2009-2010 UCLA Bruins Basketball Preview

 

UCLA Bruins - Pacific 10 Conference

2008-09: 26-9, 13-5

2008-09 postseason: NCAA

Coach: Ben Howland (152-54 at UCLA, 320-153 overall)

 

Compared to UCLA’s three consecutive Final Four appearances, the second round loss to Villanova in the 2009 NCAA Tournament was disappointing. That disappointment has quelled expectations heading into the 2009-2010 campaign. And the loss of four starters certainly does not help. However, Coach Ben Howland has a talented, albeit young, team that should be strong enough to keep the Bruins in the hunt for a Pac-10 title.

 

Key Losses: C Alfred Aboya, G Darren Collison, G Jrue Holiday, F Josh Shipp



Backcourt:

Coach Howland addressed his needs in the frontcourt with this talented recruiting class. All five newcomers are at least 6-8. The early departure of Jrue Holiday means the group on the perimeter could use some depth too. That may put some extra pressure on Mike Moser and Tyler Honeycutt who, despite their size, can play on the wing. Honeycutt has been shooting up most recruiting rankings over the summer and could be the player from this class that has the biggest impact as a freshman. Brendan Lane, Reeves Nelson and Anthony Stover will add some depth up front.


Frontcourt:

Yet again, UCLA’s power will shift to the frontcourt. Nikola Dragovic came on strong at the end of the year and ended the season averaging 9.4 pionts and 4.3 rebounds. Dragovic’s best asset is his outside shooting and he actually led the team in three-point shots made. Drew Gordon had a decent freshman campaign, but only averaged 10.9 minutes per game. Gordon is the most athletic of the forwards and his ability to hit the glass will be very valuable while Dragovic hangs around on the perimeter. With James Keefe, who started 14 games last year, and J’mison Morgan ready to battle it out with the newcomers for minutes off the bench, the Bruins will certainly not lack depth under the basket.


Who’s In for UCLA:

Coach Howland addressed his needs in the frontcourt with this talented recruiting class. All five newcomers are at least 6-8. The early departure of Jrue Holiday means the group on the perimeter could use some depth too. That may put some extra pressure on Mike Moser and Tyler Honeycutt who, despite their size, can play on the wing. Honeycutt has been shooting up most recruiting rankings over the summer and could be the player from this class that has the biggest impact as a freshman. Brendan Lane, Reeves Nelson and Anthony Stover will add some depth up front.

 

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Who to Watch for the Bruins:

The master plan was that after Collison left Holiday would take over the point guard duties. Unfortunately, that little plan went away after Holiday opted to go to the NBA after his freshman campaign. That leaves sophomore Jerime Anderson as the starting point guard. He averaged under nine minutes per game as a freshman, but Anderson has the skills to run this team. He will not have to score too much, but Anderson needs to turn into a leader and keep the turnovers to a minimum.

 

Final 2009-2010 UCLA Projection:

The success or failure of UCLA will likely depend on how well Anderson can run the show. But even if he does a decent job, the Bruins have to turn Lee and Roll into consistent scorers. If the Bruins cannot get points out of their perimeter players, the offense will have bouts of mediocrity. But Anderson, Lee and Roll are too talented to let this team slip too far and Coach Howland will turn this very young group into a good team by March.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

2009-2010 UCLA Basketball Projected Starting Five:

  • Jerime Anderson, Sophomore, Guard, 2.3 points per game
  • Malcolm Lee, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 points per game
  • Michael Roll, Senior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
  • Drew Gordon, Sophomore, Forward, 3.6 points per game
  • Nikola Dragovic, Senior, Forward, 9.4 points per game

 

 

By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer

 

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