Coming Up! UCLA Bruins
Steve Alford heads into the 2018-19 season with a hot seat and arguably the deepest roster he has ever had.
In his 5 years at UCLA, Alford has one Pac 12 Championship and a few Sweet Sixteen performances to show for it. If this upcoming season does not result in a deeper tournament run, we may be looking at a new Head Coach next year.
The pressure of this season may push Alford to his best performance.
This years group of Bruins is loaded with talent and depth. NBA draft hopeful Jaylen Hands is back along with Kris Wilkes (who looks to be the leading scorer this year), suspended bigs Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, and a handful of freshmen that gave UCLA the 6th nationally ranked class according to 247 Sports.
The incoming freshman have created a lot of excitement around the program. Shareef O’neal, son of Shaquille O’Neal, is the most polarizing of the class. He holds a lot of star power and is responsible for much of the attention around the team after de-committing from Arizona following their recent scandals involving Head Coach Sean Miller.
The highest ranked commit is C Moses Brown. The 7’1 big is a consensus 5* rated player and brings along a world of potential to the team. He may not start right away but if he can prove to be worthy of these rankings on the next level, that breaks the Bruins’ ceiling for the year. A deep tournament run could be in store if Brown is able to develop into an impact freshman in the Pac 12.
This combination of incoming and returning talent is stimulating to a program that saw themselves lose a play-in game in the NCAA tournament last year even with a legitimate NBA talent on the team in Aaron Holiday.
UCLA is a historic basketball school and with that reputation comes expectation. A run of sweet sixteen losses is not going to fly in Los Angeles, Steve Alford knows that. This team looks to be inexperienced but determined for success. The Bruins will shoot for the stars this season and they may hit.