UCLA Basketball: A look back before analyzing the 2023-24 season

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There appears to be some uncertainty with the UCLA Bruins heading into the 2023-24 season but if the past 10 seasons tell us anything, adopting and adapting to the new college basketball landscape is something the Bruins will be able to navigate with relative ease.

Depending on how you look at it, it appears there are eight players on scholarship for the Bruins entering the 2023-2024 season.

The student-athletes that the Bruins are bringing back are Kenneth Nwuba, Will McClendon, and Dylan Andrews. None of them were considered starters last season and UCLA will more than likely have a whole new starting five especially if no players who entered the NBA draft don’t return and leave their names in the NBA draft.

UCLA is bringing in three true freshmen on scholarships from their 2023 recruiting class, Devin Williams, Brandon Williams, and Sebastian Mack. The Bruins via the transfer portal are bringing in Lazar Stefanovic as well as Ilane Fibleuil from France. In total that is five scholarship players for the 2023-24 season who have not played on last season’s UCLA team.

If you add all the above names and no walk-on is awarded a scholarship for this upcoming season that adds up to eight scholarship players for the 2023-24 season. But there are players from this past season who can technically come back and one player who can’t.

To begin with, who is not coming back, David Singleton has played five seasons at UCLA and has no more NCAA eligibility. It is very likely that two seniors Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. are not using their extra year of eligibility due to the Covid exemption season and are not coming back to UCLA for the 2023-24 season.

Then you have three players who currently have their names in the NBA draft in Adem Bona, Amari Bailey, and Jaylen Clark but not all three are expected to stay in the NBA draft. Some believe that Clark and Bona will withdraw their names from the NBA draft but there are no guarantees that they will do so. For Bailey, it appears that he is not returning to UCLA and will remain in the NBA draft.

Finally, you have both Mac Etienne and Abramo Canka in the transfer portal and even though it doesn’t guarantee they will leave UCLA, it is more than likely that they do indeed transfer to another school.

According to Barttorvik, the Bruins will not have much offensive production for the upcoming season but analytics and prediction projections are not ‘reliable” in determining the actually offensive output by UCLA for the 2023-24 season.

It is also important to factor in that under the leadership of head coach Mick Cronin, the Bruins are overall 99-36 and  58-19 in Pac-12 play. In NCAA Tournament play under Cronin, the Bruins have reached the Sweet Sixteen in the past three seasons in 2021, 2022, and 2023 and made it all the way to the Final Four in 2021. Cronin also lead UCLA to a Pac-12 regular season title last season and the Bruins made it to the Pac-12 tournament championship game the past two years in a row. There is no reason on paper to doubt that Cronin will not have UCLA ready and competing for the upcoming season.

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