Now that the disappointment of another anticlimactic postseason run for UCLA has dissipated, it’s time for the Bruins to look forward to the promise of the future.
While UCLA’s incoming freshman class is certainly not of the caliber of its No. 2-ranked 2012 class—which included top recruits Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson—the Bruins have a few talented freshmen lined up.
Although the one-and-done era of college basketball has made it difficult for programs to hold premier players past their freshman or sophomore seasons, the Bruins have a solid core group of returning sophomores in Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, and seniors David and Travis Wear.
Let’s take a look at which high school prospects will be putting on a Bruins jersey in the fall.
Position: PG/ SG
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hometown: Bothell, Wash.
Overall Ranking: 45
Position Ranking: 11
At 6’3” and a mere 170 pounds, LaVine is slender, but a dynamic scorer who uses his lengthy arms as an advantage.
Although he needs to considerably improve his strength, he has demonstrated an excellent ability to create his own shot and has a quick release that makes him difficult to defend.
LaVine, Like most top high school prospects, has a propensity to take on his defender one-on-one and put up shots early in the shot clock in lieu of running an efficient half-court set.
Although he is UCLA’s top-ranked recruit LaVine will still have to compete for graduating senior Larry Drew II’s starting position at point guard.
Recently appointed head coach Steve Alford is still in the running for the top-ranked uncommitted guard, Rysheed Jordan, who would likely beat out LaVine to run the point at UCLA.
Weight: 205 lbs.
Hometown: Henderson, Nev.
Overall Ranking: 58
Position Ranking: 15
With his built physique and creative passing ability, Freeman has been tagged as one of the most unique players in the 2013 recruiting class.
The four-star recruit brings the physicality UCLA has longed for in the past few seasons with his sturdy upper body.
The 6’4”, 205-pound Nevada native has his sights set on becoming an exclusive point guard for his college career. This may eventually come true, but probably won’t be an immediate reality due to fellow 2013 recruit Zach LaVine.
In his freshman season, the versatile guard will likely replace guard/forward Shabazz Muhammad, who is almost certainly headed to the NBA after his freshman season at UCLA.
Although his ball-handling and perimeter shooting could use some improvement, Freeman possesses the raw scoring and facilitating ability to be a priceless asset for the Bruins.
Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: Salinas, Calif.
Overall Ranking: NR
Position Ranking: 45
Heavily recruited on West Coast, mainly Pac-12 schools, Noah Allen owns the skill to develop into an excellent player at the college level.
The lengthy 6’6” forward exhibits the kind of priceless effort on the court that was displayed this past season by UCLA’s freshman Jordan Adams, who proved to be the Bruins’ best all-around player.
Allen is a springy player who can carve his way to the basket in a variety of ways, and is an above-average slasher.
As creative as the three-star recruit is at finding various ways to score, the California dweller will likely spend most of his freshman season on the bench if he is unable to improve his shooting range before next fall.
However, if Allen does blossom, he will be a key bench player for UCLA.
Weight: 175 lbs.
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Overall Ranking: NR
Position Ranking: 46
UCLA got two Alfords for the price of one when it hired head coach Steve Alford.
Bryce Alford, the son of the former Indiana guard, will have the advantage of his father’s mentorship in his college career. Bryce has the potential to be an outstanding college player, much like his father.
The 6’3” guard possesses dazzling shooting touch and, unlike most young players, is efficient at moving off the ball and creating shots for himself.
What separates Alford from the rest of the back are his superior ball-handling skills and crafty passing ability, similar to that of UCLA’s Kyle Anderson.
Although the Bruins have a few guards lined up in the 2013 recruiting who can run the point, it may ultimately be Alford who commands UCLA’s offense, as he is most comfortable running a half-court set.