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CSU Transfer Octeus denied admission; Will Bryce Alford start at PG for UCLA Basketball?

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The UCLA Basketball program was banking on Colorado State graduate transfer Jon Octeus to lead the thin point guard position next season, but that's not going to happen now that Octeus has been reportedly denied admission.

Guess who isn't playing point guard for the Bruins next year. This guy. Now guess who is.
Guess who isn't playing point guard for the Bruins next year. This guy. Now guess who is.
USA TODAY Sports

ChrisOrr was looking into the future this morning.

Meanwhile, what about Jon Octeus? The Bolden news motivated me to head on over to uclabruins.com. 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.

That was this morning at 8am.  Now we know.

UCLA Basketball was banking on Colorado State graduate transfer Jon Octeus to be the starting point guard next season, but that's not going to happen. Ed Lewis from Bruin Sports Report just tweeted:

The only reaction from Octeus came via his twitter. It doesn't address the issue directly, but it tells us all we need to know.

The info also appeared in an article in Coloradoan.com.

Former CSU point guard Jon Octeus has been denied admission to UCLA, a source close to the situation told the Coloradoan.

Octeus had planned to transfer to UCLA for his final season of NCAA eligibility this winter and was expected to be the Bruins' starting point guard. As a junior at Colorado State University in 2013-14, he averaged 13.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, helping the Rams to a 16-16 season.

Sigh. When it rains, it pours. And even in a drought, Pauley still gets flooded.

Naturally, this raises some pretty strong questions. The young man did just graduate from Colorado State this summer, so what exactly caused him to be denied by admissions? You have to wonder how closely Admissions and the Morgan Center coordinated on this one. Octeus announced that he was attending U.C.L.A. on June 27. For anyone counting, that was 80 days ago. It seems U.C.L.A. should have informed Octeus that his admission was not a given, or that the Morgan Center and Admissions could have gotten this smoothed out in the nearly 3 month time frame between Octeus' announcement and today's.

Of course, the thought that Morgan dropped the ball on this has to be near the top of the list. We recently saw another notable student athlete attend another school amid rumors that a certain AD didn't come through when asked, so the possibility that the Morgan Center simply botched this has to be considered.

Octeus was being recruited by Cincinnati, Missouri, and Tennessee when he selected the Bruins, so those schools could be options for him though classes have already begun there.  It will be very interesting to see if their athletics and admissions departments are able to make things work, since Octeus cannot return to CSU for his final season of eligibility. Good luck to the kid, wherever he lands.

And then there is the question of next season's roster. Octeus was reportedly told he would be the starting PG, so Steve Alford is going to need to slot someone else in there. NBCSports.com is already eyeing the possibilities, and the picture doesn't look very rosy.

The Bruins still have talent on their roster and still should be able to compete for second place in the Pac-12, behind Arizona, but this is a major blow to their depth and creates a serious red flag at the point guard spot.

Without Octeus in the picture, UCLA head coach Steve Alford, Bryce's dad, will have a decision to make: hand the reins over to his son or try to teach Isaac Hamilton, who sat out last season, to learn to play the point guard spot. Neither option is ideal.

Nice to know that our program is already being written off for the Pac-12 title, but look at the leadership of our basketball program and you will see why we're an afterthought. And with all of Ben Howland's inability to get a top level point guard after Darren Collison, it's pretty pathetic to find ourselves still in the same boat.

It looks like the Bruins will have to choose between redshirt freshman Isaac Hamilton, a shooting guard who we really need to replace Jordan Adams and his scoring at the 2, and sophomore Bryce Alford. Now I'm not as anti-Bryce as many around here. The kid takes a lot of heat because of his dad and his excess playing time (also from his dad), and his own ill-thought and ill-timed braggadocio doesn't buy him any slack.  Personally, I think Bryce plays hard and I think he likes his team and I think he wants to win. The problem is, I do all of that, too. It's just that neither of us is talented enough to be the starting point guard for a U.C.L.A. basketball team. If Bryce were a 15 minute backup/spot up 3 point shooter and didn't open his mouth and his dad was still in the state of New Mexico, I bet we'd all have a different opinion of him.

But we can't play ifs. We have to play a point guard, and the Bruins just lost their best option. Where now?