Luckily, the core of the team was coming back and, just in time, adding some freshmen firepower. Though there was optimism before this season, thing sting of 2015-16 was still fresh.
Part of that had to do with how the Bruins ended the season. UCLA was not deep and often appeared unorganized or unprepared to make in-game decisions.
That led to several games where the Bruins just could not finish and often ran out of gas. This season it appears as if that experience (and a bit of a chip on their shoulders) is being carried over by the veterans who are using that knowledge to show off their talents this year.
Bryce Alford has become a true veteran leader. Last week he led the charge in a record breaking performance as his nine three-pointers (a single-game UCLA record) were part of the team’s 19 (also a single-game record). Alford has been through good times and bad with UCLA and now that he tastes success again, he is thriving.
Isaac Hamilton has stepped up his production the last few games. He started Pac-12 play in a bit of a funk, but has been roaring back. Against Arizona State, he tied Alford’s nine 3-pointers on his way to 33 points.
Thomas Welsh may be slightly overshadowed by freshman TJ Leaf, but that has not stopped him from getting 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. At 7-feet tall, he is developing a shot that is near automatic from the baseline and is becoming a reliable shooter among many on this team.
Though only a sophomore, Aaron Holiday knows exactly what it feels like to end the season horribly and is using that to his advantage. It can be argued that he is the best 6th Man in the nation, which could help Holiday make a case to be a NBA Draft selection.
All of this put together has helped lead UCLA to a 19–1 record. With these four vets all averaging over 10 points per game, UCLA is maintaining their uptempo offense, which is also powered by the highest field goal percentage among all diviosn I teams.
The Bruins have so much talent that a few can take a game off (which we do not recommend). The point is, any one of these players can take over a game and that is why the experience of the veterans will help UCLA as they head toward the post-season. Go Bruins!