#17 UCLA Bruins: College Basketball 111 in 111

HOT UCLA CHEERLEADERS

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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.

With the uncertainty surrounding Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility, it’s difficult to rank the UCLA Bruins.  With Muhammad, they are a potential Final Four contender.  Without him, there is still improved talent but the Top 20 seems like a more reasonable expectation.

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#27 UCLA Bruins: College Basketball 111 in 111

hot ucla cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With the addition of the Wear twins, the UCLA Bruins might have one of the deepest and most talented frontcourts in the country.  However, the early departures of Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee to the NBA leave questions in their backcourt and about how good they can be this season.

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99 in 99: #54 UCLA Bruins

hot UCLA cheerleaders

It is hard to believe that a coach who led his team to three straight Final Four appearances from 2006-2008 could already be on the hot seat.  But after an incredibly disappointing 2009-2010 season, Ben Howland’s rear end might be heating up a little bit as UCLA looks to bounce back in the Pac-10.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” runs down the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  Click here if you missed teams #55-#99.

By: David Kay
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2009-2010 Pac-10 Hoops Preview: Part 3 of 4

pac101

by: David Kay

The Pac-10 is down for a second straight season as there is no real national contender.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be an entertaining conference race though.  Part 3 of our Pac-10 Conference Preview focuses on the teams at the top.

Cal is the favorite to take the title, but last year’s surprise conference winner, Washington, figures to be in the mix for a second straight season.  UCLA loses some veteran leadership from a year ago, but as always, has the talent ready to step in and keep the Bruins competitive.  Oregon State is a year removed from being a laughing stock in college basketball, but is re-built and ready to make some noise.

1. California (T-3rd in Pac-10, 11-7 in P-10, 22-11 overall, NCAA First Round)

jeroma-randle2009-2010 Outlook:
Cal was one of the surprise teams in the Pac-10 last season.  Not much was expected from them at the beginning of the season, but Mike Montgomery’s team started the year winning 15 of their first 17 games.  Everybody is back except starting center Jordan Wilkes who was the least important of their starting five.  They have one of the most talented backcourts in the conference and should be the team to beat this season in the Pac-10.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Harper Kamp (Jr)/Makhuri Sanders-Frison (Jr)/Max Zhang (So)
PF: Jamal Boykin (Sr)/Omondi Amoke (So)/Bak Bak (Fr)
SF: Theo Robertson (Sr)/Nikola Knezevic (So)
SG: Patrick Christopher (Sr)/D.J. Seeley (So)
PG: Jerome Randle (Sr)/Jorge Gutierrez (So)/Brandon Smith (Fr)

Gone: C-Jordan Wilkes

Player to Watch: Christopher- Point guard Jerome Randle runs the team, but Christopher might be their most important player.  In the Golden Bears 11 losses, the shooting guard averaged less than 10 points per game, but in their 22 wins, he was scoring nearly 17 per contest.  NBA scouts are intrigued by Christopher and if he plays every game like he did in Cal wins last season, could be the key to a deep NCAA Tournament run as well hear his name called in next summer’s draft.

Washington St Washington Basketball

2. Washington (1st, 14-4, 25-8, NCAA Second Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
The Huskies surprised many by claiming the conference crown a year ago.  They lost two valuable players in double-double machine Jon Brockman and shooting guard Justin Dentmon.  Still, plenty of talent returns including Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Isaiah Thomas and senior swingman Quincy Pondexter.  Washington also took advantage of the fragile situation at Arizona last year when highly recruited guard Abdul Gaddy de-committed from ‘Zona and chose to play for the Huskies, adding to an already deep group of guards.  Finding a post player to replace Brockman will be the determining factor for how good this team can be in ’09-’10.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Matthew Bryan-Armstrong (Jr)/Tyreese Breshers (Fr)
PF: Darnell Gant (So)/Clarence Trent (Fr)
SF: Quincy Pondexter (Sr)/Justin Holliday (Jr)/Scott Suggs (So)
SG: Abdul Gaddy (Fr)/Elston Turner (So)/C.J. Wilcox (Fr)
PG: Isaiah Thomas (So)/Venoy Overton (Jr)

Gone: F/C-Jon Brockman, SG-Justin Dentmon

Player to Watch: Pondexter- Since arriving at Washington as a prized recruit, Pondexter has under-achieved.  He spent the summer playing for the U.S. National Team and that competition should help him take his game to the next level this season.  For that to happen, he needs to find his stroke from three and continue to be a factor on the glass.

3. UCLA (2nd, 13-5, 25-8, NCAA Second Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
The Bruins saw their stretch of three straight trips to the Final Four come to an end last season with a disappointing second round ousting in the tourney.  It won’t get any easier this year as UCLA loses four starters meaning there will be a bit of a makeover this year.  As always, the talent is there.  It will just be a matter of how quickly the younger players can establish themselves as starters.  UCLA has suffered some off-season injuries to critical players though as James Keefe has a shoulder injury while in-coming freshman Tyler Honeycutt has been battling a back injury that could limit him this season.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: James Keefe (Sr)/J’Mison Morgan (So)/Anthony Stover (Fr)
PF: Nikola Dragovic (Sr)/Drew Gordon (So)/ Mike Moser (Fr)/Brendan Lane (Fr)
SF: Tyler Honeycutt (Fr)/Reeves Nelson (Fr)
SG: Malcolm Lee (So)/Michael Roll (Sr)
PG: Jerime Anderson (So)/Blake Arnett (So)

Gone: PG-Darren Collison, G/F Josh Shipp, G-Jrue Holiday, F/C-Alfred Aboya

Northridge UCLA Basketball

Player to Watch: Lee- Despite averaging just 3.2 ppg in less than 11 minutes per game last season, Lee is expected to become UCLA’s next star player.  The skill set is there as Lee will likely one day be an NBA lottery pick, but how he handles the transition to being “the guy” this season will determine how successful the Bruins can be this season.

obama-craig-robinson4. Oregon State (8th, 7-11, 13-17, CBI Champs)

2009-2010 Outlook:
After going winless in the Pac-10 in ’07-’08, the Beavers made great strides under first year head coach Craig Robinson aka Barack Obama’s brother-in-law.  In year two, Oregon State is ready to establish themselves as a legitimate NCAA Tournament caliber team.  They run the Princeton offense and don’t have a true star player, but play well as a team and should be dancing in March.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Roeland Schaftenaar (Sr)/Calvin Hampton (Sr)/Angus Brandt (Fr)/Joe Burton (Fr)
F: Seth Tarver (Sr)/Daniel Deane (Jr)/Omari Johnson (Jr)/Rhys Murphy (Fr)
G: Josh Tarver (Sr)/Roberto Nelson (Fr)
G: Lathen Wallace (Jr)/Chris Richard (So)
PG: Calvin Haynes (Jr)/ Jared Cunningham (Fr)

Gone: G-Ricky Claitt, Dwain Williams (transfer)

Player to Watch: Schaftenaar- As first glance, the 6-11 senior is goofy-looking and doesn’t look like much of a basketball.  But the red-headed Schaftenaar fits the Princeton offense perfectly.  He handles the ball well, is a solid shooter, and a great passer for a big man.  All those traits are essential in this type of system.


Thesportsbank.net Pac-10 Preview/Power Rankings continue:

Tuesday: Teams 8-10 (Washingon State, Arizona State, Stanford)
Wednesday: Teams 5-7 (Arizona, USC, Oregon)
Friday: Post-season Award Predictions

Sportsbank.net Big East Previews/Power Rankings

Teams 13-16 (Rutgers, South Florida, Providence, DePaul)
Teams 9-12 (Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette, St. John’s)
Teams 5-8 (Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, Seton Hall)
Teams 1-4 (Villanova, West Virginia, UConn, Georgetown)
Post-Season Award Predictions