UCLA's first player went off the board early tonight's NBA Draft, when Zach LaVine's decision to enter the draft after his freshman season was validated as he got selected 13th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. This is UCLA's highest lottery pick since Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love both went in the top 5 in 2008 (Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison both were selected in the 1st round in 2009, but outside of the lottery at 17 and 21, respectively. Shabazz Muhammad also went in the lottery in 2013.)
The process of becoming a lottery pick was not always a certainty for LaVine, as he disappeared for stretches in his only season at UCLA. Part of the blame for that can be placed on LaVine's play, part of that can be placed on his curious usage on the court considering how he was clearly the most athletic basketball player to don a Bruin uniform since Russell Westbrook. But once LaVine declared for the draft and got onto the workout circuit, teams got to see his overwhelming athletic talent and combining that with his sky-high potential it became an inevitability for LaVine to be the first Bruin selected.
Zach will - for a few days/weeks at least - join Kevin Love, as well as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and fellow recent one-and-done Bruin Shabazz Muhammad in what might as well become the newest branch of the UCLA Alumni Association in Minneapolis.
One down, two more to go.