UCLA won an exhibition game last night which is not be a big deal but in the context of the struggles of the last few years it was satisfying. However there are some nice items and some items of concern to be considered. First the good, from the Orange County Register.
Sophomore Tony Parker put together the best performance of his UCLA career, tallying 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go with 16 rebounds. Even against inferior competition, Parker's performance was notable, as he looked much more confident.
Parker did what he should do against, as Chrissorr put it, the muchkins of Cal State San Marcos. Some of the credit for Tony's success goes to the trainer, Wes Long, that UCLA basketball now has on its staff.
And Monday night against Cal State San Marcos, in UCLA's 109-79 exhibition win in front of a crowd listed as 4,023, Parker had 17 points, 16 rebounds and the biggest smile on the Pauley Pavilion court.
Parker, who lost about 20 pounds this summer, gave all the credit to trainer Wes Long, who persuaded him to ride an exercise bike a lot and to give up the high-sugar fruit juices Parker loved.
"Tony was terrific," said UCLA Coach Steve Alford. "I said it all summer. He's developed so much confidence since he lost the weight."
Tony led UCLA to a dominating rebounding and inside performance.
Anchored by Parker in the low post, the Bruins dominated the opposition by a 62-22 margin in the paint. UCLA converted 14 Cal State San Marcos turnovers for 19 points and won the rebounding battle, 60-33.
However, in the interview accompanying the OCR piece, Alford also highlights one of the problems, the three point shooting. UCLA is now 5-29 from 3 in two games.
The other nice sign was Kyle Anderson's shooting. Just as Jordan Adams dominated the first exhibition, Kyle did so in this one with an effortless triple double which included 22 points of all types:
Kyle Anderson, entrusted with more ball-handling duties his second year, stuffed the box score: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists. He also hit both his attempts from beyond the arc, where he struggled a year ago with a 21.1 percent conversion rate.
So it was a nice game that does not mean much. The good news for UCLA fans is maybe, just maybe, fans can start relaxing in games against inferior opponents after years of having to worry about Ben Howland team's slow starts or chokes. That is pleasant if it continues.
However, we won't really know what this team is about until the PAC 12 and March. If everyone is playing up to the potential they are showing in these exhibition games at that time, then we will have a real reason to smile for the players.