UCLA Week: Players Not ReturningPosted by AMurawa on August 14th, 2012
Last year the Bruins started two seniors in their backcourt, ensuring that the 2012-13 squad would have a new batch of guards. But along with those graduating seniors, three different Bruin frontcourt players that earned time in 2011-12 are no longer with the program. Below we’ll break down those five players in roughly the order of the degree to which they’ll be missed.
Lazeric Jones – He spent just two seasons in Westwood after transferring in from a Chicago junior college, but Jones had a very solid career for the Bruins. In his first year he stepped right into the point guard role and provided much-needed stability along with a capacity for putting the ball in the hole himself when he needed to. Playing with talented wing players like Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee, Jones led the team in assists, steals and free throw percentage while chipping in a respectable nine points per game. As a senior, he gladly took on the role of playing off of the ball more as classmate Jerime Anderson took over most of the lead guard duties. Jones again adjusted well to his new role, picking up more of the scoring duties (he led the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game), while still leading the team in assists from the two-guard slot. He also led the team in minutes and, along with Anderson, took on a leadership role for a team that was in disarray following their disastrous start amid serious chemistry problems. While he won’t go down on the list of all-time UCLA greats at the point, he overachieved in his time in Westwood and displayed a heart and toughness that endeared him to Bruin fans — his leadership will be missed.
Jerime Anderson – Anderson’s career at UCLA was, in a very generous word, underwhelming. At one point considered a four-star recruit and the #5 point guard in the 2008 recruiting class, it quickly became quite apparent that he was not all he was cracked up to be. After mostly sitting behind veteran Darren Collison in his freshman season, Anderson was the heir apparent to the point guard position in 2009-10. But he struggled with his shot, turnovers and, most obviously, defense early in that year, and as the Bruins’ losses piled up, his minutes decreased. In 2010-11, both his expectations and minutes were fewere. But in a fine bit of redemption, Anderson was actually a very solid player last season for the Bruins. As a whole, his college career is a case of unwarranted expectations that had no chance of being met turning into expectations so low that his almost nine points per game and turnovers on 20% of used possessions qualifies as a feel-good story.Anthony Stover – Stover never averaged more than nine minutes per game in his two seasons of action with the Bruins, but when he was kicked off the team last week for his failure to, you know, remain academically eligible, UCLA lost a fan favorite. Offensively, Stover was – well, he was a good defender. Let’s not kick a man while he’s down. At 6’10” with a good wingspan, Stover was adept at blocking shots, swatting more than 18% of opponents’ two-point attempts while he was in the game. He was also a solid rebounder who rarely failed to deliver plenty of energy. But, realistically, with Joshua Smith and Tony Parker already more or less locked in to the five spot, Stover was on the outside of the rotation looking in.
Brendan Lane – A good kid who never quite found a role for himself in Ben Howland’s rotation, Lane, who finished his undergraduate degree in the spring, will head west and play for Pepperdine next season. A big body who was a good but not great rebounder, a little slow and a little tentative, Lane earned some minutes in his freshman and sophomore years, but last year found just six minutes per game waiting for him in his 19 appearances. With his degree on the way and no role apparent as a senior, he bolted to Malibu where he’ll likely play a major role for the Waves.
Reeves Nelson – Enough has been written about Nelson for a career, but suffice it to say that the forward who played just six games with the Bruins as a junior is a collegiate player no more.