The UCLA Basketball team went through a major re-shuffling period this off-season which saw three of their top players in Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams, and Zach LaVine declare for the NBA Draft. Losing their best player and point guard Kyle Anderson meant there is only one returning rostered point guard for next year, the Coach’s son, Bryce Alford. Let’s take a look at what he brings to the table as well as Isaac Hamilton who may also share the load at the position.
Bryce Alford is coming off of a season which he saw majority of his time as a reserve, backing up the point guard position held down by Anderson. Alford’s mentality as he came into the game was to supplant Anderson in bringing the ball up the court on alternating possessions. His style of play is more of a score first style, he is a solid shooter from beyond the arc and likes to drive to the hole, drawing the foul frequently.
In Alford’s sophomore campaign, he will be looked upon heavily as the starter and most likely will need to make some adjustments to his game to get the ball into his teammates hands the way Anderson did this last season. His supporting cast has offensive talent, however not particularly outside shooters. The players expected to contribute are mainly slashers and big men who get inside to the bucket. The drive and dish off inside will be a play we might see with the current cast of players as the Bruins must play to its inside offensive strength in true freshman and projected NBA talent Kevon Looney.
While much of the responsibility to handle the ball will rely on Bryce Alford next year, there is also another player who may get some looks at the position and allow Alford to come off of the ball, which he does quite well, to get more looks from the outside. Isaac Hamilton, a redshirt freshman, was one of the most coveted recruits in the nation last year and provides a very athletic look at the position. Hamilton is believed to emerge as a star this next season as he was already considered the third best player on the team in practice last season. He will play majority of his minutes as the two guard because of his athleticism and scoring ability, but with his talent, may terrorize teams with the ball starting the offense in his hand.
While Bryce looks to possibly hold down the point guard position for the next few years, Coach Alford has not missed out on the recruiting trail, landing top prospect Aaron Holiday, former Bruin and NBA star Jrue Holiday’s younger brother, for the 2015 season as well as the following season having Lonzo Ball verbally stating his intention to attend UCLA. Both players are part of a growing crop of newcomers to build the future of the program which looks bright. Implementing a system takes a few years, but the Bruins and Coach Alford look to be well in their way to success for the foreseeable future.