UCLA guard Kyle Anderson says this is his last college season

Ronald Martinez

The lanky Bruins guard has made his post-college intentions known before the season even starts.

UCLA Bruins sophomore Kyle Anderson has said that this season will be his final collegiate season, ESPN reported on Monday.

The announcement seemingly means that Anderson intends to declare for the draft in 2014, after forgoing the 2013 draft to return for his sophomore year. He isn't the first college player to make an announcement so early, with Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart already making it quite clear that he will enter the draft in 2014.

"Kyle has made great strides in his mental approach to the game and his work ethic since being at UCLA," his father, Kyle Anderson Sr., told ESPN.com. "The major deficiencies in his overall game are his lack of strength, quickness and explosion, and inconsistent shooting. We feel that both of which can be addressed more efficiently with more time and repetition. It's more than likely that it will be time for Kyle to move on at the end of this college season."

Anderson was initially the jewel of Ben Howland's final recruiting class at UCLA. The 6'8 guard from Jersey City, N.J., was ranked as high as No. 3 by Rivals, but his college career got off to a rocky start when the NCAA opened an investigation into his eligibility before the season began.

Anderson spent much of his final summer before college waiting alongside Shabazz Muhammad to find out whether the NCAA would allow them to play. Eventually, the NCAA declared them eligible.

After Muhammad committed to the Bruins, however, Anderson went from the top option to second fiddle. He was fourth on the team with 9.7 points per game, but led the team in rebounds with an 8.6 average. He showed great vision for a big man, averaging 3.5 assists per game, but Howland didn't showcase that talent very well. Despite the criticisms of a questionable perimeter shot and defensive abilities, many NBA executives believed Anderson would have been taken in the 2013 draft.

But as Eamonn Brennan with ESPN writes, just because Anderson's dad said he is leaving doesn't mean Anderson actually has to jump to the pros. If he is injured or the season doesn't go according to plan, he can always return to UCLA, most likely without any hard feelings. Now the pressure is on Anderson to show he can perform and that he has improved his basketball deficiencies -- especially considering how strong the 2014 NBA Draft is expected to be compared to the 2013 draft.

The real question is whether he can close the deal in time. Can he showcase some improved shooting? Can he be more than a matchup-based change of pace at point guard, and be a viable, collected team leader at the position instead? Can he leverage his size for more than surface impressions? Can he guard? Can he be a two-way threat? Can he combine his skills into an effective package -- can he be more than the sum of his own individual parts?

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