The UCLA Bruins (20-7, 10-4 Pac-12) are under as much pressure, if not more, than any other team in the nation. Whether it is head coach Ben Howland coaching for his job while Bill Walton does his best to behead the man from the broadcasting booth, or Shabazz Muhammad getting the scorn of casual fans because he likes to rock a fancy man-purse, all eyes are going to be on the Bruins when the NCAA Tournament gets underway in a few weeks.
Although, a lot of those same eyes are not looking at another Bruin who is as vital as the aforementioned UCLA members, Larry Drew II. Drew, a fifth-year senior, provides experience and leadership to a very young UCLA team. While his seven points and seven assists per game won’t wow anyone, it is his unseen leadership that has helped the Bruins earn 20 wins with four regular season games still left to be played.
In UCLA’s latest victory, another freshman sensation talked about Drew after the game. Kyle Anderson, the other freshman, had this to say about Drew:
“Larry Drew just did a great job of being a leader and holding us together and making sure nobody does anything stupid. So thank God we have great leaders.”
When two of your main players are freshmen, indeed, having great leaders from preventing the young players from doing stupid things is a swell and great thing to have. Without Drew, I don’t know how Howland, or the youth-filled Bruins would be holding up through a highly critical year for all involved.
The freshmen are playing with their draft stock in mind, Howland is coaching for his career, all while Drew is out there, leading, helping his team win and fight to keep Bill Walton’s gullet closed for as long as possible.
And for that, we thank Drew.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone