UCLA’s thin frontcourt received the big boost Tuesday afternoon.
The NCAA cleared freshman forward Wanaah Bail to play the 2013-14 season, clearing up a summer of doubt surrounding the former Texas Tech signee’s eligibility. The former three-star recruit adds depth to the Bruins three weeks away from the team’s Nov. 8 season opener against Drexel.
“We are grateful that this matter has come to a conclusion and are very happy for Wanaah,” head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “I know that Wanaah is excited to get on the floor with his teammates, and we’re all looking forward to him beginning his collegiate career at UCLA this season.”
Bail signed to play for the Red Raiders in 2012, but left that summer. His development within UCLA’s schemes has been delayed a by June 28 surgery on his left knee, but the Bruins don’t have another player like him on the roster.
While he has yet to be cleared to practice, the 215-pound forward’s skill set gives him a chance to carve out a significant role — especially for a team that ranked last in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin (-1.6) last year. At Lamar Consolidated High in Rosenberg, Texas, Bail averaged 18.5 points and 12.0 boards on his way to winning All-District 23-4A MVP.
UCLA senior forwards Travis and David Wear aren’t nearly as athletic, and sophomore big man Tony Parker doesn’t have the same ability to stretch the floor.
“We need him out there,” Alford said of Bail. “We need to get him out there practicing.”