Wear breaks out of midseason slump
LOS ANGELES – Travis Wear found himself in a bit of a rut. After scoring in double figures in six of his first seven games to start the season, he failed to do so in his next five.
He wasn’t being himself. He was second guessing things on the court and on the offensive end he was being extremely passive –more than usual.
“I really didn’t like how I was playing individually,” Wear said.
He was nothing like he was in the beginning of the season or before the season for that matter.
“Against UNLV in our scrimmage which was closed to (the media), he was dominant,” Ben Howland said.
Caught in a funk, he was far from dominant. A 51 percent shooter on the year, Wear struggled to surpass the 50 percent clip during that five-game stretch where he averaged just 7.6 points per contest. His shooting percentage during that stretch was just 42 percent.
When then-No. 7 Missouri came to town, it provided a chance for UCLA to make a statement. The Bruins did, coming up with the upset win, and so did Wear.
Far from being bashful against a top-10 team in the country, Wear took and made shots at a high volume. He torched the Tigers for 22 points and nine rebounds.
That blazed the trail for his current streak. Wear was pivotal for the Bruins in their most recent road trip to the mountain region.
When the Bruins went stone cold and couldn’t buy a basket in the second half at Utah, it was Wear, who scored 10 of their 23 second half points.
He followed that up with a career high 23 points in the win at Colorado as the Bruins won their ninth game in a row and propelled themselves back into the top-25 rankings.
Over his last five games, he’s averaging 16.6 points per games and shooting 56 percent from the field.
“I think I’m just really focusing on being more aggressive, playing with confidence, not second guessing what I’m doing on the court, and just playing,” he said of his recent success.
While it appears he’s on a hot streak, he sees it differently.
“I just feel like this is what I am,” Wear said.
The 6’10” forward, who played his high school ball at Mater Dei, possesses a feathery jump shot and has made 15-foot jumpers look automatic as of late.
“I could score (with my) back to the basket but I prefer to face up and they’re just playing me one-on-one,” Wear said. “I just feel like I’m going to (my jumper) more. If bigs are going to play off I’m just going to keep shooting it.”
With all the attention giving to freshmen Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, and Shabazz Muhammad, there’s Wear as the team’s third leading scorer. He’s just ahead of Anderson and behind Muhammad and Adams, respectively, averaging 12 points per game for No. 24 UCLA.
Because of his recent hot streak, he may start to garner more attention from opposing defenses. The double teams haven’t come, but they certainly could be on their way. Although, Wear doesn’t seem to be concerned.
“We’ll see what happens but until then, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing,” he said.