The Future of UCLA Basketball: Why Shabazz Should Say Yes and the Say No League

With the recruiting of Jordan Adams, UCLA basketball fortunes are looking up.  The biggest prize, one that even Adams mentioned in his announcement is, of course Shabazz Muhammad.  Since I always quote his ESPN profile let me just run through some other highlights on him. 

He is number 2 on Rivals nationwide.  He is 6'6" and 215 pounds. The Scout review is also encouraging:

Talented wing prospect that has a unique scoring ability. He's constantly in attack mode and is an aggressive scorer. His long range shot is getting better, but he does majority of his work from mid-range and in. He's also confident enough in his post game to take defenders to the block and show a jump hook. We'd like to see him continue to develop range on his shot, but he's a heck of a prospect with an impressive motor.

Words you see with Shabazz are: winner, attack, aggressive, great motor.  Basically this is a kid who plays all out on both ends of the floor.  He is the most can't "miss" prospect since Kevin Love for UCLA.  He is a guy who if/when we get him, I am buying my plane ticket from DC to the West NCAA region (I did the same the day Kevin Love was signed).  Hyperbole, yeah, but he is that good and this looks to be a marriage made in heaven.  Shabazz, the kid who plays all out all the time, for the most storied school of all time, and a coach who teaches everything including the things those other coaches don't as much such as defense and set offense. 

And don't believe those reports that say UCLA is not a front runner, that is talk from rivals.  Remember, just days before Jordan Adams committed CBS published a post entitled "New UCLA hire doesn't sway Jordan Adams."

More on other future players after the jump. 

The Say No League is back on.  This summer league is hard to glean much from.  When some of the players in the box score are listed simply as "Frankie" it makes one wonder what the league is about.  I have gleaned all I can from a few sources elsewhere and I will make the following way too broad generalizations on our players that I would never make about Pac-10 games with so little information.

1&2.  Travis Wear can score.  Just as he was the better scoring twin with UNC, Travis is lighting up the Say No League shooting 72% from the field and scoring 18.6 a game.  However, his rebounding, which is atrocious in these games so far with only 5 rebounds.  His brother David Wear in three games is similar just a bit less, shooting 54.8 and 13.3 points a game.  Neither had hit a three with David the only one to try one. 

Bottom line: it is encouraging these guys can score, especially Travis, as that was a huge problems from our bench*(counting Joshua Smith as a starter) bigs last year.  David not shooting threes and neither rebounding is a small concern.   

3.  Another player to play three games so far is Larry Drew, who is much harder to read.  He had the highest assist total in any game so far I have seen with 8 (these games tend to more individual oriented) but he also had 4 fouls in one and fouled out in another.  He was really all over the place. He was shooting 15-35 from the field (but that % was really hurt by his 1-9 from beyond the arc).

Bottom line: not much to say here, except that who could blame him for being a bit hyper as he will not be able to play this year after transferring. 

4.  De'End Parker is also hard to read as well and only played two games so far.  Interestingly he did have seven rebounds in one of those games to go with 14 points (5-10 FG, 1-2 3P, 3-4 FT).  The other game he went 0-5 and his line was bad. 

Bottom line: De'End looks like a small forward, not a PG.  This is consistent with what we have been told.  De'End was a PG last year by necessity not because it was his position.

5.  Norman Powell and Parker play on the same team.  In Parker's good game, Powell only had 6 points and in Parker's bad game he had 14.  However, one stat is interesting on Powell in these two games: 10 free throw attempts.  In this kind of league that is a high number, six FTAs the first game was the high for all UCLA players and his four the next game show it may not be a fluke.  His line 7-12 FG, 0-2 3P, 6-10 FTs. 

Bottom line: Powell may be taking advantage of his athletic ability and being aggressive.  It will be worth watching if he keeps going to the line as that will be a good sign for him next year. 

On the returning UCLA players in the "Say No League" thus far a few notes:

1.  I am disappointed in Anthony Stover's line of only one shot in 31 minutes.   Stover is a very good defender, if he can provide offense he will be a good player.  In this kind of selfish league he needs to take more shots.

2.  Jerime Anderson may finally be moving toward his more comfortable position of off-guard.  Discounting the game where he played 8 seconds, Anderson line in two games is: 11-19 FGs, 1 assist and 6 TOs.  While Jerime may be the backup PG he is certain to play a role as the off-guard as a scorer and wing passer as well.

3.  Brendan Lane shot 7-12 in 2 games and had 7 rebounds in only 36 minutes total.  The 7 rebounds came in one game.  This is encouraging.  Hopefully Lane's problems last year were with confidence and not that he has trouble with better stronger players.  Of course the "Say No League" is not the place to prove the latter but it is nice for the former.

4.  Lastly, Reeves Nelson played one game, did not score a FG but had 8 rebounds in 25 minutes.  This is an interesting stat, in less time Reeves had more rebounds than any other UCLA big; more than all the others who played more games.  It shows why our starting bigs are likely set.

Everything written in this post should be taken with a grain of salt.  The only thing I will guarantee is I am buying tickets to the NCAA West Regional if/when Shabazz signs with UCLA.  For while I don't know what to make for sure of the Say No League stats, I do feel confident that if Shabazz and CBH are dance partners, UCLA will go far in the big dance in 2013.

Go Bruins

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