UCLA Basketball Preview and Way too Early Stat Thoughts.

How will Tony Parker fare against some better bigs? - Jeff Gross

UCLA Basketball Preview and Way too Early Stat Thoughts.

Some extremely early, probably useless thoughts on stats and then two previews for UCLA's upcoming basketball games.

The Stat Stuffer.  Kyle Anderson is first (rebounds, assists, minutes) or second (steals, blocks) in every non-shooting category so far this season for the team.  (Actually he is second in free throw percentage as well.)  Kyle's rebound numbers are even more impressive when you realize that he has 25 defensive rebounds as many as David Wear and Tony Parker combined and that his playing point guard limits his offensive rebounding opportunities.  His shooting remains a concern.

Tony Parker (74%) and Norman Powell (68%) are shooting lights out so far. Actually if you take away the four misses from three, Norman Powell is shooting 83%.  Shame on Ben Howland for making Norman shoot so many threes.  As discussed below the next two games will test how good Tony Parker really is now.

In no big surprise five players are averaging double figures but one may be a surprise to some, it is Zach Lavine in the fifth spot with 10 a game.  Zach has solid numbers across the board, including the second best three point percentage on the team.

Jordan Adams is scoring and shooting well, including 82% from the free throw line and 53% from 3.  He looks like he is back.

Then comes the players of concern on the stats, Bryce Alford is shooting 38% from the field and 25% (2-8) from three.  However, he finally looked like he was eyeing passing first and as class of 66 might point out: he is an UCLA freshman who could still learn.

So the biggest concern on the stats?  Senior David Wear.  I was really encouraged in the exhibitions when he shot inside only like a power forward and went 10-15 with most of his shots inside and no three attempts.  Now he has the second most shot attempts on the team (to Jordan Adams) and is only shooting 43%.  He is also leading UCLA in turnovers with 9.  To be honest he has looked really bad at times against some horrible teams.

Wanaah Bail will be back in a week and Travis is back tomorrow night.  It will be interesting to see what that does to the rotation.

Now on to the previews for technically the first two games of the Las Vegas Invitational although they are both being played at Pauley.

1.  The Morehead State Eagles.

Speaking of stats the Morehead Eagles are the 312th best shooting team in NCAA men's hoops.  They are shooting 44% from 2 point land and 30% from three.

They are off to a good start going 4-1 with a loss to Xavier.

Of course the wins came over a division III team and the other three teams have a 2-9 record so far.

The Eagles are led by 6'2" Junior shooting guard Angelo Warner.  Angelo shoots a lot of threes (so far this year half his shots) but he also gets to the line a lot with 8 attempts a game.  He is a good free throw shooter.  It is worth noting that against Xavier, he failed to hit a shot from the field and only scored from the line.

Next guard is redshirt sophomore transfer Brent Arrington.  Brent shoots more than half his shots from three as well and hits at a good 42% clip.  In the Eagles best win he led them with 24 against Marshall in overtime.

The point guard is 5'10" Junior Kareem Storey.  Kareem is a pass first transfer who is not a particularly good shooter or scorer.  Allegedly Seaton Hall also recruited him.

The backup guards, Luka Pajkovic and Bakari Turner (Conference Sixth man of the year), are both three point shooting guards and will play a number of minutes.  Turner is the third highest scorer in the team.

The starting Center is 6'11" Chad Posthumus.  While Posthumus is not a great athlete, he is a good rebounder.  Further, he may be the best rebounder UCLA has played so far this year.  He is averaging 13 a game.  Of course he can't really shoot hitting 38% from the field and 55% from the free throw line.  This is the matchup to watch.  How will Parker do against him on the battle of the boards?  Will Parker get in foul trouble on him?

The last starter is 6'6" Senior Drew Kelly who to put it mildly stinks.  Kelly has fouled out twice in four games, shooting 13% from three (and taking over a third of his shots from there), and does not pass.

UCLA should win this game easily and the only thing interesting will be to watch how UCLA does against a decent rebounder in Posthumus.  Will Posthumus dominate the boards?

2.  The Chattangooga Mocs

This game should be "fun" because unlike the Sacramento State Hornets who tried to stall, the Mocs are the 12th highest scoring team and the 303th ranked defense.  Generally this means that the Mocs don't like to play Defense.  Will UCLA have six or more guys in double figures?  Of course the Mocs wins have come against non-Division I teams and its losses have not exactly been to powerhouse.

Senior Z. Mason is another "strong post presence" who came to the Mocs as a football player and does his damage inside.  Despite being only 6'6" Z. is leading the team in blocks and rebounds and shooting 52% from the field.  Again, Tony Parker may be challenged this time by a strong shorter player.

6'4" sophomore Gee McGhee is the leading scorer who also leads the Mocs in steals and assists.  He is good at drawing fouls and can shoot the three, although the results there are more mixed.

The third leading scorer is freshman 6'1" point guard Greg Pryor.  Pryor job is to "knock down shots offensively and ability to pressure the ball on defense."  It will be interesting if they try to match him up on Kyle and if UCLA posts Kyle.

Casey Jones is the 6'5" third guard who is a decent rebounder and really a small forward.  Casey does not shoot outside and his range is inside the free throw line as shown by his 50%  from the free throw line for his career.

The last starter at power forward is Lance Stokes.  Stokes is another inside player who shots less than 50% from the free throw line for his career.

Eric Robertson off the bench is a combo guard and a three point bomber with over half his shots this year from three.

So really, these games should both be easy wins.  It will be interesting how Tony Parker does against the best bigs he has faced this year.  The Mocs could be a fun game if you are a lover of scoring and likely dunk fests.

Go Bruins.

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