#39 UCLA Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

UCLA Bruins

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank:  #5 Pac-12

UCLA Team Page#39 UCLA Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy UCLA Basketball Tickets

Usually when a coach gets fired after only losing five games in the conference schedule, it would turn a lot of heads.  UCLA is not most schools.  The basketball program is scrutinized greater than the majority of Division I programs.  Ben Howland was just trying to stay afloat after some subpar seasons.  Controversy arose after rumors of his poor running of the basketball program and a growing concern over numerous player transfers.  Enter Steve Alford who had a lot of success the last six seasons at the University of New Mexico.  He inherits a conference regular season champion that is full of talent.  He looks to take the Bruins to the next level.

2012-2013 record:  25-10, 13-5
2012-2013 postseason:  NCAA
Coach:  Steve Alford
Coach Record:  0-0 at UCLA, 466-235 overall

Who’s Out:
UCLA loses a huge contributor in Shabazz Muhammad, a top-15 NBA draft pick in July.  Muhammad was UCLA’s leading scorer as a freshman (17.9 points per game).  He was fourth in the conference in scoring.  He was Co-Freshman of the Year and named to the All-Conference Team.  A talent like that is always difficult to replace.  Additionally, the Bruins lose point guard Larry Drew II, once a transfer from North Carolina.  Drew was a workhorse that played every game and played all but 4.5 minutes per contest.  Losing the experience and ball-handling of a top level point guard will certainly hurt a bit.  The combined loss will be tough to swallow, but UCLA finds a way to be competitive every season.

Who’s In:
To replace the valuable play of Muhammad and Drew, Alford inherits a class that should help ease the pain a bit.  Zach LaVine, a shooting guard from Washington comes in heralded as a top-15 recruit at his position.  Noah Allen also comes in.  He’s a versatile guard/forward that can play a lot of minutes for Alford.  To help bolster the class, the Bruins were able to land Wanaah Bail.  Originally committed to Texas Tech, Bail decided not to attend school in Lubbock where former Coach Billy Gillesspie was on his way out.  He is a top-30 post player that will add some depth and talent to the front line.  Luckily, the Bruins are young so their starting lineup is basically set.  But these freshmen can really add some help to the starters off the bench.

Who to Watch:
Kyle Anderson, who is a great talent in his own right, appears poised to take the reins for UCLA in the 2013-2014 season.  He averaged 9.7 points per game, fourth best on the team.  He led the team in rebounds with 302.  The most reassuring part for Alford is that the New Jersey native is only a sophomore.  With one full season under his belt, Anderson has the ability to continuously improve over the next few seasons.  

Final Projection:
UCLA has a lot to work with going into this season.  They lose a lot in Muhammad and Drew.  But they keep a bunch of players in the rotation that played a lot of minutes last season.  The Wear brothers, transfers from North Carolina, have found their game in Westwood.  They will be relied upon on the blocks a lot this season.  Their contributions, along with the maturation of a guard like Jordan Adams, could provide a lot of success for the Bruins.  Alford has had success everywhere he has gone.  A job at UCLA brings with it a lot of pressure though.  How Alford handles adversity – be it early or late – will determine his fate in Los Angeles.  UCLA will be a contender for the conference crown again.  Can they make it happen two years in a row?

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Kyle Anderson, Sophomore, Guard-Forward, 9.7 points per game
Jordan Adams, Sophomore, Guard, 15.3 points per game
Norman Powell, Junior, Guard, 6.1 points per game
Travis Wear, Senior, Forward, 10.9 points per game
David Wear, Senior, Forward, 7.1 points per game

By the numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.4 (31st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (245, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.1 (80, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.5 (160, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.9 (298, 11)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (NA, NA)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.4 (74, 4)
Rebound Margin: -1.6 (246, 12)
Assists Per Game: 16.0 (14, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (27, 1)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#27 Kyle Anderson
#68 Jordan Adams
#103 Travis Wear
#108 David Wear

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruiting:
#53 Zach LaVine
#61 Allerik Freeman


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