It has basically been since Darren Collison (DC) graduated that UCLA has had a true bonafide point guard recruited. During the DC era we generally had two point guards on the roster with DC and Jordan Farmar; DC and Russell Westbrook; and lastly DC and Jrue Holiday. And now for the next three seasons UCLA has three point guards incoming according to Scout.
1. Aaron Holiday 2015-16, ranked 40 in the country and number 2 point guard in the west.
2. Lonzo Ball 2016-17 ranked 14 in the country, and number 1 point guard in the west.
3. Jaylen Hands, 2017-18 ranked 21 in the country and number 2 point guard in the west.
To be clear, there have been some good college point guards in the last few years at UCLA. Larry Drew II is often overlooked but he set the UCLA single season record for assists. However, Larry was a transfer to UCLA and a poor defender. Kyle Anderson was a point guard on offense and I think a great one at the college level. On defense though he was a four and could not cover a point guard.
These guys all have the potential to cover a point and be good defenders. Ball is 6'5" and may turn out to be a wing but that is not a bad thing. Remember all Howland's final four teams had two NBA point guards on the roster. In the college game today there is arguably no more important position.
It is really looking like good times at the point guard spot again.
Please, please Steve Alford give up on the Bryce as a point guard experiment. I say this not just for the sake of the team but for the sake of Bryce. I'm going to Cherry Pick a couple of grafs from a recent article in the fish wrap:
Bryce Alford, the coach's son, is expected to be the starter at point guard, Steve Alford said, but Isaac Hamilton and Holiday should also see time at the position.
"My role is to be a facilitator and score when I need to," Holiday said.
Bryce Alford is most productive in catch-and-shoot opportunities, but he rarely operated without the ball last season. With Holiday as an additional point-guard option, Alford should be free to try to score more.
"That's what we're hoping," Steve Alford said. "I think what we've seen in the summer has given us an awful lot of confidence that that can happen."
If I want to be an optimism I will think that Steve gets it and that Aaron will be the point guard. Aaron even talks like a point guard when he describes his "role."
If I want to be a pessimist I focus on the Bryce is "expected to be the starter at point." Why? He is better as a catch and shoot player as the next graph says. He is a terrible defender who can't play against a point. Why?
I am afraid I come down on the pessimistic side here. Being a freshman point guard is a little like a freshman QB, there may be some rough games. I don't think Steve Alford will have the patience with Aaron. I hope I am wrong and that it is Aaron bringing the ball up and passing to Bryce or Tony Parker in those crucial situations at the end of games but I wouldn't bet on it.
But the biggest why is:
With the fourth season of live men's basketball coverage just weeks away, Pac-12 Networks announced today that former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin is returning to his west coast roots as a men's hoops analyst for Pac-12 Networks.
Can we get back to talking about football season?