If Alford had this class this year, we might be talking title run.
Getting Bolden's pledge means UCLA will have one of the best incoming frontcourts in the country next season. Bolden joins five-star prospect Kevon Looney and four-star 7-footer Thomas Welsh in the class, in addition to Gyorgy Goloman, who is likely a project at the five spot.
Putting Bolden alongside Looney and Welsh gives Alford a little bit of everything in the frontcourt next season. Bolden can make shots from the perimeter, but is long and skilled at the forward position. Looney is one of the best rebounders in the class, and is a very good inside-outside offensive player. Meanwhile, Welsh can finish inside and is also a solid face-up player.
Looney is the best of the group and an instant difference maker. He will lead the team in rebounds next year. Welsh is a guy who is going to look awkward at times and have some issues with the better athletes and size in college at first. He is a guy who is NOT about next year but will be a four year guy who gets better every year. Bolden is the in-between guy. He should contribute next year; the questions is how much.
In light of the commitment of Jonah Bolden, let's go through a way too early depth chart 2014-15 looks something like this:
C: Tony Parker , Thomas Welsh
PF Kevon Looney, Wannah Bail, Gygory Goloman
SF-Jordan Adams, Jonah Bolden, Isaac Hamilton, Noah Allen
SG -Zach Lavine, Norman Powell,
PG-Bryce Alford, ??
As another article states:
Bolden joins five-star forward Kevon Looney, Thomas Welsh and Gyorgy Goloman in Steve Alford's first recruiting class in Westwood. Next season will also feature Isaac Hamilton's first appearance as a Bruin. He's a top 20 player in the Class of 2013, but he has to sit out this season after Tim Floyd refused to let him out of his Letter of Intent.
The Bruins will also return Jordan Adams and, in all likelihood, Zach LaVine. Toss Tony Parker, Norman Powell and Bryce Alford, and UCLA looks like they could end up being a top ten team by the time next season rolls around.
The issue will be the point guard spot. Alford had two goals for this class: restock the front court and land himself a point guard. He did the former. The latter, he whiffed on Jordan McLaughlin, Quentin Snider and Josh Perkins. Can Bryce Alford play that role? What about Hamilton? Will Kyle Anderson actually go pro, like his father has said, or will he be returning to school next year?
So UCLA will be loaded but without a point guard. What I guess will really happen, as in what seven or eight will play and how :
C: Kevon Looney
PF: Jonah Bolden
SF: Jordan Adams
SG: Zach Lavine
PG Issac Hamilton.
Backup guard Norman Powell and Bryce
Backup Big: Parker.
Brief explanation of this waaayyyyy too early guess. Looney is special and a gifted rebounder. Parker could step up but I assume he is not there yet. Looney is a lock starter, it is just where. Bolden is a bit of a leap and the biggest guess. Bolden thinks he is a 3 but reality is the team may need him as a four. The other reality is he is probably the best hope for a second best big. I do not have a lot of confidence in this pick. We are loading at the wing, although Jordan Adams or Zach LaVine could go pro. Unlike past years, we are okay if that happens.
Now Isaac Hamilton needs some discussion. First, Hamilton thinks he is a point guard. Second he has been led to believe he will have a shot at point guard. Third, Alford has a history at New Mexico of big combo guards at point and according to Alford, his offense does not need a point. Fourth, Hamilton has a year to learn the offense while he is practicing while not eligible.
Of course this also means that Bryce Alford gets a lot of minutes at point. Maybe as the starting point guard over Hamilton. I am beginning to think Alford won't get a point guard for 2014-15. This is incredible in the abstract. It means UCLA has not had a true point guard in a recruiting class since the freshman class of 2008 when they had Jrue Holiday and Jerime Anderson.
Whether this is because the coaches feel Hamilton and Bryce are good enough, a result of recruiting failures, or no freshman wanting to come play against the coaches son; I can't say.
So if you are glass half full person, UCLA has the best big man class since 2007. None of these kids are as good as Kevin Love but together this is a great class of bigs to fill a need that was shown last Saturday when UCLA was out rebounded by 17. Of Alford's three jobs: recruiting, coaching and representing UCLA well; Alford is arguably getting the first one done.
If you are a glass half empty person, you have to have some worries about point guard (and other issues). This is not the 1950s and 60s where the Center and big man ruled basketball. Arguably the most important position in basketball today is point guard. UCLA does not have one next year of the level of the rest of its team.