Wear twins feel comfortable on the court
As members of the last group of McDonald's All-Americans to hail from California, David and Travis Wear were expected by many to immediately come in and put their stamp on the UCLA basketball program after their transfer from North Carolina.
Things don't always go according to plan.
After averaging a combined five points in 20 minutes of action in their lone season in Chapel Hill, the twins were victims of unrealistic expectations.
"After missing a year and a half, you can work out as much as you want but nothing can simulate, nothing can prepare you for games," Travis said. "I think we were pressing in the beginning."
Said David: "I was hoping that I was going to be able to get off to a good start right away, but I knew there was definitely going to be a transition period where it was going to take me a little while just to become reacclimated to the college game."
David averaged only 5.3 points per game in the Bruins first five games. David sat out one of those games because of a concussion, and the Bruins were 1-4 out of the gate. The lone win came against Division II Chaminade in the game David didn't play.
Travis was better, averaging 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in his first eight games, but he was slowed after a snorkeling accident in Maui. He then missed two games and had to be hospitalized with a foot infection on the same foot he injured snorkeling in Maui.
Bruins fans weren't impressed with their play to start and went to the message boards to say so. The twins never paid attention to the naysayers.
"I stay off the message boards and stuff like that, but sometimes you'll see a headline or something on (the internet) and it sucks to see that stuff," Travis said. "But you just got to keep your head down and keep focusing on what you're doing. You can't let that stuff affect you."
Tyler Lamb was a high school teammate of the Wears at Mater Dei and had no doubt they would return to form and prove the critics wrong.
"Knowing them, I know it just added fuel to the fire," Lamb said. "It's not like anybody is trying to go out there and play bad. I know that they were trying, and it's coming around for them and they're showing it with their numbers. I've always known what they can do and what they're capable of, and I believe in them 100 percent."
When UCLA (10-7, 3-2 Pac-12) takes on Oregon State (11-7, 1-5 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (televised on Prime Ticket), the twins will take the court in Corvallis trying to show more of what they're capable of. They're playing as well as they've played all season.
Travis was a candidate to be conference player of the week after his 19-point, eight-rebound performance against USC. He's averaging 18.3 points and shooting 67.9 percent from the field during the Bruins current three-game win streak. He's the team's leading scorer in conference play, 13.6 points per game.
David, UCLA's leading rebounder, has scored in double figures in seven of the past 10 games.
Their added production is a result of their comfort level.
"We wanted to get to the point to where we are now so fast that it was kind of hurting us a little bit," Travis said. "But now, as we become more comfortable and we're just taking our time, it's a lot easier. It feels good."
Added David: "I'm much more relaxed (and) not really thinking as much, just playing the game and basically just letting the game come to me. I was confident that my game was going to come around. I just needed to get some games under my belt and get more comfortable, and that's exactly what happened."
The Wears were never oblivious to the rough patch that started the season. They communicated about it but never with words.
"We both (knew). We kind of just look at each other and we know what each other is thinking. We know how each other feels," said David.
Those, surely, are positive feelings these days.