Many, but not all, sports journalists agree the key to UCLA basketball next year is . . . the Wear twins. Not all journalists are that way mind you, buy let's talk about ESPN, here is the entire portion of the written story for the preview of UCLA in the Maui tournament:
Travis and David Wear, UCLA: The Wear twins -- the Wearii? -- were highly touted McDonald's All-Americans when they arrived at North Carolina last year. Just as quickly, they departed, heading back to their native coast to play for Ben Howland at UCLA. If they're as good as advertised, they'll provide some added interior strength to a lineup that already boasts a massive forward with massive potential in sophomore Joshua Smith.
That's nice, he did mention Josh, as a forward. Let's see what Dick Vitale said in his preview of the top 40 next year:
29. UCLA: Ben Howland has the Wear twins coming in and that will help the Bruins build upon an already talented team.
Of course others were worse:
The Silver Swords will open with the Wear twins and UCLA in the first game of the evening session.
The Wear twins and UCLA?!? Sigh. The usually wrong Bleacher Report at least admits they are ignorant of UCLA:
UCLA is kind of a shot in the dark, partly due to the fact that we do not know how they are going to perform with their new transfers from North Carolina, but it's looking like they will have a great season.
The Wear twins are eligible this season and along with big man Josh Smith returning, it could be great for the UCLA.
Let's go to reality after the jump.
The Wear twins are at a minimum going to provide UCLA with its best depth up front since we had AA2 and LMR backing up LRMAM and Kevin Love. AA2 and LMR gave UCLA at the time a future and former Pac-10 starters as backups. And yes, because we are hurting on the wings, David Wear may see some time there. But if you are writing a two sentence preview of UCLA is the Wears really what you should focus on?
Well if you believe basketball begins and ends in the ACC and Big East, sure. Travis and David Wear as UNC transfers are the story. Everything needs to be written with the ACC or Big East in mind. Next year it will be all about Larry Drew. But if you watched the Pac-10 last year you would remember a guy named Reeves Nelson who was, oh, All-Pac-10, led the team in points and rebounds, and will start and play more minutes than either of the Wear twins in their most obvious position.
Thus if I were to write a short neutral preview of UCLA for the Maui classic it would be something like:
UCLA has one of the best front court tandems in the country in big Josh Smith and All-Pac-10 forward Reeves Nelson but the Maui Classic will be the first chance to show how they are going to replace NBA draft picks Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt on the wings.
Or if I was writing a season preview of UCLA in a single sentence in a neutral fashion it would be something like:
UCLA's Ben Howland has one of the deepest front courts in the nation but questions remain on how they are going to replace two early departing All-Pac-10 wings.
And let me be clear, I am not bashing on the Wear twins. Howland may have to become creative and find a way to get them on the floor more with Reeves and Josh. I will close with this quote about the Wear twins at Adidas Nation, of course it compares them to a couple Duke players:
The big surprises on day 1 were the Wear twins who seem to be playing with a high level of confidence. They have added some strength, have retained solid foot speed and are very skilled. Despite a big difference in hype, there isn't much of a gap in talent level between them and any of the Plumlees.
I am sure this would not be a surprise if they still played for UNC. Welcome David and Travis. ESPN and other journalists, if you want to learn something about UCLA come here, instead of UNC.