UCLA basketball roster 2023-24: Beginning lineup prediction, bench rotation, depth outlook

For the primary 4 years of Mick Cronin’s tenure, it felt like UCLA had found the fountain of continuity. At the same time as school basketball reworked amid a proliferation of transfers, the Bruins stayed collectively. Gamers like Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez, David Singleton and Jules Bernard helped steadily construct this system again right into a 30-game winner and Pac-12 champion.

Now, all of the well-known faces of Cronin’s rebuild have departed. The highest 5 scorers from final season’s roster are gone. Simply 4 scholarship gamers are returning, and reserve heart Kenneth Nwuba is the one one with greater than a season of taking part in expertise in a UCLA uniform.

However as an alternative of going exhausting within the switch portal to exchange departing veterans with extra veterans, Cronin and his workers took a unique strategy. The Bruins signed seven freshmen, marking a brand new period for this system’s ultimate season within the Pac-12. Former Utah wing Lazar Stefanovic is the one incoming switch.

The technique stands in distinction to trendy roster-building norms and can take a look at Cronin’s teaching contact because the Bruins additionally welcome three new assistants. As offseason participant motion cycle lastly ends, it is time to begin breaking down the rosters of the game’s prime applications. For this installment, we’re looking at UCLA and attempting to decipher what its lineup may appear to be when the season begins. With so many new faces, this will solely be thought of the tough define of a roster that may see roles and rotations settled within the weeks and months forward.

Projected beginning lineup

1. Dylan Andrews

6-2 | 175 | So.

A former top-50 prospect, Andrews gained precious expertise final season off the bench and may very well be a Pac-12 breakout star as he steps into the purpose guard position vacated by Campbell. Given this system’s inflow of latest gamers, Cronin wants Andrews to orchestrate the offense and embrace a large enhance in duty following the departures of a number of program leaders.

2. Will McClendon

6-3 | 200 | R-So.

McClendon logged 9.4 minutes in 27 appearances final season after coming back from a knee damage that sidelined him for everything of his true freshman season. The previous four-star prospect could have an opportunity to carve out a better position, however that is not a given. He was a part of the rotation on the group’s abroad journey however not a big producer.

3. Lazar Stefanovic

6-7 | 185 | Jr.

With 62 profession appearances and 33 begins beneath his belt at Utah, Stefanovic is that this group’s veteran lynchpin. The versatile Serbian does a little bit little bit of every little thing and needs to be a steadying affect after logging large minutes in Pac-12 battles for the Utes. He performed greater than anybody else on the group in the course of the Spain journey and it might be no shock if he is the minutes chief on the finish of the season.

4. Aday Mara

7-3 | 240 | Fr.

Mara is producing 2024 NBA Draft lottery buzz however stays considerably mysterious as an 18-year-old who has confronted questionable competitors. A stat line of 14 factors, 9.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a couple of.7 blocks per contest throughout Spain’s seven video games within the FIBA U18 European Championships this summer season present ample purpose for optimism. If Cronin can work out how one can maximize Mara’s monumental body alongside returning heart Adem Bona, it may make UCLA a matchup nightmare.

5. Adem Bona

6-10 | 245 | So.

Bona earned Pac-12 Freshman of the 12 months honors after averaging 7.7 factors, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 22.9 minutes per recreation. The previous five-star prospect hit 67.5% of his pictures, which ranked second within the convention. As the one returning starter, he needs to be in line for an offensive manufacturing leap throughout his sophomore season. No matter how that performs out, Bona’s protection is important to this group’s success.


Berke Buyuktuncel

6-9 | 215 | Fr.
Buyuktuncel averaged 11.4 factors and 5.3 rebounds whereas capturing 34.8% from 3-point vary in seven video games for Turkey throughout this 12 months’s U19 World Cup. When he signed, Cronin famous that he’s a very good scorer and creator who “has additionally developed an identification as a defensive stopper.” Search for that versatility to assist Buyuktuncel earn early minutes. 

“With Jaime Jaquez having graduated within the spring, we had been trying to find a multi-dimensional participant with good dimension, and Berke suits that description,” Cronin stated. “He can do all of it on the basketball court docket.”

Sebastian Mack

6-3 | 195 | Fr.
Mack ranked because the No. 64 general prospect within the class and No. 10 capturing guard, per 247Sports. Throughout UCLA’s overseas journey, he confirmed his prowess as a bucket-getter by averaging 15.3 factors. 

“Sebastian is an explosive athlete and has developed into an elite scorer,” Cronin stated when he signed. The trick for Mack will probably be discovering effectivity throughout his freshman season. Given his explosive scoring means and the leash he was given on the overseas journey, it would not be surprising to see him steal a spot within the beginning lineup.

Kenneth Nwuba

 6-10 | 255 | R-Sr.
Now in his sixth 12 months, Nwuba has been at UCLA since earlier than Cronin’s arrival. He is largely been a task participant, and that is more likely to be the case once more in 2023-24, however Nwuba has delivered when referred to as upon to step up in vital moments through the years. On a group with such youth, he’ll be a useful chief who can present dimension and expertise off the bench.


Ilane Fibleuil

6-6 | 200 | Fr.
Fibleuil performed regular minutes throughout UCLA’s three-game overseas tour and produced combined outcomes. In a single recreation, he was 4 of 6 from the sphere, hit his solely 3-point try and pulled down six rebounds. However he additionally dedicated 11 turnovers over the three video games. He needs to be within the combine to say minutes. “Ilane has nice potential as a two-way participant,” Cronin stated when he signed. “He can shoot and slash and he defends at a excessive degree with nice anticipation abilities.”

Jan Vide 

6-6 | 200 | Fr.
Vide is a star within the Slovenian pipeline who will search to translate his gaudy worldwide numbers to the school recreation. He averaged 17.9 factors within the U19 World Cup this 12 months, although his outdoors shot is a piece in progress. Cronin described him as a “lead guard with nice dimension” and praised his talent within the decide and roll. 

“He is been very well-known and extremely regarded on the worldwide basketball scene, having received a number of awards in European competitors,” Cronin stated.

Devin Williams

6-10 | 200 | Fr.
Williams ranked because the No. 77 general participant and No. 15 energy ahead within the class, in accordance with 247Sports. Cronin described him as “a contemporary large man with talent and dimension” and lauded his successful pedigree from Centennial Excessive College in Corona, California.

Brandon Williams

6-7 | 215 | Fr.
Williams, who will not be associated to Devin Williams, ranked because the No. 66 general prospect and No. 14 energy ahead within the class, in accordance with 247Sports. When he signed, Cronin described Williams as a “large guard” and praised him for his passing means and flexibility. He is not going to flip 18 till after the season begins, making him one of many nation’s youngest freshmen after a standout prep profession at New York’s Christ The King Excessive College.

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