UCLA Basketball: What the Bruins would look like without one-and-dones

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 17: Lonzo Ball /

The UCLA basketball team has brought in a lot of talent in the last few years, several of which have left early for the NBA. If the “one and done” rule didn’t existed, like most elite college basketball teams, the Bruins would be stacked.

Last week the Commission on College Basketball released a report with recommendations on how to improve the amateur game. One of those recommendations included eliminating the “one and done” rule. With that in mind, can you image what kind of squad the UCLA basketball team would have if this rule never existed in the first place?

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What the CCB recommends is that players that make the “commitment” to college, should stay for approximately 3 seasons. I take it a bit further as I look at what the UCLA basketball team would look like in the 2018-19 season if players stayed in the program, not just for three seasons, but for the length of their eligibility.

One thing I want to add is that having all of these players would exceed the 13 scholarship limit. Since this is just a fantasy, go with it. And since it is fantasy, let us also imagine that LaVar Ball does not flip out and pull both Lonzo and LiAngelo out of school at some point, because we all know that would eventually happen given his recent track record. Also, I am not counting transfers.

Anyway, here we go:

UCLA Basketball Roster sans “One and Done”

  • Point Guard: Aaron Holiday (Sr), Lonzo Ball (Jr), Jaylen Hands (So), Tyger Campbell (Fr)
  • Shooting Guard: Prince Ali (Jr-R), LiAngelo Ball (Fr-R), Jules Bernard (Fr), David Singleton III (Fr)
  • Small Forward: Kris Wilkes (So), Chris Smith (So)
  • Power Forward: TJ Leaf (Jr), Alex Olesinski (Jr-R), Cody Riley (Fr-R), Shareef O’Neal (Fr)
  • Center: Ike Anigbogu (Jr), Jalen Hill (Fr-R), Moses Brown (Fr), Kenny Nwuba (Fr)

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Can you imagine the talent and experience UCLA would have building off of that 2016-17 season when the Bruins went 31-5? Coaching not withstanding, this would be quite the squad.

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With all of these players available, not only could the starting lineup be one the best in the nation (which would ideally be L. Ball, Holiday, Wilkes, Leaf and Anigbogu), but the bench would be insane, especially among the big men.

Unfortunately, this does show one flaw in the recruiting process: the inability to bring in wingmen a few seasons ago. Surprisingly, the Bruins have enough point guards, which was an issue before that (primarily during the Bryce Alford era), but UCLA has recently had to address the lack of depth at the 2 and 3 spots. So far, so good.

This chart also shows how calamity can affect a roster as the 2015 recruiting class is all over the place. Transfer Ikenna Okwarabizie has graduated and Olesinski and Ali both redshirted the 2016-17 season due to injury, leaving Holiday as the only senior. Hey, things happen.

This also shows the improvement in recruiting, especially since the Lonzo/Leaf/Anigbogu class. Obviously, we all know about the suspensions to Riley and Hill (and Li. Ball), and if they stayed for next season, the Bruins would have a ton of young big men. Imagine the front court combinations the Bruins could have with Leaf, Anigbogu, Riley, Hill, Brown and O’Neal. Oh my.

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Having all of these players at a coach’s disposal would be incredible and UCLA could ideally be good enough to compete for a national championship, still, this is only a fantasy. Now back to your regularly scheduled realistic UCLA basketball news.