UCLA Basketball With Big Problems

I watched the UCLA v Georgia Tech game last night and have braced myself for a long season.

It’s apparent that the upperclassman are deferring, in this game anyway, to the younger players. They need to assert themselves as leaders and hold these young skinny rambunctious Freshman accountable while respectfully setting an accountability pecking order.

Of course this all starts with Alford allowing them to do so.

What I witnessed last night was maddening for long stretches and truly makes one appreciate the amazing and unselfish talent that L Ball and TJ Leaf were last season for the Bruins.

This team is so far removed from the 2016 - 2017 team specifically in the area of Selflessness, cohesiveness, toughness and not surprising fundamentals further demonstrating that AAU or other club organizations usually just roll the balls out and let the kids play while not focusing too heavily on basics and fundamentals. I know this first hand.

Yes it was only game one!

Yes they are a young team!

But so was last seasons team with Ball and Leaf in the starting line up. Truth is Ball and Leaf were miles ahead of the freshman I saw last night.

Alfords going to earn his paycheck this year.


Still the reckless ball handler he was last year. Try’s to do to much with the ball often in heavy traffic surrounded by one to three defenders. His body language was another concern as he, numerous times, lacked poise when teammates made mistakes and conversely showed no remorse or culpability when he made bad decisions.

He did show the ability to accept a heavier load late in the game when Tech pulled to within three making a nice driving lay up and then getting to the stripe after another penetration play.

In my mind he has been and will continue to be a 50/50 player; Fifty percent of the time something good happens and fifty percent of the time something bad happens.

J Hands:

Selfish, Selfish, Selfish!

One assist in 28 minutes?

Talented? Yes! But the Selfish play far outshined the obvious ability.

Play after play he deferred to himself taking his own shot instead of finding available teammates who would have had slightly better ones. He possesses the classic "I’m going to get mine", attitude!

There is no argument that he has a nice offensive skill set ie decent handle, nice change of pace, ability to get into the lane etc... but either his lack of willingness to pass or lack of court vision are a problem.

One other play stood out to me and it speaks to his lack of toughness/hustle.

The Bruins had a three to five point lead late in the game and were on the defensive end when a rebound came off a bit long ending up on the floor. Several Tech players hit the wood including our 7 footer T Welsh. Hands was well within diving distance but made no attempt to get dirty choosing to rubber neck instead!

Alfords got his hands full with this one!

Kris Wilkes:

Nice scorer, good looking shot but needs to demonstrate more basic ball handling and ball catching fundamentals. When he tried to catch a ball with one hand (his right) on a Bruin 3 on 2 fast break I almost jumped up and stomped in my living room as much as Alford did on the sideline. Needs work on dribble and help defense as well!


Prince not Muhammad.

Puzzling to me that he isn’t more polished. Did that New York line on his resume fool some people specifically in relation to his toughness? I know he missed all last season but he needs to be more of a vocal and physical presence especially with all the skinny Freshman on the floor. His body language and lack of production especially down the stretch didn’t exude the afore mentioned tough New York style of play. Maybe it was just this game.

One point in 20 minutes?



A lot more.

Tom has a nice hook shot and can pass out of the post to spot up shooters or cutters in the lane. There were long stretches towards the end of the game that Welsh never touched the ball while underclassmen were turning the ball over in every fashion imaginable! He hits free throws at a good clip as well further enforcing the need to get him the ball especially in close late games.


I hope he just had a bad game because he didn’t appear to be better than he was last season. Being a upperclassman he will need to shoulder more of a load moving forward and one would surmise that his playing time last year would be the spring board for better production this year.

Four points in 28 minutes?

Alex Olesinski:

Did I spell that right?

Another player who spent all last season injured. Maybe it was the rust but it didn’t appear to me that he has made great progress in his skill set or ability to score. Once again one game doesn’t tell the whole story but like GG he has been in the system a while now and is an unselfish hard nose get down and get dirty type of player. He will be greatly needed to bring that mind set every game especially given the soft nature of several of his new teammates.

Two rebounds in 14 minutes?

Chris Smith:

Looked physically out of his element. Who’s the Bruins strength and condition coach, Olive Oil?

One rebound in eight minutes. That was his entire line, one rebound in eight minutes.

Well I guess 1-0 is better than 0-1 right? As I mentioned before Alford has his work cut out for him this season so brace yourself, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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