Coach Mick Cronin is really cooking with gasoline now.
IS THIS A BASKETBALL?!?!?!?!?!
Great preview, DD. Count me not as the salmon (swallows of Capistrano?) of doubt but the salmon of optimism.
I am really excited about this team as I think it fills in some of the holes in last year's squad. Last year's team had very high potential because of Juzang's ability to score, but it was also that unreliability night in and night out that was a problem. When Jonny was off, which happens with shooters sometimes, it was gonna be tough night. I think Jaquez's and Tyger's games lend more to scoring consistency on a regular basis. They probably aren't going for 25-30 often the way Juzang could when he was hot, but I'd bet on 15-20 from both of them way more often than not, and that's a solid core to have every game.
I am also super optimistic about the defensive possibilities with this squad compared to last year, and that will help cover up when the scoring isn't readily there too. Clark is gonna be nails with more minutes this year, and, I know it was Concordia, but Adam Bona was an absolute manchild in the paint in that game. Nigerian soccer players who converted to basketball reminds me of some guy named Olajuwon. Bona is so much more athletic than anyone we've had down low since...ever? Give him time with Cronin's focus on defense and some experience with D1 size and speed so he doesn't get in foul trouble and the space around the hoop is gonna be closed for good. I was also impressed with Dylan Andrews' patience and willingness to take what the offense allowed. He stopped and hit a couple nice mid range jumpers when there was traffic in front of him, and later when his man stepped out to deny a jumper he blew by him and had an easy layin at the front of the rim. It'll be important to have some reliability that allows Tyger some rest each night.
Realizing that some key parts are very young, this is Cronin's deepest and most talented roster, so it will be very interesting to see how quickly and how well he gets them developed and meshed. His ability to do that, or not, will tell us a lot about Cronin's potential with this program going forward.
No mention of the departure of Coach Michael Lewis and arrival of Coach Ivo Simovic, and how their respective loss and addition may alter the court philosophy from the bench. Side note--Lewis to Ball St finally severs the Bruins' Indiana and Alfie ties. Could this mark the return of B88?
All this writing, only to get tested right out the gate by Sacramento State. Such is the life of a Bruin.
Jacquez and Tyger should be 20ppg scorers this year, with Tyger leading the conference in 3P% (the Fat Sal's deal truly unlocked his deep ball, fight me)
A team that could somehow sweep conference 1st team honors, it's been Mick's most complete starting line up in his tenure at UCLA
Bona for FPotY as everyone learns a valuable lesson about driving inside on the big man.
Realistically, this team should be at least a two seed come March, and also the highest ranked representative from the conference. They'll need to succeed in the non-con to make it happen though, as my gut instinct is of a weak showing in conference in both representation and performance in the big dance. Look around this conference and Arizona/Oregon are the likely obstacles with the usual USC playing out of its mind for a game game. It's there for the taking, just need to see that killer instinct on the court and I think the two top studs of the team are going to display that throughout the season. Especially on defense, the boa constrictor that this team can be on the defensive side is always going to determine the success of this team. Defense travels.
Stay vloggin' Jaylen.
Stojakovich to Stanford. That's a bummer, but no doubt that scholarship will get filled by another elite player.
I still like this team and I have little doubt Cronin will have them playing great basketball by March but I’m a little less optimistic about the team’s potential after watching the exhibition, yes I know I’m probably overreacting!
Bona is an athlete and should be great defensively. I think he’s the most athletic big we’ve had in forever although Stover was pretty damn athletic too. Much higher ceiling obviously.
I dig Andrews and he seems to be the future starting pg with DC like quickness and potential to be really good on both sides of the ball.
The bit of pessimism that I have is mostly due to my opinion of Bailey being an overrated prospect. Granted I’ve only seen Sierra Canyon highlights and one exhibition but I just don’t see him as a top ten prospect or potential lottery pick. His shot doesn’t seem to be great and he lacks elite athleticism. He does seem to have good vision and the ability to get to the basket but I just don’t see him having a Lonzo or Shabazz type impact as a freshman. I’m rooting for him though and hope he proves me wrong.
Jaylen is exciting on the defensive end but still looks awkward on offense. Hopefully he can finish better at the rim and shoot over 30 percent from three by the time March comes around.
I’m looking forward to seeing Etienne and McClendon come back fully healthy and see what they can provide off the bench. I don’t see much improvement with Kenny so I’m hoping Etienne can play big minutes off the bench to spell Bona.
Canka is an x-factor and might find his way into the rotation if he can be a reliable shooter but if that doesn’t happen this year I’m thinking he’ll have a much bigger role next year.
We basically know what we’re gonna get from Jaime and Jaquez although I’m really hoping Jaquez gets back to hitting over 30 percent from three, I forgot he was at nearly 40 as a sophomore.
Sweet Sixteen is the expectation? Sweet Sixteen is Alford shit.