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UCLA Basketball Momentum, Jerime Anderson and the Wear Twin Three

Changing subjects from our football teams disappointing start there is this from twwl, Howland on UCLA: 'We have momentum' .  We are leading in the recruiting of a dream class and it seems every day new good players come up. 

But the momentum is much more than that, we have the happy problem of having too many good "bigs":

The reason is that the Bruins have their deepest and best frontcourt of the past three years, certainly since Kevin Love left for the NBA.

Potentially dominating low-post threat Josh Smith returns as a sophomore, and he'll have plenty of help inside with North Carolina transfers David and Travis Wear (a gritty pair of forwards), joining Reeves Nelson and Anthony Stover. Nelson doesn't mind hurling his body around, while Stover is more of a defensive presence.

Howland said he might play one of the Wear twins at the 3 to have a taller and even more frontcourt-oriented starting lineup.

"We will put the best five players on the floor and four of the best players [may be forwards]," Howland said. "[The Wears] are really good passers, good shooters, and Josh can really manage a lot of the attention and open up a lot of opportunities for the other players. The Wears are really improved, physically and athletically. They're going to be really good."

Reeves Nelson as a 2?!?  No, more after the jump.


Losing Malcolm Lee was tough.  He should have stayed (especially with the strike).  Lee may have been the best defender under CBH which is very impressive title to hold.  However, ironically Lee may not be the hardest to replace.  Tyler Lamb and Norman Powell seemingly will be ready to step in to that spot by the time the PAC 12 starts. 

Tyler Honeycutt may be the harder player to replace.  While Tyler was so frustrating and never seemed to put out the effort to be all that he could be (as he showed in flashes of his potential like the Kansas game); Tyler did do some overlooked things very well that led to his all Pac-10 selection.  Tyler led the conference in shot blocks, was top 10 in rebounding, and led UCLA in 3 point makes.  There is no one on paper who can replace Tyler for UCLA at the 3 position and do all those things.  Tyler, for all his issues, was a true small forward. 

Now CBH is seemingly acknowledging the fact UCLA does not have a logical candidate for the 3 spot.  De'End Parker, a do everything type in JC who played the PG spot may not be the solution at 3.  Also who can blame CBH for wanting to get his best players on the court? 

I have always been dubious of the Wear talk at 3 because I think Reeves is likely a better Defensive 3 and previously it was always David Wear being mention as a 3.  Travis is the better of the two Wear twins not David and I assume you would want the best on the court of these similar players.  Now CBH is saying the Wear Twins on the court, which to me means more Travis.  CBH needs to find a way to get his top players on the court and the fifth best player is likely a Wear twin. Also keep in mind, unlike Parker, the Wears have practiced with CBH for a year and know the UCLA system (Hat tip to BritishBruin for this point.)

Of course a front line of a Wear Twin, Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith seems to scream zone because of lack of quickness.   Zone would also have the side benefit of giving Josh Smith some extra rest as well.  But CBH has always been reluctant to play zone, going to it once last year and only in desperation in 2009-10 for a team with a lot of lesser athletes.

While on defense the lineup of three bigs makes us slow, on offense it could, contradictorily, help by giving space down low.  The simple reason is the Wears can hit the open three (as CBH says they are good shooters) and open the space for Smith down low.  Lamb/Powell are not known for being great outside shooters, so it would really help to have a Wear at three. 

Also, in a last piece of news which I don't know what to think of, Anderson may only be suspended for a few games.  Diamond Leung writes a piece about the great infamous recruiting class of 2008 of which Anderson is the last man kid standing. Will Anderson take advantage of yet another chance?

UCLA coach Ben Howland told Andy Katz that guard Jerime Anderson will miss a few games after being arrested in July in connection with the theft of a laptop. While that means Anderson is expected to be sidelined for more than the team's regular-season opener, as had been previously announced, it also puts the senior on track for possible reinstatement by the time the Bruins leave for Hawaii to play in the championship round of the Maui Invitational and open with Chaminade. . . .

Now it will be left up to Anderson, who after serving his suspension will get one final chance at achieving what the group originally set out to do.   

Regardless of Anderson, UCLA basketball has reasons to be excited for 2011-12 and beyond. Go Bruins.