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Spot on analysis. Thank you!

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The Bruins were a Final Four team which failed to get past the Sweet Sixteen.

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Apr 4, 2022·edited Apr 4, 2022

I’ve been relatively quiet the last few games to end the season. I think it would be good to rate mick as a whole along with his development and usage of each player out of five stars.

Starting with players:

Jules Bernard

Development 3 stars

Usage 4 stars

- maybe the most consistent player all season due to lack of injury. Played to his abilities. Turned the ball over less. Shot worse as a percentage of made 3s and shots overall compared to the prior season.

Tyger Campbell

Development 5 stars

Usage 4 stars

- substantially improved his shot percentage. Decreased turnovers. Played within himself. Would like to see more up tempo, but this one ant really set up to be a run and gun offense.

Jaylen Clark

Development 5 stars

Usage 2 stars

- UCLA’s best defender played far too few minutes when ucla needed it the most. When asked to step in while Riley jaquez and juzang were injured, proved that he should get more play time. Given that mick is a defensive coach, this is the most puzzling player in terms of usage. Should arguably be starting over a player like Jules Bernard or juzang when they showed lack of hustle. Was on the bench too often.

Johnny juzang

Development 2 stars

Usage 2 stars

- stats almost identical to prior season with little significant difference. Defense remained the same. When juzang was on the court, the plan was to force it to him and let him go one on one. Would have expected more, but returning this year clearly hurt his nba draft potential.

David singleton

Development 2 stars

Usage 2 stars

Stats almost identical to prior season with little noteable difference. The best 3 pt shooter on the team shoots 2 times per game? In todays game, you need a capable 3 pt shooter. inability to use this in games hurt.

Cody Riley

Development 1 star

Usage 1 star

- clear regression from last season to this maybe due to injury (likely). Player was continually asked to play long stretches when others should have seen more play time.

Myles Johnson

Development 1 star

Usage 1 star

- stats declined coming to a new team. Grossly misused most of the season. One of the better team defenders that deserved far more play time then was given

Jaime jaquez

Development 5 stars

Usage 4 stars

- would give 5 stars for usage, but he clearly needed a lot more rest down the stretch due to the injuries. That took a toll on his ability. Rose his draft stock and is now on many draft boards for the nba

Jake kyman

Development 1 star

Usage 3 stars

- has clearly regressed across the board under cronin. Shot has gotten worse, confidence has tanked, and play time is minimal. Not enough minutes with so many other players, but sad to see such a sharp decline in development.

Kenneth nwuba

Development 3 stars

Usage 3 stars

- doesn’t see enough play time to really make any conclusions.

Peyton Watson

Development 1 star

Usage 1 star

- complete and utter failure. A projected preseason lottery pick has played himself out of some draft boards entirely. A complete lack of development and misunderstanding of how to develop talent by the staff

Mick cronin

Overall 4 stars

Clearly a better coach then the last guy. Has the ability to coach and players believe in his system. Has taken the team efficiency measurements up every year since starting. A preseason top 5 that finished below, a conference winner preseason favorite. 2nd in the conference, loss in the conference tourney, and a loss in the sweet 16. Two losses to Arizona, oregon…

Lots of things to be disappointed about, but with another crazy covid year, what more can you ask for? My only hope is that cronin figures out how to coach nba level talent and increase their draft stock. If he can’t do that, recruits will go elsewhere…

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Great article, DD. I agree the season was largely successful, and at the same time I agree they could have achieved more. The basic problem with this team to me was inconsistency and the inability to avoid the awful floor moments, which was puzzling given the veteran players with deep Tourney experience who you would imagine would be regularly reliable and immune to laying an egg. The same Bruins that made a FF4 run last year and which beat a FF team in Nova and a 1 seed in Az this year was the same team that lost at ASU and Oregon twice and wasn't competitive with Gonzaga, 4 games with a better performance could have earned the Bruins a 3 or even 2 seed and a better run through this year's tourney. Even with the 4 seed and second place P-12 finish, we made a huge leap from last year's play-in status, Tyger and Jaquez made really big improvements, and we had a pathway to the FF4 in our hands. This big difference this time was that we didn't have Johnny Juzang playing at (or beyond?) his absolute peak for 5 games to make up for the other areas of inconsistency/injury/unlucky bounces/hot opponents. In the end, we still basically outplayed or were even with UNC for just over 38 minutes, and then a minute and a half of execution issues and a poor defensive scheme ended our season, otherwise that could very well have been us playing Kansas tonight instead of the Tar Heels. Certainly Cronin needs to improve in areas of personnel usage. Retaining Jaquez, Clark, and Payton (Juzang would be a bonus but I'm not expecting it) is key going forward and will show us a lot about what next season might bring.

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It’s a shame that we tend to evaluate the entire season based upon how far a team advances in the tournament. By most metrics, this season was better than last season. With a few bounces going our way and a couple more shots made, we could have been back in the Final Four. A couple of missed shots and we could have lost to Akron in the 1st round.

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I know championships are all that matters, but after a decade+ of mediocrity (outside of one year) and unlikeable coaches, it's just nice to see them in national conversation all year long. Most of the season in the top 10, all in the top 15, no sweating out selection Sunday, beating all of the nonconference teams they're supposed to beat, handily for the most part, and a successful but tough conference season. That's not a lot to ask for, but more than has been provided for a long time. It's nice to be able to look forward to the next season again.

So I evaluate the season based on whether I received entertainment and enjoyment commensurate with the level of my expectations, and whether they were worth the time I spent watching and reading about them, then for me it was a successful season.

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Everything seemingly were suppose to align for UCLA this year, it’s a disappointing season on many factors. Mediocrity will always make excuses for not winning it all, the goal is to always win it all or what the point of the season ? This was Cronins year, he will never have a team like this again. Cronin got exposed as a stubborn coach who doesn’t use his bench properly, which in part drove some of his players to exhaustion. Due to Watsons development, next years class will be under a microscope to see how they turn out. UCLA is getting the players, the name sells itself, but that perfect coach to take us to that championship that will be a battle. This coming year will be telling, Cronins coaching style needs improvement, plain and simple.

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The higher the expectations, the greater the disappointment whenever a good team loses in the tournament. If Gonzaga fans had to respond as to whether their team had a successful season or not, I'm guessing most of them would lean towards no. I thought the Bruins had a good season overall--it's just unfortunate that they fell apart in the last few minutes against UNC, otherwise they would likely have beaten up on a St. Peter's and a St. Mary's to get back to the Final Four. Cronin seems to have gotten the most out of what were mostly Alford's recruits over the past few seasons, eventually getting them to play tough team defense and restoring pride to the UCLA basketball program. Can't wait to see what he and next season's roster can accomplish. Go Bruins!

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Apr 9, 2022·edited Apr 9, 2022

How to consider DD's review of the season to gauge whether the season was successful?

I agree with Army, that if success is defined as winning the Tournament, then only one team can be considered successful each year. That cannot stand.

I instead use the Woodenism measure: Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Did the team under CMC meet that eye test? I think not.

This team was as good as it ever was going to be early on with its victory over Nova, and made no further improvement over the course of the year. This experienced, veteran team played inconsistently, confoundingly disinterestedly at times. CMC utterly and completely failed to develop Watson, as Baskets put it, misused the bench and rotations, was out coached at times, played favorites (Riley), mismanaged Jacquez's ankle condition, and stubbornly would not make adjustments to Howlandesque proportions. It's no wonder Mick is so defensive minded when his offense is "please someone get hot."

Aside from my disappointment with the loss to UNC, my disappointment more rests with my opinion that the team just didn't develop to its potential.

Looking ahead, and with respect to having a better chance to win a FF, CMC must improve on the offensive side of play, and find trust in his bench, or he will risk losing the level of recruits that ordinarily give UCLA the edge.

I can't wait until next season!

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