via grfx.cstv.comHe was by far the most consistent player on the UCLA squad. He started off the season incredibly well and kept putting out solid performances. He was ranked in the 50's in ESPNU's 150 and became arguably more valuable than Shabazz or Kyle, both prone to a freshman letdown on any given night. And now he's done for the season with a broken foot.
When the news went public during the ESPN broadcast of Utah-Oregon, there was a feeling of shock in Bill Walton's voice as the former UCLA legend and vibrant commentator responded to the news. Shock. The exact way to describe that moment. A team that was finally getting back its late game magic was stopped dead in its tracks. A team that was poised to fight for a 4 or 5 seed now possesses the quality of a mere 9 or 10 seed.
Now what? Will UCLA be able to salvage the season or is it a lost cause? The answer will rest squarely on the shoulders of Norman Powell. In his time at UCLA, Powell has been nothing more than an average rotation guy. He's yet to have a big game for the Bruins this season. On the other side, however, he's had his share of terrible ones, the most infamous being his decision to foul during a tied game against Cal Poly that led to the worst result of the season.
Still, the most important thing about Powell is that he had a decent level of consistency last season. While the scoring averages are obviously not the same (partly due to both talent and playing time), Powell has the opportunity to keep UCLA in its remaining games if he can get 8 to 10 points while playing just under a typical starter's minutes (say 25-30). If you add a few good nights (18-25 points) by Anderson and Muhammad, then the situation becomes much more manageable.
Jordan Adams cannot be replaced. We all know that. However, as referenced in the movie "Moneyball", we must find a way to make up for him in the aggregate. The way to do that is through Norman Powell.