Perfect timing! There is not a recruit in this year’s heralded UCLA recruiting class that has entered into a better situation than one, Moses Brown.
The UCLA Bruins have lived the last four years with the beloved Thomas Welsh being pretty much the only center on the UCLA roster, and before Welsh arrived, we have to go back to the 2007-2008 season to find the last real center at UCLA, Kevin Love. So suffice it to say, UCLA getting the commitment of 5-star center Moses Brown was a huge get for Steve Alford and at a crucial time since Alford needs all the help he can get to keep his job.
We definitely witnessed some of Moses Brown’s strengths this weekend against NYIT. First, to quote the great Red Auerbach, “You can’t teach height.” And Brown is tall, and if we believe what we’re hearing, he might still be growing.
So, even though Brown is 7’2”, the one thing that stands out to me is that he is an active, athletic, and hard-playing big. Often when you get guys this big, their athletic ability does not always match their size, and Brown seems to be the exception to that. Add to that mix a hard-playing and engaged player that doesn’t look to take plays off, and Brown might have the perfect recipe to be another great UCLA center.
When you add the above-mentioned ingredients, those ingredients are paramount when playing defense. We all know that is an area that has not been synonymous with UCLA basketball recently, and Brown seems to be the type of player that can really make a difference on defense as he finished with four blocks on Saturday.
Effort is the number one factor contributed to players that are effective on the defensive end, and Brown does not seem to lack effort.
The video below has UCLA’s Don MacLean specifically talking about Brown’s effort.
Active, athletic, and hard-working bigs usually like to run the floor and this will be another strength of his. Brown will fit in on this team and the “push the ball” mentality that the Bruins will have this year. Brown will be sure to pick-up a lot of follow-up easy baskets, dishes on the break for dunks, as well as countless lobs.
Areas to Improve
The one part of Brown’s game that is not shown in highlight tapes and was not on display this past Saturday was his back to the basket game. What will Brown do when he faces centers that match his height and/or dwarf his weight and try to push him around? Is Brown really 245 pounds? Inquiring minds really want to know.
He seems to have good footwork. But does he have a shot that will become his go-to shot against top-level centers that he will face this year like Oregon’s Bol Bol? Also, can he develop a face-up game? He seems to have a pretty good stroke from the free-throw line. So, can that translate into him being able to face-up and hit over smaller centers when needed?
After Brown’s 20-point, 6-dunk, 13-rebound, and 4-block performance on Saturday, the outlook seems to be quite nice. Moses Brown brings something to UCLA that the Bruins have not had in a very long time. That is an active big-man that can help anchor the Bruins on BOTH sides of the ball. Brown is the type of player that will score points and grab rebounds simply based on his athletic ability, effort, and size. He’s also the type of player that can erase defensive mistakes, and we all know for this Bruins team to do anything this year, they will have to be better on the defensive side of the ball.
Even though Moses Brown looks to have all of the characteristics of a one-and-done, let’s enjoy the year and watching him grow as a player and Bruin.