When Tony Parker came west to join the UCLA Bruins, he brought plenty of hype with him for his freshman season last year. But his impact on the Bruins’ season was minimal at best as he averaged just six minutes per game and never found a role under former coach Ben Howland. With a new coach in Steve Alford, however, Parker is ready to have a big sophomore season in Westwood.
The 6-foot-9 center figures to be a significant piece of Alford’s gameplan this season as he brings size and skill the five-position and has gotten in much better shape for this upcoming season than when he arrived on campus last year as a freshman. He has the ability to be a game-changer in the paint and on the glass and will get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do this season.
Paired up with UCLA’s “twin towers” in Travis Wear and David Wear, the Bruins should boast a formidable frontcourt against the Pac 12 this season. The Wear twins combined for 18 points per game a season ago to along with 10.2 rebounds per game making them established forces in the post. Alford also has the benefit of having Kyle Anderson back after he led the team in rebounds in 2012-13. With four skilled players at 6-foot-9 and above, UCLA should have a healthy rotation of bigs moving in and out throughout the season.
For Parker, that means he’ll have to seize the opportunities he’s provided. With four strong frontcourt players, Alford won’t be shy about shuffling guys around to get the best lineup possible on the floor. His stat line won’t be that outrageous, but Parker has the chance to be a major impact player for UCLA. Can Parker seize the moment and make the most of this opportunity? If he does, look for the Georgia-born big man to have a great sophomore season.