CBS Sports has released their way-too-early Top 25 which has the UCLA basketball team ranked, but mostly due to their in-coming recruiting class.
That start of a new season is a chance to start fresh for every team, though recruiting, coaching and development play a huge role for a program transitioning from one season to another and the UCLA basketball team is no exception.
Though the Bruins have several issues to solve this off-season, there is a lot to be grateful for when UCLA takes the court next fall. The biggest reason is their stellar #3 ranked recruiting class, which is completely loaded.
Because of this, UCLA is being looked at to do some damage next season. The Bruins are already one of the top 16 teams receiving favorable odds to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament, which might be a bit much, but they are also one of CBS Sports’ Top 25 teams in their way-to-early rankings for the 2018-19 season, proof that there is still a lot to be thankful for in Westwood.
UCLA comes in at #19 in the CBS’ Top 25, citing their recruiting class as the major reason why the Bruins made the list.
"Steve Alford has secured consecutive top-five recruiting classes, which gives him the talent necessary to make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six years at UCLA."
Though this is a positive, recruiting does not always translate to success on the court. UCLA barely made it into the tourney this past season (but that also depends if you consider a “play-in” game part of the NCAA Tournament or not).
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The main reason for their lack of production this last season was the suspension of Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball (Ball has since left the program) for their shoplifting antics in China last November.
Though their presence would have helped UCLA secure a better record and spot in the Big Dance, they one again fell short of expectations.
Still, what the Bruins will bring in next season could be even better than the class that produced Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf that took the Bruins to the Sweet 16.
UCLA will be welcoming 5-star C Moses Brown, 4-star PG Tyger Campbell, SG David Singleton III, SG Jules Bernard, PF Shareef O’Neal and 3-star C Kenny Nwuba.
But the Bruins also have some experience returning with Hill, Riley, Prince Ali, Chris Smith, Alex Olesinski and (if they choose to stay at UCLA – both have declared for the draft without hiring an agent), Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes.
The Bruins have a few things to figure out before they can compete for major hardware next season, but they also have a talented enough squad to deserve this ranking. As for other Pac-12 teams listed, only Oregon was ranked at #18. CBS’ top 5 are as follows: #1 Kansas , #2 Duke, #3 Villanova, #4 Auburn and #5 Tennessee.