UCLA Basketball: 5 Players Who Deserve More/Less Playing Time

Robert Pace@Robert_PaceContributor IIIJanuary 4, 2012

UCLA Basketball: 5 Players Who Deserve More/Less Playing Time

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    With UCLA struggling to capture their first Pac-12 win, perhaps it’s time to switch it up a little bit.

    This season has been full of surprises—most of a negative variety. However, even though the season has been shaky for the Bruins, some players have emerged with great potential.

    Here’s a look at which Bruins players deserve to be on the court or the bench more often. 

1. Norman Powell

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    More playing time

    Freshman guard Norman Powell has displayed great potential as well as maturity in his appearances off the bench for the Bruins.

    Powell has played in all 14 of UCLA’s games and is averaging 17.5 minutes, which are good minutes for a bench player.

    With an inconsistent guard in Jerime Anderson in a three-guard offense, Powell should be given a starting position and play somewhere around 25 minutes per game.

    Although he is a freshman, Powell has shown good basketball intelligence and rarely turns the ball over, as most freshman do.

    He may only average 5.4 points per game, but his energy and explosiveness are crucial to this Bruins squad, which seems to lack intensity and passion at times.

    Powell has the potential to put up big numbers, as he proved against UC Irvine with 19 points in 22 minutes. 

2. Jerime Anderson

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    Less playing time

    Senior guard Jerime Anderson looked good in the beginning of the season, especially against top 25 opponents Kansas and Michigan when he scored in double figures.

    Anderson is currently being overplayed with 31.7 minutes per game and is more effective when he is coming off the bench.

    His presence is important to the squad as he has taken on the role of an upperclassman leader, but his performance has been mediocre this year.

    In the past nine games, Anderson has averaged six points out of 32 minutes per game. If the Bruins are going to be a tournament-bound team, they will need more production from their guards.

    Substituting Norman Powell into Anderson’s starting position might possibly inspire Anderson to step up his game and out-play the freshman guard to earn his spot back.

    Anderson is a good player and has great ball-handling skills, but his production has been too little for him to be playing as much as he does. 

3. Brendan Lane

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    More playing time

    Junior forward Brendan Lane was looking at a starting position until David and Travis Wear transferred from North Carolina to UCLA.

    Lane may not be the most dominant forward in college basketball, but he is passionate and always plays hard.

    He currently averages 6.5 minutes per game, which is a significant decrease from the 15.4 minutes per game he averaged last year.

    Lane is not much of a shooter but is a tough defender and always makes shots around the basket.

    He probably shouldn’t make the jump to being a starter, but Lane should be given more minutes, somewhere around 12 minutes per game.

    With Joshua Smith’s fitness level affecting his playing time, Lane should be rotated in with the Wear twins more frequently. 

4. Joshua Smith

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    Less playing time

    Sophmore center Joshua Smith has disappointed the many who believed that he would be one of the most dominant centers in college basketball.

    Smith has been in poor physical fitness the entire season, which has greatly affected his playing time and his performance on the court.

    He currently averages only 18.1 minutes per game with a measly 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

    Until Smith proves that he’s committed to his team by improving his fitness, his minutes should be decreased dramatically and he should start the game on the bench.

    Although he has plenty of potential buried underneath his unfit figure, Smith has not shown dedication to the team this year and has gotten into foul trouble in nearly every game in which he has played.

    Smith has committed three or more fouls in all but two games this season, and he once fouled out after having played a mere 13 minutes.

    He needs to earn his starting spot and should come off the bench and play around 10 minutes per game. 

5. David Brown

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    More playing time

    Unless you tuned in to watch David Brown on the court for the 14 total minutes he was on the court during the Chaminade, Pepperdine, UC Davis and UC Irvine games, you probably have no idea who the freshman guard is.

    His four total points probably won’t impress you, either; however, if you had a chance to see him play, you would probably agree that he has immense potential.

    Brown has excellent ball-handling skills, is very agile and can shoot. He isn’t quite at the level of deserving significant minutes, but he should be in the bench rotation, especially with De’End Parker still injured.

    Getting Brown about five minutes per game wouldn’t hurt the Bruins and would give the freshman some experience.