Los Angeles, CA – In Pac-12 college basketball action, UCLA (12-9, 4-4) avenged an embarrassing loss earlier this season to Utah (16-4, 6-2) by attacking the rim and protecting the ball en route to a 69-59 victory. UCLA made 18 free throws (vs. Utah’s 6 made FTs), many resulting from aggressive drives, and committed only six turnovers (vs. 14 for Utah). Normal Powell led the Bruins with 23 points, Isaac Hamilton added 11 and Bryce Alford netted 14 with seven assists. Utah’s star guard Delon Wright had 15 pts and six boards.
“We took the transition game away from them,” said UCLA head coach Steve Alford. “That was a huge difference from game one to game two.”
Powell (6’4, 215) is a likely late first or early second round 2015 NBA draft pick. He is a smart defender and can score coming off screens, spotting up and driving to the cup. He also held Wright in check throughout most of the contest.
“We wanted him (Delon Wright) to take contested jump shots, force him to pick up the ball and swing it around the perimeter,” said Powell. The senior SG provides timely veteran leadership for UCLA and will likely earn another honorable mention or first team selection to the All Pac-12 Defensive Team this year.
UCLA Freshman Kevin Looney (6’9), a likely NBA lottery pick, scored below his season average (13 ppg) but was very active defensively with three steals and several deflections. Looney has solid footwork in the paint, skilled hands and is a crafty rebounder averaging 10 boards this year. Looney, whose length and athleticism is a big plus, would still benefit from adding bulk and strength to his lanky frame as he transitions to the NBA.
Utah’s freshman sensation Jakob Poeltl (7’0, 235) has emerged as a likely 2015 or 2016 NBA first round pick. He did not play much in the second half as he aggravated a sprained ankle he suffered on January 21st versus Washington State. Still, he managed to score eight points on 4-of-4 shooting in 25 minutes. Poeltl has a high basketball IQ, great hands and footwork, and runs the floor and rebounds very well. He’s averaging 9 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 blocks and is shooting 64 percent from the field in just 23 minutes per game while sharing playing time with Dallin Bachynski.
Delon Wright (6’5, 190) is another 2015 NBA first round pick. The senior PG is a versatile playmaker, great defender and can score off the bounce or catch-n-shoot. Last year Wright earned All Pac-12 Overall and Defensive Team honors, finishing 10th in the nation in steals per game. His 82 steals were second only to Andre Miller’s single-season Utah mark of 84. He’s averaging nearly six assists this year while shooting at a 55 percent clip. Wright will need to improve this shooting range for the NBA game since he’s only hitting on 26 percent on 3-pointers in his time at Utah.
Any international players interested in coming to the USA to play in college, prep school or high school can contact us here. We are looking for interns and sales associates. If you’re interested contact us and forward your resume.