New UCLA point guard Lazeric Jones, a junior college transfer from Illinois, is playing in the Say No summer league at The Hax in Hawthorne this summer, and early reviews indicate he's going to be a solid contributor and help the Bruins address a weakness at the position.
On Sunday, Jones played in a game with Bruins teammates Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson. Jones handled the ball well, displayed court leadership and scored several baskets on drives down the key. He has big hands and a nice touch from the free-throw line. . . . adding Jones should help stabilize the guard position.
Others who have seen Jones have made similar comments. Good athlete, desire to play D, good form, needs to work on his offense a bit, especially his outside shooting. Of course this is in the "Say No" league, so everything must be taken with a grain of salt.
With that caveat, I am excited about him and looking forward to UCLA beginning its return to PG U. More on that after the jump.
Everyone agrees that one of the biggest problems with last year's basketball team was PG play. There is no need to rehash the problem in depth but I will briefly give two statistics.
- During the PAC 10 season last year, the players in the PG position had more than 4 assists only four times. The year before DC averaged almost 5 a game for the season.
- Our assist leader last year was Michael Roll in Assist per game, a SG/SF for us. The most assist in a game last year was Tyler Honeycutt, a PF for us last year, with 9.
But I am not advocating the job be given to Jones. I think Jones is very important even if Jerime Anderson begins to meet the expectations that were set for him as part of the infamous recruiting class of a few years back. I think competition is key and was every year but last year. After all, the hallmark of the CBH years, until last year, was two good PGs on the roster. Not counting last year as none of the players who played PG have graduated yet: every year but his first two, CBH had TWO future pro PGs on the roster. (I won't count his first since that team was really Lavin's.) See Below:
2004-2005 CB and JF (yes CB got hurt but that is part of the point, we had 2)
2005-6 JF and DC
2006-7, 2007-8 DC and RW
2008-9 DC and Jrue Holiday
If we want to give CBH the benefit of the doubt on this, maybe he was banking on Holiday returning and JA to be his backup last year. I know others passionately disagree that the writing was on the wall for Holiday to leave early and I am not rehashing that point. In any case every year, CBH had two quality PGs on the roster until last year and last year he went into the season with only one PG on the roster.
However, it is interesting how CBH has dealt with the problem. Next year we will have Jones, JA, and Matt Carlino all competing for minutes at the PG spot. CBH was taking no chances of having only one PG on his roster.
On that note here are some of my notes on Bruin PGs in the pros and summer league at this time. Right now UCLA has by my count 6 PGs playing in the pros. CBH coached four of them. A few of them have been making news lately.
- Darren Collison of the Hornets, at least for now, had a cool story about going back to UCLA.
- Jordan Farmar left the World Champs to play for the Nets.
- Jrue Holiday is getting better all the time. (Maybe he should have stayed in college at least one more year.)
It is great to see ex-Bruins doing so well.