UCLA Basketball: two, possibly three leaving for NBA

The UCLA basketball team was defeated in the round of 16 by Florida University. As with all seasons, the next one is met with key arrivals as well as departures. With UCLA making the march back into national recognition this year, it is imperative to maintain the momentum with another big year next year.

The Bruins’ guard play was to be attributed for much of the team’s success and it was led by undoubtedly future NBA talents. While they may be ready to make the jump, they are also underclassmen. Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine have made it known of their desire to place themselves in the impending NBA Draft, while Jordan Adams has decided to receive feedback from teams on his potential draft position before he makes a decision on whether to leave or not.

Kyle Anderson, the lengthy 6-foot-9 point forward, as some like to refer to him as, just completed his sophomore season with the team. This season saw him take over the responsibilities of running the offense whereas last year, per the team’s needs, he stayed underneath much of the time cleaning the glass grabbing rebounds. He stepped into the spotlight with his productive play which saw him average 14.6 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, and 6.5 assists per game. His court vision and size combination has drawn lofty comparisons to the great Magic Johnson. While his game does bear resemblance, his athleticism has been in question by NBA scouts who have him projected anywhere from the middle of the first round to the early 2nd round. His talent is not in question, it’s whether his speed will be enough for the game at the next level.

Zach LaVine is wildly athletic: he can leap out of buildings, hit threes from down the street, and get to the basket in transition faster than you can whip your head around to see the one handed windmill he just threw down. Physically, LaVine has all the gifts; he is not as polished as other prospects in the draft but may yield a high reward for a team willing to wait a couple of years for his decision making to catch up with his athleticism. Scouts have LaVine anywhere from the high point of the lottery to late first round. Dropping to the late first round would make him a steal.

Jordan Adams hasn’t made his decision as of yet, but has decided to test the waters, receiving feedback from NBA scouts on just where they feel he might be drafted. Adams is a Mr. Everything type player: very athletic, instinctive, can get to the basket, hit shots from outside, and play defense as well as any player in the country. He is the epitome of consistency on both ends of the floor. Scouts have Adams pegged from the end of the first round to the late picks of the second round. As long as Adams does not hire an agent, he is eligible to return to school for his junior season. He will assess his choice in the coming weeks.

All three players could have very successful NBA careers, similar, as well as possibly more productive than their time with with the Bruins. Time will tell if their decisions are the correct ones, regardless the three athlete’s future looks bright, as does UCLA’s. For Bruins fans, their hope is in Adams returning as that would solidify the scoring attack of next year and make the Bruins a force in the PAC 12 as well as national rankings next year.

  • Randy

    Just ask Tyler Honeycutt and Shabazz about coming out too early.Both were more ready than LaVine. He was a turnover machine at times and disappeared on the post season. Million dollar body, ten cent head, including the poor judgement to go pro. Maybe Hamilton is schooling him in practice, and he knows he wouldn’t start next year, anyway

    • Derek Bowe

      Randy, I agree that Tyler Honeycutt was a much more polished player when he chose to leave UCLA, however I feel LaVine is much more talented than Shabazz and will prove this at the next level. He surely needs time and I do feel he would be better served to return but it is hard to tell and 18 year old kid who will be drafted in the first round not to cash in, especially when he relies on his athleticism above all and one injury can detour that dream. That being said, I am lookin forward to the addition of Hamilton next year.