A year ago, Travis Wear finished as one of the Pac-12′s leading rebounders — at least on one end of the court. The UCLA forward ranked second with 2.87 offensive boards per game, behind only Colorado’s Andre Roberson.
This season, that number has dipped to a paltry 1.52 per game. He isn’t sure why.
“I don’t know. I feel like I’m making an effort to go to the boards,” Wear said. “I just need to make even more of an effort now. I think I was getting three a game at this point last year. I’m not getting that right now, but I’m capable of it.”
The 6-foot-10 junior is averaging 16.7 points over his past seven games, and agreed that — armed with renewed confidence in his jump shot — he is using his face-up game even more than he did last year. He added that it shouldn’t affect his tenacity on the offensive glass, and it’s a part of his game that he hopes to rectify soon.
“He’s a very good offensive rebounder,” head coach Ben Howland said. “It’s just a focus he has to have in his mind that he can go do it.”
Rebounding has been a problem for most of the team, with freshman point forward Kyle Anderson (9.1 rebounds) being the lone exception. The Bruins are currently rank ninth in the conference in rebounding margin (+2.5); after being beaten on the boards for seven straight games, UCLA spent nearly half of practice time on defensive rebounding and boxing out.
Both Howland and players still cringe when they recall a first-half moment against Oregon last Saturday. Less than five minutes into the game, the Ducks grabbed four straight offensive rebounds in 20 seconds — taking a jumper and three 3-pointers before Anderson stole the ball.
“I was pretty mad,” said Shabazz Muhammad, who was sitting on the bench during that sequence. “I was like, I would’ve went down there and gotten the rebound. … I don’t know how that happened. That was something I’ve never seen before. Nobody was boxing out. I think it was an effort thing.”