By Jeff Goodman
UCLA's frontline is loaded, but it won't matter if Lazeric Jones doesn't perform.
Case in point: the Bruins loss to Loyola Marymount in the season-opener. Yes, the same LMU team that followed up with a setback to Middle Tennessee State.
The Wear Twins combined for 24 points and 13 boards in their debut back home - and Reeves Nelson was solid with 13 points and eight rebounds.
But it's tough to win without guard play.
Lazeric Jones was just 1-for-11 for three points. He had three assists and three turnovers in 32 minutes.
Then you've got big man Josh Smith, who wasn't very bright with his post-game tweet disrespecting LMU after he had just put up five points and four boards in 16 minutes.
Maybe we overrated UCLA. Again.
Sure, Nelson and Smith (when he gets in shape) are a potent duo up front - and the Wear Twins, while certainly not saviors, will help Ben Howland and the Bruins.
But a backcourt of Lazeric Jones and Tyler Lamb may not be enough.
This team won't endure the same start as the 2009-10 team did when it began the season with a loss to Cal State Fullerton and found itself 2-6 after setbacks to Portland, Butler, Long Beach State, Kansas and Mississippi State.
But I'm also not convinced this group measures up to the one that went 23-11 a year ago.
Not unless Jones steps up.
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