The 2010-11 basketball season is over, so it's time to take a peek ahead at next season.
The Bruins have no seniors graduating and will have loads of experience at every position, especially if none of the players leaves school for the NBA. They will also get some much-needed depth with the addition of North Carolina transfers David and Travis Wear and incoming freshman Norman Powell set to join the team.
UCLA showed an upward trend of improvement throughout this season and if the Bruins continue that rise during the offseason, it would come as no surprise to find them among the top 10 teams in the nation when next season starts.
Here, we take a look at the roster for next season:
F-Reeves Nelson, Jr., 6-8, 235
The emotional barometer for the Bruins, Nelson also led the team in scoring with 13.9 points a game and in rebounding with 9.1 per game. He's a workhorse who is not afraid to do the dirty work, gives UCLA a toughness edge and can finish around the basket. He made great strides on the defensive end throughout this season and also matured quite a bit from start to finish. He still needs to improve his help side defense and he could use another six or eight feet of range on his jump shot, but he has the kind of bulldog personality to make those things happen. If they do, he will become one of the top all-around inside players in the country.
F-Tyler Honeycutt, Jr., 6-8, 188
He's the most likely of all the Bruins to leave for the NBA, he led the team in minutes played and was third in scoring with 12.8 points a game and second in rebounding at 7.2 per game. He can score form anywhere on the floor and led the team with 55 three-point baskets. He struggled at times with on-ball defense, but made up for a lot of those lapses with recovery shot blocking. He led the Pac-10 with 68 blocked shots. His laid-back personality hurt him when he made carefree passes that led to a team-worst 100 turnovers, and he had a tendency to disappear at times during games, but if he leaves, UCLA will have a hole at small forward. If he returns, UCLA may be a top-five team.
C-Joshua Smith, So., 6-10, 305
A wide-bodied inside player who is almost impossible to stop at the post, Smith steadily improved this season and averaged 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds. He dominated inside at times as there is nobody in the country who can match up with him down low. He also has soft hands and the ability to make passes out of the paint, which makes him a difficult player to stop with double teams. Youth and inexperience held him back early in the season, when foul problems cost him quite a bit of playing time, and he averaged only 21.7 minutes this season. His lack of conditioning contributed to those low minutes and haunted him throughout the season as he often missed point-blank shots simply because he didn't have the energy to dunk. He worked hard to get in shape last offseason, losing 40-50 pounds, and if he makes similar strides this summer he has the potential to be the best big man in the country next season.
G-Malcolm Lee, Sr., 6-5, 200
The team's unquestioned MVP, Lee can do it all. He was second on the team in scoring with 13.1 points a game and one of the top defensive players in the Pac-10, if not the country. He is a tireless worker whose energy level never waned. He is quick and athletic and is the best player on the team at creating shots for himself. His defensive instincts are second to none and he routinely matched up with opponent's top scorers and routinely shut them down. He could use a little more consistency on his outside shot (29 percent on three-pointers) and, as a team captain, you'd like him to take more of a vocal leadership role, instead of merely leading by example. He underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, but is expected to make a full recovery, and should pick up where he left off.
G-Lazeric Jones, Sr., 6-0, 187
A junior college transfer from Chicago, Jones brought an immediate toughness and on-court leadership presence to the Bruins, who lacked that the previous season. He's not a flashy point guard with elite speed and quickness, but he looked as if he was developing in to a nice offensive compliment to UCLA's strong front-court until the injury bug bit. He averaged 11.1 points on 42 percent shooting, including 38.9 percent on three-pointers, before crashing to the floor with a severely sprained wrist on Feb. 2. After that he averaged 5.6 points on 27 percent shooting and 26.8 percent on three-pointers. If the wrist was indeed the problem, he should be a valuable weapon because of his ability to get to the basket, get to the free throw line and hit outside shots.
G-Jerime Anderson, Sr., 6-2, 183
The team's most improved player, Anderson averaged 5.1 points and became an increasingly valuable player off the bench as the season went on. He lead the team with a 38.7 three-point shooting percentage and provided steady floor leadership with a team-best 1.78 assist-to-turnover ratio. He averaged 20.1 minutes, easily the most of any bench player, and started three games when UCLA a three-guard lineup for matchup reasons. He figures to play a similar role next season unless he can wrest the starting job from Jones.
C-Anthony Stover, So., 6-10, 235
Stover's numbers won't stand out: He averaged less than a point a game and 1.5 rebounds in eight minutes a game. Still he was an invaluable role player for the Bruins because of his tenacious defense inside. Easily UCLA's top post defender, he managed 28 blocked shots in his limited time--a number that would equal more than three blocks a game and put him in the top 10 nationally with 30 minutes a game. As he develops more of an offensive game, he will earn more playing time and become even more valuable.
F-Brendan Lane, Jr. 6-9, 223
A versatile reserve, Lane played power forward, small forward and center at times this season and averaged three points and 3.1 rebounds in 15.4 minutes. He started the season strong, averaging five points and 5.1 rebounds through the first 12 games, but tailed off once Pac-10 play started and his confidence began to wane. He had a solid NCAA tournament game against Michigan State with eight points and four rebounds which should help start the confidence rebuilding process. He needs to add some bulk in the offseason in order to better contend with bigger players and if he does, he should earn more minutes.
G-Tyler Lamb, So., 6-5, 200
A versatile swing man who plays shooting guard and small forward, Lamb will be relied upon a lot more should Honeycutt decide to leave school. He's an outstanding on-ball defender and often took on the opponents' top player when Lee needed a rest. His offensive game got off to a slow start when he made only four of 19 shots in the first two games, including one of 10 three-pointers, and he never regained confidence in his stroke. Look for him to be a much more dynamic scorer after a summer of working on his shooting touch.
F-David Wear, So., 6-10, 225
A transfer from North Carolina, Wear will be eligible to play next season after sitting out this season because of NCAA transfer rules. He's a former high school All-American who can play power forward or small forward. During his season at North Carolina and averaged 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in limited action. He has good shooting range, as he made eight of 16 three-point attempts and is a good defender. He'll help fill the void if Honeycutt leaves.
F-Travis Wear, So., 6-10, 220
Like his twin brother David, Travis say out after transferring from North Carolina, but has a year of practice in Ben Howland's program under his belt. He averaged 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10 minutes a game for the Tar Heels and earned defensive player of the game three times during his season at North Carolina. He'll compete for minutes at power forward.
G-Norman Powell, Fr., 6-2, 175
A shooting guard who coach Ben Howland called "as athletic as anyone on our team." Powell comes out of Lincoln High in San Diego where he averaged 20.4 points last season and led his team to the state Division II title in 2010. He's got good quickness to create shots and is considered an excellent defender. If he improves his outside shot (30 percent on three-pointers the last two years) he should be able to make an immediate impact next season.