Shabazz Muhammad dunks over Alex Oriakhi. Is he the most exciting player on UCLA?
This UCLA basketball team has yet to live up to the high expectations that were set for it in the preseason, but it has nevertheless provided some thrilling moments to watch throughout the 2012-13 season.
Unlike last season, the Bruins are a much more exciting team to watch, with players like Shabazz Muhammad and high-flying dunker Norman Powell riling fans up each game.
With the second half of the Pac-12 season set to commence on Thursday as the Bruins take on Washington at Pauley Pavilion, let’s take a look at UCLA’s most exciting players to watch this season.
While he has amped up his intensity in the past few games, watching David Wear play can be a stressful task for Bruins fans.
The backup forward often seems nervous or overly anxious to prove himself when coming off the bench and his play is affected by it.
D. Wear continues to increase his confidence with every game, but he is generally tough to watch.
Freshman center Tony Parker is exciting to watch in spurts, but those spurts are miniscule due to his limited minutes on the court.
As thrilling as it has been at times to watch the burly 6’9”, 275-lb freshman block a shot or emphatically slam an open dunk, he has been more of a nightmare to watch.
Parker has the potential to be an excellent college basketball player, but until that potential is realized, he is an out-of-control big man who picks up foolish fouls.
Redshirt junior forward Travis Wear has become a much more exciting player than he was in his first season at UCLA last year.
His jump shot has improved tremendously, and he has recently become the Bruins’ go-to player in Pac-12 conference play.
However, his defense is still poor given his height at 6’10”, and he isn’t as physical as he should be in attacking the basket.
While T. Wear isn’t as frustrating to watch as he once was, he still has moments that have Bruins fans yelling at the TV.
Redshirt senior point guard Larry Drew II may not score many points (6.3 per game), but is a thrilling player to watch when he does.
LD2 has some impressive jukes in his arsenal and is an inspiring player to watch on defense.
Most of all, UCLA’s court general is a thrill to watch when he dishes out assists, which he often does, with an average of eight assists per game.
Drew has also proved to be a clutch player who can score decisive, late-game baskets when needed, which has provided some exciting moments to watch.
Freshman guard Kyle Anderson hasn’t quite played like the top-five recruit he was touted as, but the 6’9” guard is nevertheless an exciting player to watch at times.
His scoring performance has been average (9.4 PPG) and his forte, rebounding, isn’t the most exciting activity to watch (9 RPG), but Anderson has amazing court vision that is displayed with the sensational passes that he makes.
Anderson has an uncanny ability to find open players anywhere on the court with crafty needle-threading bounce passes or football passes down court.
While he is terrifying to watch on defense, he complements his stellar passing with some impressive layups.
Although he hasn’t played a prominent role on this year’s team with the emergence of UCLA’s three starting freshmen, Powell is an incredible player to watch.
With tremendous leaping ability, the sophomore guard is explosive when attacking the basket, which makes for some highlight-reel dunks. When let loose on a fast break, Powell excites and delights the crowd with his high-flying slams.
Powell is also an exciting player to watch on defense, as not only is he a tremendous defender in general, but he also uses his impressive hops to swat opposing players.
Shabazz Muhammad is a sight to see.
The 6’6” guard/forward has not only put on offensive clinics this season with his team-leading 18.4 points per game, but can also shift a game’s momentum with his forceful left-handed tomahawk jams.
Unfortunately, Muhammad is only an exciting player on one side of the court, as he hasn’t quite figured out how to play defense yet.
Nevertheless, his knockdown shooting and mighty dunks are very entertaining.
While he has been in a recent shooting slump, Jordan Adams still remains UCLA’s most exciting player to watch on both ends.
The lowest-rated freshman in the Bruins’ recruiting class has surprised all by being the best all-around player on the team.
Adams has tremendous moves in attacking the basket and has knocked down many clutch shots from the perimeter.
More importantly, the 6’5” guard has a never-say-die attitude and exerts full effort at all times, which makes him a spectacle to watch no matter where he is on the court.