Sorry for originally doing this as a FanShot. I am a long time lurker and rare poster.
As with many of us, the UCLA-FLA game, Honeycutt/Lee's announcement, and the seating announcement has dashed some of the optimism with UCLA sports. I would like to share some blurbs of my latest article on campus. The beginning begins with many of the sentiments readers here share, and then I try to turn the feelings around.
Up until the final seconds of the UCLA-FLA game, I had visions of UCLA playing to their potential and making a magical run in the NCAA tournament. However, despite a well played game, they fell short. A week later the UCLA program received some more bad news when Tyler Honeycutt announced he was declaring for the NBA draft. Apparently NBA teams are looking for immature wings who turnover the ball too much. I love Honeycutt and think he’s an exceptional talent, but I believe that Honeycutt not only is not ready for the NBA, but if he stayed another year he would have been a lottery pick. That being said, I’m a sophomore Business Economics major and he is about to make bank. This was followed by Malcolm Lee deciding he would try the draft (though he has yet to sign an agent leaving him open to return). Before that, Larry Drew, former UNC PG, announced he was transferring to UCLA, which was originally exciting until I talked to anyone who has ever seen him play and basically described him as a "poor man's Jerime Anderson." I didn't know there was a poor man's version of him.
As an avid reader of this site, inspiration from many of my articles comes from reading this site, and hopefully my irrational take on sports injects a much needed boost of optimism. My optimistic views on UCLA basketball and UCLA Football after the jump...
Next year, Josh Smith drops another 30 pounds and keeps his weight a safe distance under the 300 mark. His new weight allows him to actually jump and dunk on all his close shots. Rather than eat at Fat Sal’s, he develops a short range hook shot which allows him to become the most dominant post player in the nation.
Malcolm Lee realizes that NBA teams need a shooter to draft him in the first round and that coming back would make him a lottery pick. He returns and continues to be one of the best defenders in the nation. In addition, his 3-pointer develops and no longer can teams realize, “Oh let’s just play a zone against them.” Zeke Jones’ wrist heals and he proves to be a top PG in the league and plays like he did against USC every single game.
Reeves decides to try every game and becomes the stable emotional leader the team needs. He gets knocked down every game, yet feeds off the crowd and battles and teams up with Josh to be an unstoppable low post duo.
The Wear twins prove to be excellent replacement for Honeycutt, while also providing a great low post defensive presence as they actually know how to hedge a screen. Meanwhile, Stover develops into the nation’s best shot blocker (I would say something about him learning how to score but that seemed too far fetched...)
Norman Powell has an electrifying dunk every single game while Jerime Anderson rains buckets off of the bench. Meanwhile, every player buys into Howland’s system, and he finds a perfect rotation to include every player.
The bus system to the UCLA road show works to perfection and every stadum we play in is a packed house. We storm the LA Sports Center when we win the Pac-10 and tear it down in celebration. We win a national championship and attract Shabazz Muhammad and other top recruits to UCLA, bring us back to dominance.
Football success often rides on the O-Line. It opens up running lanes and gives QBs time to throw. As for UCLA's line next year, the return of Kai Maiava and Jeff Baca will lead to the line being one of the strengths of the team.
The new coaching staff proves to pay immediate dividends. Mike Johnson instills a work ethic on the WRs and Carroll and Rosario both turn into the All-Americans they are capable of being. In addition, Taylor Embree reverts to his sophomore form and becomes the reliable possession receiver that every team needs, and Shaquelle Evans shows why he was so highly recruited coming out of high school.
As for the RBs, UCLA devises the first ever four-headed monster attack. Franklin proves to be as productive as he was last year…but he actually learns to hold onto the ball. Derrick Coleman comes in to punish defenders for five carries a game. Meanwhile, Malcolm Jones and Jordan James both show off their blue chip talent and have fans salivating for next year.
Now onto the QB position. Brehaut becomes a baseball star. Good riddance. Brett Hundley becomes the starter and is the savior everyone expects him to be. Despite throwing interceptions, he is a gamechanger with his arm and feet, and he is able to rely on a strong line and a solid running game to take pressure off him and allow him to develop. Meanwhile, Prince is a star backup, and anytime Hundley has to sit, Prince comes in and shows the grit that made UCLA fans think that we were actually going to be good after the Texas game.
As for the pistol, new coach Jim Mastro implements it to perfection. He uses our three F-Backs to perfection, as Thigpen, Barr, and Presley rotate having game changing plays. Our offense becomes a powerhouse.
On the defensive side of the ball, Joe Tresey has fans forgetting who Randy Shannon is. His defense turns into a well-oiled, turnover machine. Dietrich Riley, Cassius March, Owa, and Jordan Zumault all take huge steps and buld on their impressive freshmen year and provide us with steady playmakers. Meanwhile our CBs realize that their job is actually to cover the WRs, and everyone on defense realize that tackling does not mean two-hand touch.
We start off the year dismantling San Jose State, Houston, and ultimately…Texas. We ride newfound offensive greatness to trademark wins including one over USC at the Coliseum. We win the Pac-10 and win the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl actually fills the stands for Pac-10 play, and Neuheisel finally gets off the hot seat despite participating in a March Madness bracket which had UCLA going all the way.
Feelings? How likely is this to happen? I think I'll be happy with 25% of the article coming true.
If you would like to see more on NFL/NBA/MLB, or would like to support a local UCLA paper....http://theodysseyonline.com/location/article.asp?article=2967&location=27