- Last Season: 21-12, Lost in NCAA Tournament First Four
- Notable Losses: Aaron Holiday, Thomas Welsh, Shareef O’Neal (freshman, heart ailment)
- Notable Additions: Moses Brown, Jules Bernard
If not for the scary and highly unfortunate heart condition that will keep star freshman Shaeerf O’Neal (son of Shaquille O’Neal) out of action for the UCLA Bruins in the 2018-19 college basketball season, Steve Alford’s group could well have been close to cracking the top 10. While not having him certainly takes away someone who would have been one of their key contributors, this is still an abundantly talented team.
With 2018 NBA first-round pick Aaron Holiday, who averaged over 20 points per game for the Bruins last season, now gone, the backcourt for the Bruins now largely belongs to Kris Wilkes. He flirted with the NBA Draft as well, but returned after averaging 13.7 points per game last season. Joined by Jaylen Hands, who many expect to make a jump, and solid depth with Prince Ali, the backcourt is solid for this team.
Where they have immense upside is on the interior, which starts with 7-foot-1 freshman Moses Brown. What Brown is going to be able to contribute offensively at this point remains to be seen, but the youngster should immediately be a defensive stalwart on the interior.
Alford’s UCLA team isn’t going to be as good as they would have been with O’Neal, but they are still going to be a tough squad this season that should well compete in the Pac-12.