For the first time in recent years, the UCLA basketball team has been laying low this off-season.
While the current success of the UCLA football team may be taking some of the spotlight off of the basketball program, the low profile is mainly due to the lack of high profile recruits. Last year, UCLA grabbed the attention of the media with the likes of Shabazz Mohammed, Tony Parker, and Kyle Anderson.
With the season a few weeks away, there are a lot of question marks left for the Bruins.
So with that being said, here are three talking points for the Bruins before the season begins.
1. Steve Alford
With John Wooden’s legacy standing over UCLA Basketball, expectations are high in Westwood. So when Steve Alford was chosen to replace former head coach Ben Howland, the reaction from UCLA fans was halfhearted at best.
Before he even stepped foot on the campus, Alford was met with criticism for his handling of the Pierre Pierce incident at Iowa and had to issue an apology to UCLA fans. Alford's inability to snag big time recruits has been a problem for UCLA this off season.
The latest blow occurred when UCLA’s only 2014 recruit, Trevor Bluiett, decommitted himself. However, Alford walked into a good situation and he can thank Howland for leaving him with a talented squad. Sophomore Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are cream of the crop players in the Pac-12.
2. Point Guard Worries
Without Larry Drew II in the lineup for the Bruins anymore, there will be a big void in the point guard position. Drew II played as a true point guard and ran the Bruin’s offense efficiently. In addition, he had good chemistry with the Wear twins and helped them get going on the offensive end.
While Kyle Anderson at times shared the point guard position with Drew, he was more of a combo guard/forward type of player.
Alford has been getting some heat for recruiting his son Bryce Alford, who plays the point guard position. While Bryce Alford can be a great addition to the team, some argue that the fear of nepotism is drawing away big recruits.
3. Tony Parker
While the Wear brothers do not make for a bad front court, the Bruins will gain a huge boost with a productive Tony Parker.
Parker, who is reminiscent of former Bruin and fellow big-man Joshua Smith, was unhappy with his season last year and considered transferring schools. However, the sophomore decided to stay for another season and has been working hard this summer.
Parker reportedly shed 25 pounds and is ready to go this season, which is good news for Bruins.
It will be interesting to watch the Bruins play under Alford this year. Bruins have been underrated going into the season and this could take some pressure off the new coach. However, the Bruins need to pull off wins early on or Alford could be out faster than he came.
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