olesinski would be the “old guys” on this team), there is potential with this squad.
If Hands and Wilkes return, they would lock up starting spots. The other three starters are up in the air as we expect some good position battles, but for now, we can see three freshmen in those spots. Campbell is a methodical point guard that should be a nice backup to Hands off the bench, which UCLA needs.
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Ali has the experience, but did not exactly develop and have a break out 2017-18 season. Because of this, Bernard is a likely candidate to start at the 2, but we also think Singleton could battle for that starting spot, if not back up Wilkes as a wing player. Smith will continue to be a hybrid guard/forward, but if he does not have a huge jump in his development, it seems he might see less time next season.
Down low, Riley could get the starting power forward spot (or possibly play some time at center) mostly because he already has a year with the Bruins and knows what head coach Steve Alford requires, but I would not rule out O’Neal batting for the start. Though Olesinksi played the most minutes per game of his career this season, it was mostly because of need, and could see a lot less time on the court in 2018-19.
At center, Hill could get the start (same reason as Riley), but Moses has the talent to be the top center at most schools, which is what we could see next fall. Either way, the front court is deep, especially with Nwuba as another reserve.
In reality, all of this talent will give Alford many lineups to work with, so even if there is starting lineup to begin 2018-19, it should change throughout the season, especially if the Bruins are trying to capitalize on match ups with different teams. Go Bruins!