colo13fb (68)bcolo13fb (78)bTriple-Play Monday — Kyle Anderson notches a Triple-Double in UCLA’s 30-point Exhibition win over Cal State San Marcos

UCLA Basketball starts their real season this Friday against Drexel, but they have already tuned up with two 30-point victories.  Last week they beat Cal State San Bernardino, and last night, it was Cal State San Marcos.  The scores were 96-66 and 109-79.  Don’t put too much into these victories, as the opponents were severely out-sized and out-manned.  However, in the past, the Bruins have had occasion to struggle against some weak teams, so be happy that they managed two blowouts this year.

The Bruins so far are playing without two big men:  Travis Wear, and Freshman Wannah Bail.  Travis had his appendix out last week, and will return within the month.  Bail is also coming back from an injury, but won’t be as much of a huge factor as Travis will be.  To judge the Travis-less Bruins is near-futile, as their whole make-up and attack will change when TWear is in the game.  He could easily be one of their leading scorers and rebounders.

Travis or no Travis, the team belongs to Kyle Anderson.  Sure Jordan Adams is the main Offensive threat, but Anderson is running the team, controlling the pace, and cleaning up on the glass.  Last night, Anderson scored 22, with 12 Boards and 10 Assists, for a rare collegiate Triple-Double.  His all-around performance reminded me of a young Magic Johnson, especially some of his dishes to open players near the basket.  He also made both of his 3-point attempts.

Other positives:  Tony Parker is like a new man.  He is much less robotic and stiff, compared to last year.  He is starting to get a feel for the game, and starting to have better instincts.  Those instincts led to 16 Rebounds last night.  Of course, he is playing against Hobbits so far — Let’s see if he can keep it up against opponents who are not fun-sized.

Zach LaVine can dunk like you can on your 5-year old’s toy hoop.  Between him and Norman Powell, you will see highlight reel dunks all year, in every game, as if Russell Westbrook were back in town.  The Bruins will NEED the dunks, because so far, LaVine and the rest of the team are having trouble making outside shots.  That could be a problem, but the fast-paced transition game that they are executing will possibly ease the pain of a poor perimeter game.

Bryce Alford will make some good assists when he gets the chance to play… And most fans will be happy when he passes instead of shooting, as he too does not seem to have found the range yet.  He combined with LaVine to go 1-for-8 from behind the arc.  David Wear is showing that he will deserve plenty of playing time, even after his twin brother returns — DWear scored 21 last night, including 9 of 10 Free Throws, and added 8 Caroms.

So the Bruins pulled away easily from both their foes so far, but they still have a lot of work to do.  They have played some Zone on Defense, and it actually worked pretty well, but that does NOT mean that it will work against taller, more athletic teams.  When Travis Wear comes back and gives them more height, the Defense should benefit.  Better, stiffer tests loom on the horizon, but it’s okay to be optimistic with two blowouts under their belts  —  Optimistic, yes;  Super-confident, definitely not.  Not yet.

You can always be optimistic about the UCLA Cheerleaders, and here are 40 more shots from the Colorado game.  Click on the horizontal pics to ENLARGE them!!!