UCLA benches Tony Parker against WSU, starts Jonah Bolden

UCLA forward Jonah Bolden (left) will make his second start against Washington State, replacing senior big man Tony Parker. (Steve McCrank/Staff)

UCLA forward Jonah Bolden (left) will make his second start against Washington State, replacing senior big man Tony Parker. (Steve McCrank/Staff)

UCLA will start forward Jonah Bolden against Washington State this, shaking up the starting lineup in an attempt to fix the team’s defensive struggles.

The sophomore is making just his second start of the season, moving up over senior big man Tony Parker. After Thursday’s 86-84 loss to Washington, head coach Steve Alford said that the team’s “big-big” lineup of Parker and sophomore center Thomas Welsh was becoming too ineffective in getting stops.

“It’s not working,” he said. “We’re slow. We’re not reacting to things.”

After the game, Alford agreed that UCLA (12-9, 3-5) looked more effective when it paired Bolden, who is an inch taller than the 6-foot-9 Parker but 40 pounds lighter, with Welsh. The sophomore played 26 minutes against the Huskies and led the game with 11 rebounds, just the third time this season that he hit double digits in that category.

“We got to more balls,” Alford said. “We pursued things with more urgency. We were much more athletic. That’s something we’ve got to look at.”

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  • j metaphor

    Bench Parker, problem solved

    • Laker Rod

      Problem solved? I dont think so. Parker was the No 26 overall prospect back in 2012. Might want to start asking yourself why Steve Alford and the UCLA asst coaches can’t develop/motivate the appropriate personnel on their squad.

      • JustOwns

        One, Parker wasn’t realistically, the 26th overall prospect. I’m sure Parker is a good kid, but his BB sense is right up there with Kwame Brown’s.

        Two, it’s tough to make a silk purse………

        The lineup change should have come earlier, but Alford’s options were limited due to other player injuries.

        Parker move to 2nd shift duty benefits Parker, because he may not be mature enough to handle the stress of UCLA BB program expectation. Some people mature faster than others.

        Now that Parker is no longer the Senior Guy, there is less stress and maybe his focus and D game will improve.

        • Laker Rod

          I guess he wasn’t. Anybody who goes to UCLA isn’t as highly ranked as they should be apparently. Or maybe just maybe it’s simply because the UCLA coaching staff is a complete joke and they can never get the players to play with any consistency.

          • j metaphor

            Thank you, Redshirt Rod.
            I guess my point is that my problem is solved because I don’t have to watch Parker start when the entire balance of the team has no confidence in him. A pass to Parker goes into the Roach Motel. It doesn’t go in the hoop and it doesn’t go back out to the shooters. At least now we will see if benching Parker energizes this team. My guess is that it does.

          • Laker Rod

            You still have to watch the UCLA coaches coach the basketball team. Problem not solved. Sorry

    • 88 Straight

      Not quite that simple.

      While Parker has been very inconsistent, take note that Bryce Alford also only took 5 shots. When the group plays as a team and actually attempts to play defense, good things happen. This has been a poorly coached team all year long with a head coach rewarding his son’s bad defense by playing him 38 minutes per game. So yes, substituting Bolden for Parker paid dividends, particularly on defense. However, let’s not forget that we were playing Washington State. The proof in the pudding will be in the next 3 road games, SC, Arizona and ASU.

      And as far as the coaches not doing their job motivating Parker, I agree up to a point. Parker was highly overrated as the #26 prospect in the country. I saw him play in high school and he simply was not very athletic, didn’t move that well and played well below the rim. Taller players gave him trouble. Overall, I think the coaching staff has done a very poor job. I also think Parker was not as good as rated coming out of high school.

    • Laker Rod

      So benching Parker solved the problem? I guess not. Lost to USC.