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UCLA Basketball: Bolden Ruled Ineligible. What About Octeus?

The Bruins lose an expected rotation player for the year, if not permanently. Will there be another shoe to drop? What about Octeus?

William Mancebo

Here's the best explanation of the Bolden situation courtesy of Zagsblog:

The 6-foot-9 Bolden can't practice (for now) but will remain on scholarship all year. He can practice after the first quarter if he maintains a certain GPA, a source close to the situation told


The issue for Bolden - who committed to UCLA last December - relates to the fact that his clock expired before he graduated high school in the United States. Bolden began last season at Findlay Prep before transferring and finishing up at Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

So the NCAA is saying that he didn't finish the required 16 core courses on time, and they are not counting the time he spent at Brewster Academy. It's the best explanation I've read, but aren't there a lot of fifth year high school seniors who played college basketball immediately?  I suppose I'll have to read the fine print of the rules.

Meanwhile, what about Jon Octeus?  The Bolden news motivated me to head on over to  Octeus is not on the roster.  WTF?  It's September 15. Octeus is a graduate transfer, so a different set of rules apply.  There is no summer registration in his case, but wouldn't he be accepted to a graduate program by now?  I checked his twitter feed, and he doesn't appear to be in LA yet, but I'm not a twitterspeak expert.  Kudos to UCLA the academic institution if they don't rubber stamp a graduate transfer, but this gets worrisome in combination with Bolden's ineligibility.

I initially downplayed the Octeus commitment because it paled in comparison to Jordan Adams bolting for the NBA, but once he said, in a local newspaper article, that he was told he would be the starting point guard, I did a double take.  I wrote about the Bruin rotations with Octeus and Bolden here and here.

Is there blame to go around for Bolden? Yes -- some.  Assistant Coach David Grace actually went down to Australia to meet Bolden's parents. There were open scholarships to give, and Bolden was a big prize and a good kid that was probably worth the risk in light of rumors that other schools weren't going to put any more time into his recruitment. I'll put this one in the "waste of time" column for now.  He may never actually step on the court for the Bruins.  I don't know his mindset, but, in my opinion, the odds are at least 50/50 that he plays overseas or even declares for the NBA draft.

Bolden may not have started, but he was certainly expected to be an important rotation player. In the best scenario, he or Looney could play the 3 so that they could be on the floor together in a big, relatively athletic, rebounding lineup. At least, Bolden would get significant minutes at the 4 behind Looney and minutes at the 3, relieving the likely three-guard lineup of Powell, Hamilton, Octeus, Parker and Looney.

As I said in one of the linked articles above, my hope was to finally see an athletic lineup that rebounded and played defense. Ironically, producing enough offense was the biggest issue.

Perhaps this opens up time for Bail, but I saw nothing from him last year. Losing Bolden, and possibly Octeus, adds defense and rebounding to the issues - again.  Starting lineups were discussed here. Without Bolden, a mobile, big lineup is impossible.  Without Octeus, Bryce Alford starts.