#31 UCLA Bruins: College Basketball 111 in 111

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UCLA CHEERLEADERS

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Even though the UCLA Bruins won the Pac-12 regular season title last year, a change was needed at the top which is why Ben Howland was let go and Steve Alford was hired away from New Mexico.  The team returns quality talent from a year ago but will Alford’s impact help UCLA get back among the elite teams in the country?

UCLA BRUINS
Last Season: 1st, 13-5 in Pac-10, 19-14 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 3rd

Projected Depth Chart
C: Tony Parker (So)
PF: Travis Wear (Sr)/David Wear (Sr)/Wannah Bail (Fr)
G/F: Jordan Adams (So)/Noah Allen (Fr)
SG: Norman Powell (Jr)/Bryce Alford (Fr)
PG: Kyle Anderson (So)/Zach LaVine (Fr)

Gone: G/F-Shabazz Muhammad, PG-Larry Drew, C-Joshua Smith (transfer-Georgetown), SG-Tyler Lamb (transfer-Long Beach State)

2013-2014 Outlook:
A lot of how this upcoming season plays out depends on the point guard position since the Bruins lose Larry Drew.  Kyle Anderson figures to take over the responsibility of being the primary ball-handler.  He is a unique talent and terrific distributor but is not a true point guard.  Freshmen Zach LaVine will be the other option at the one but he is more of a scoring combo guard than true distributor.

The loss of Shabazz Muhammad could end up being an addition by subtraction type of situation.  Jordan Adams was overshadowed by Muhammad last season but was just as productive during his freshman campaign.  He is a physical wing who can score from all over the floor and will undoubtedly be the focal point of the UCLA offense.

Norman Powell was a key reserve a year ago and should step into the starting line-up.  He is athletic and a capable scorer who could be bound for a breakout junior year.  Alford’s son Bryce followed him to UCLA and should provide some offensive firepower off the bench while Noah Allen is a versatile wing who will compete for playing time as well on the wing.

Up-front, Alford will rely on the Wear twins and hope sophomore big man Tony Parker is ready to take on a bigger role.  Travis and David are identical looking and have pretty similar games.  Travis is the more effective scorer of the two and led the team in blocked shots last year while David is more aggressive on the glass and can also shoot it better from the outside.

Parker was highly recruited coming out of high school but barely saw the floor last season.  He has improved his conditioning during the off-season, losing a reported 20-25 pounds which should pay dividends in his productivity.  Parker’s presence in the middle provides the Bruins with a solid low post scorer who isn’t afraid to bang around in the paint which isn’t exactly a strength of the Wear twins.

UCLA also received good news in that freshman forward Wannah Bail was recently cleared by the NCAA to play this season.  He is recovering from off-season surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee and has not been cleared to practice yet.  Once he gets healthy, he should add some athleticism to the frontcourt once he gets healthy.

Alford also picked up former UTEP commit and McDonald’s All-American wing, Isaac Hamilton.  Because of a messy situation in which Tim Floyd didn’t want to release him from his National Letter of Intent, Hamilton’s status for this season is up in the air.  If he is allowed to play right away, it will provide UCLA with another talented scoring wing and add another capable scorer on the wing.

Player to Watch: Kyle Anderson
Last year, Anderson pretty much played anywhere from the one to the four.  Offensively, UCLA needs him to take over as the floor general and use his size and unique skill set to cause mismatches for opposing defenses.  How effective Anderson is at running the point will be the determining factor in what type of season the Bruins put together.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/8 vs. Drexel
11/28 vs. Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational)
11/29 vs. Northwestern (Las Vegas Invitational)
12/7 at Missouri
12/19 vs. Duke (at Madison Square Garden)
12/28 vs. Alabama

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#32 Iowa
#33 Boise State
#34 Villanova
#35 Oregon
#36 St. Louis
#37 La Salle
#38 San Diego State
#39 Stanford
#40 Arizona State
#41 BYU
#42 Pitt
#43 California
#44 Iowa State
#45 Providence
#46 Cincinnati
#47 UNLV
#48 Purdue
#49 LSU
#50 Illinois
#51 Xavier
#52 Boston College
#53 Ole Miss
#54 Missouri
#55 Washington
#56 Saint Mary’s
#57 Maryland
#58 Butler
#59 Minnesota
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#61 Akron
#62 Temple
#63 Alabama
#64 Florida State
#65 Arkansas
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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