Just finished watching a replay of the game on the Pac-12 Network, since I missed much of the second half writing on deadline.
I have a few observations having covered the last two, very different games:
–Jordan Adams has far outperformed expectations. As the notebook states, Adams was the afterthought of this recruiting class but in Shabazz Muhammad’s absence, he’s been able to shine. He’s now the first UCLA freshman to score 20 points or more in each of his first three games and the first player to do it since Arron Afflalo in 2007. A lot of people saw Adams as just a shooter, which he is, but his physicality and ability to get to the rim have been more impressive.
–Good things happen when Kyle Anderson touches the ball. As Don MacLean noted on the broadcast, Anderson sees things on the court that not many others see. Certainly not anyone in a UCLA uniform in recent years. He pulled down nine rebounds in the first half alone and finished with 12. He may have only scored two points but he spun an entry pass to Tony Parker in the second half, after which I had to pick my jaw up from the floor. His reverse layup in the first half was pretty, too. He didn’t look at all bothered by the wrist injury.
–Because all three freshmen are contributing, UCLA is deep. There’s more depth on this team than any that I’ve been around since I got here in 2009. If Shabazz is eligible and Tyler Lamb is healthy, there are 10 guys that can score. All of a sudden, players that were relied on in recent years like Joshua Smith are in danger of becoming role players with guys like Tony Parker (12 points in 18 minutes last night) pushing him. The Bruins got 52 points (25 for Adams and 27 for Powell) from the wing position alone last night.
–James Madison is not a good basketball team. In fact, the Dukes are one of the worst I’ve seen. Howland mentioned that one of their best players was held out for unknown reasons and it was their first game of the season but this stage was far too big for them. UCLA was never losing that game.
Jack and I are hitting the mean streets of Brookly next week (I’ll be there for the Daily Bruin). Any restaurant suggestions are welcome.