Tomorrow UCLA plays its first exhibition game in Basketball against Cal State Los Angeles. Sometimes an experienced team of lesser talent can give a better team working in a lot of new players trouble in an exhibition. Cal State Los Angeles is not that team. Their claim to fame is:
The Golden Eagles ranked 14th in the country in scoring defense after allowing opponents just 62.9 points per game. Cal State L.A. was also among the national leaders in field-goal percentage defense after allowing opponents to shoot just 41.7 percent from the floor.
Despite the lofty defensive stats, the Golden Eagles finished with a 10-16 overall record in a transition year marked by costly injuries and a thin roster in head coach Dieter Horton's first year leading the program.
How did they go 10-16 with such a great scoring defense? The obvious, they stunk on offense only scoring only 58.9 points a game.
Their leading returning scorer and rebounder is Joel Brokenbrough. The 6'6" Joel led the team in rebounds with 5.2 a game and 8.7 points per game. Not exactly setting the world afire. However he does have one of the most unique high school highlights I have ever read:
Competed in basketball. Was the only player in the history of Delaware basketball to earn a pair of Player of the Week awards in the same week during his sophomore year in high school.
Not sure how you can obtain two PLAYER of the week awards in the same week. Maybe I am underestimating him or Fox can explain it to me in the comments.
Bottom line, this is not a good team but it is a defense first team.
Some thoughts on what to watch:
Jonah Bolden should be able to dominate the boards against these guys. While it won't mean much if he does rebound well, if he can't control the paint along with Tony Parker and Thomas Welsh, there is reason for concern.
Aaron Holiday will receive an interesting test. After summer league, against walks on, and Bryce, he will presumably being playing for the first time against players that make defense their first priority. Now they do not have the talent level of Aaron but he may have more of an interesting test against a team dedicated to defense. Should be an interesting game to watch Aaron play point.
Of course the other interesting item is the possibility of Tony and Thomas on the floor at the same time. Again this is a negative test on defense. If it works, it does not mean much. If CSLA can score on Tony and Thomas with CSLA's offense limitations, the experiment is not going to get very far.
The game will be streaming on uclabruins.com tomorrow at 7:30.