October 18, 2009

Hoops Leaps of faith - part III

Looking at the Pac 10 for this coming season, our focus turns to the very young, but talented, Bruins of Coach Ben Howland.

As we've seen, UCLA won't be the only team to be incredibly young this year. But it should be the best of those.

We reviewed the individual players in our previous article, setting up the basketball season. We'll keep it shorter here, and focus on the positives and questions.

Starting in the back court, the obvious question that jumps out at you is at point guard. There's only one on scholarship and he's a sophomore who played little a year ago - as would be expected standing behind senior and first-round draft pick Darren Collison.

That raised two obvious questions: how good will Jerime Anderson be at the point and who is going to be able to take over to give him time to rest and stay fresh during games?

The answer to the first question, I think, is he's going to be very good. But there are two caveats to that. First, he's not going to be a done-deal from the get-go; rather, he's going to develop and get better with time and experience. Second, he needs to improve his outside shooting so opponents can't just lay off him in the half court offense. He'll also be working to keep his dribble lower and, as with all Ben Howland players, to improve his defense.

Every assessment of Anderson's play out of high school and the AAU circuit made note of his high basketball IQ. Mistakes were limited and he was exemplary in nearly always making the right decision, getting the ball to the right guy at the right time. He's a pass-first true point and he's tough; those qualities convinced Howland to make Anderson a high priority recruiting target.

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