UCLA's Zach LaVine going to the NBA

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Latest in hoops: NCAA Tournament | Expert Brackets | Coaching Changes

UCLA has been expecting the NBA departure of Kyle Anderson for the entire season, but the status of freshman guard Zach LaVine was up in the air.

The answer came Friday morning, when LaVine's father told the Los Angeles Daily News that LaVine was going pro.

Paul LaVine said he's heard enough feedback from NBA scouts and personnel, and believes Zach -- who turned 19 this month -- would be better off long term if he leaves school.

"They love him," Paul said. "They're picturing him at 22."

LaVine's godfather, Marvin Carter, added: “Every year he spends at UCLA after this one is a waste. It really is.”

LaVine, a 6-foot-5 guard, is projected by many to be drafted in the latter half of the first round. He has terrific athleticism and attacking ability, and he knocked down perimeter shots consistently during the nonconference portion of the season. After scoring in double-figures in eight straight nonleague games, though, LaVine cooled off in Pac-12 play. He hit the double-figure mark eight times in the final three months, finishing with a combined 11 points in his final five games. LaVine has the potential to be an impact pro, but another year could have really helped.

He averaged 9.4 points and 2.5 rebounds on the season, shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range.

UCLA could deal with several personnel losses this offseason, with LaVine and the expected departure of Anderson. Travis and David Wear are seniors and will leave, as well. Steve Alford will be fine on the perimeter, with the return of starters of Jordan Adams and Norman Powell, and freshman sniper Bryce Alford. Tony Parker will take on a bigger role down low, but Alford also brings in plenty of reinforcements.

Former UTEP signee Isaac Hamilton could start immediately at the point guard spot. Five-star forward Kevon Looney will compete for a starting job right off the bat, and four-star frontcourt players Jonah Bolden and Thomas Welsh will also play major minutes.

UCLA finished 28-9 on the season, falling to Florida in the Sweet 16.

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