UCLA Basketball: Expectations for the Bruins’ Incoming 2014-15 Class

While the floors of Pauley Pavilion are ripped out and replaced with a state-of-the-art court after damage from a burst water main destroyed the court UCLA played on last season, the Bruins are in a reconstructive phase of their own.

Although they had hoped to only lose point guard Kyle Anderson to the NBA, guards Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine elected to take their talents to the professional ranks as well.

This has left the Bruins facing a number of questions as they prepare for their second season under head coach Steve Alford.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero has assured that the new court in Pauley will be ready by the end of October, but Bruin fans will have to wait and see what kind of team will take that court this coming season.

The departures of Anderson, Adams and LaVine have opened a void in the UCLA squad, but Alford has lined up an incoming class—and a transfer guard—that may be able to not only fill that void but build upon what the trio created in Westwood last season.

Here’s a look at the expectations for the Bruins’ incoming class for the 2014-15 season.

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Repair of burst pipe close to completion near UCLA (Yahoo Sports)

Crews on Saturday finished major repairs on a nearly century-old water main that burst and poured 20 million gallons of water onto the UCLA campus, ruining the new court at famed Pauley Pavilion. Workers completed replacing the ruptured pipe junction on Sunset Boulevard, welded it and installed a pair of 36-inch butterfly valves that weigh two tons each, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said in an update. The section will now need to be tested and slowly brought back up to its regular water pressure.

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UCLA, Pauley Pavilion flooded after main break

      
 

 

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UCLA drying out flooded Pauley Pavilion

The school says it will be ready for men’s basketball opener on Oct. 31

      
 

 

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UCLA Basketball: The Biggest NBA Success Stories in Bruins History

If you were ever asked, out of the blue, to re-edit a great director’s movie from the full original footage, you might feel the dread responsibility of being called to trim down something sublime that you hadn’t helped to grow. There is no reason I can think of that that hypothetical situation would ever drop onto a private citizen trying to enjoy his coffee and eggs, but I believe that is what “hypothetical” means in the original Latin: dumb scenario.

It didn’t feel quite like that—but it felt something like that—when the editor sent an article pitch asking for the “biggest” NBA success stories in the history of UCLA basketball. If it wasn’t the first thought, it was the second: How many apologies will the article have to include to be considered legitimate from a standpoint of consideration. Because there are a lot of former Bruins who played a long time in the NBA to consider.

In the end, the list was capped at 10—that round number with the mystical property of satisfying everyone and no one simultaneously—giving it a right-proper balance. For the 10 included, far in excess of 20 did not make the cut—a cold reality few or any of the players likely encountered while they were playing.

But it was difficult. Only North Carolina—Chapel Hill—has produced more NBA players (81) than UCLA (80). With three more first-round picks for the Bruins coming this year (Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine) and an unknown number out of North Carolina, the lead likely could change hands. But the Tar Heels lead UCLA in another professional category, and that is championships won by their former athletes. Again it is close, with UNC marking 29 and the Bruins three lengths back at 26.

This evaluation would not meet scientific rigor. Some of the names were so obvious they made the list without a second thought. Others got in through regular channels: significant contributions to championship teams, superb statistics over a respectable number of seasons, election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, potential future election to the HOF, numbers that could be considered HOF worthy and lastly, playing jerseys retired by former teams.

Before getting to the article, it is the time to say it comes with apologies to a few former Bruins. From the old days: Lucius Allen, Walt Hazzard, Henry Bibby, Mark Eaton, Swen Nater, Kiki Vandeweghe, Don MacLean, Pooh Richardson and Jack Haley. From more recent vintages, many of them still with their opportunity to make the list ahead of them: Tracy Murray, Jeloni McCoy, Ryan Hollins, Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Trevor Ariza, Matt Barnes, Earl Watson, Jrue Holiday, Jordan Farmar, Dan Gadzuric, Jason Kapono and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Now, it is time to inspect the 10. 

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Biggest Challenges UCLA Faces vs. Florida in Sweet 16 Matchup

The top half of the South Region has gone to chalk so far, and that means the No. 4 UCLA Bruins will take on the No. 1 Florida Gators in Memphis on Thursday night at approximately 9:45 p.m. ET. 

The Bruins, who defeated No. 13 Tulsa and No. 12 Stephen F. Austin in San Diego last weekend, will have a massive task on their hands as they look to defeat the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. 

For Steve Alford’s team to move on to the Elite Eight, the Bruins will have to overcome these five challenges that the matchup with Florida presents. 

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Biggest Challenges Florida Faces in NCAA Tourney Matchup vs. UCLA

The Florida Gators will get down to the business at hand in the Sweet 16 against the UCLA Bruins.

There are no more easy teams and no more walkover games. The Gators toyed with Albany in their opening game before they flexed their muscles and rolled past Pittsburgh.

Florida arrives in Memphis riding a 28-game winning streak. This is the fourth straight year the Gators have reached the Sweet 16. They are 3-0 in the tournament vs. UCLA, beating them in the 2006 national championship game, the 2007 national semifinals and a 2011 round of 32 matchup.

Head coach Billy Donovan led the Gators to each of those victories, but he knows this year’s UCLA team represents a major challenge, as the Bruins have won their last five games by an average of 16.4 points and are capable of causing problems for Florida.

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UCLA Basketball: Biggest Surprises of Bruins’ 2014 NCAA Tournament

At this outpost of the season there are sometimes moments of surprise when you check the manifest and find the water carried most of the year by one man had been shifted, perhaps momentarily, to another.

Then there can also be games where the way things had been done over four months were suddenly done in another way—either to great effectiveness, or more often, great detriment and defeat. 

These things, these sudden changes in the distribution of production or failure, are what constitute surprises in March. For UCLA over the opening weekend, the surprises were mild as the team has settled into the smoothly running consistency that every coach endeavors to drill, coax and alchemize into his team during the mad frenzy of a season.

But there were a few things, both individual and team-wide, that stood out and could be classified as “surprises,” if that is the category you were forced to file them under.

What follows are the surprise shifts in the distribution of production that UCLA used to break out of the opening weekend with more momentum and swagger than they have had at any time this season. They are not ranked in any order of importance, though the reader may attribute their appearance to any subconscious process of thought he or she pleases.      

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No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA: Sweet Sixteen Preview

The top-seeded Florida Gators go head-to-head in a Sweet Sixteen matchup with the fourth-seeded UCLA Bruins.

The Gators, led by Scottie Wilbekin, scored 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the win over Pittsburgh.

With the help from Jordan Adams, UCLA was able to write up a convincing win over Stephen F. Austin.

See who our experts think will win and how far that team will go!

Who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments below!

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UCLA beats Lumberjacks 77-60 to reach Sweet 16 (Yahoo Sports)

UCLA guard Kyle Anderson (5) goes in for a score during the first half of a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

UCLA is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time in six seasons, a big step in the right direction for a program whose tradition was tarnished in recent seasons. The Bruins don’t want to stop there. ”We’ve had a good overall season but our work isn’t done,” sophomore forward Kyle Anderson said Sunday after the Bruins beat Stephen F. Austin 77-60 reach the NCAA tournament regionals for the first time since 2008. Expectations are always high in Westwood because of the 11 national championship banners hanging in Pauley Pavilion, the first 10 coming under John Wooden and the last one coming in 1995.


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