UCLA has quite a bit of hype heading into this season.
That’s what will happen when you bring in a recruiting class that includes two of the country’s consensus top three players.
I’m not buying it. Never have. There are a litany of problems with the Bruins, ranging from overweight centers to pieces that don’t fit well together to a lack of perimeter shooters to the potential that the aforementioned star freshmen are still being investigated by the NCAA.
But the biggest problem that UCLA faces heading into the season is at the point guard spot, and Ben Howland went on the record on Wednesday with who will start at the point:
UCLA coach Ben Howland said that North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II will start at the point. “That’s going to happen,’’ said Howland. “He’s our most indispensable player.’’
That’s not a good look for the Bruins. For starters, the only reason that Drew is at UCLA right now is that he transferred out of North Carolina because he couldn’t cut it as the starting point guard. They Tar Heels struggled mightily in 2009-2010, and while that wasn’t entirely Drew’s fault, UNC’s turnaround in 2010-2011 came when Drew was benched in favor of Kendall Marshall. All of a sudden, UNC had movement in their offense, star freshman Harrison Barnes finally found a rhythm and started hitting some shots, and the Heels eventually made a run to the Elite 8.
And now Drew is once again getting put in charge of a team where the most talented players will be freshmen?
Oh, and for what it’s worth, Drew didn’t exactly “transfer” out of the program. He up and left without so much as a goodbye. In the middle of the season. Without telling anybody. That’s Howland’s “most indispensable player”. Heckuva leader, I must say.
The problem is UCLA doesn’t really have another option. Kyle Anderson played the point at the high school level, and he is certainly a terrific passer and playmaker. But he’s also slow-footed and 6-foot-8. He can’t guard point guards. He might not be able to bring the ball up against point guards, either.
This just doesn’t seem like a group that fits together out in Westwood.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.