A day after falling to the No. 1 Florida Gators in the Sweet 16, the UCLA Bruins learned that freshman Zach LaVine will join teammate Kyle Anderson by entering his name into the 2014 NBA Draft, LaVine's father told the Los Angeles Daily News.
LaVine, the 6'5, 180-pound freshman, leaves school after a relatively topsy-turvy season. The silky swingman finished with averages of 9.4 points on 44 percent shooting to go with 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, as his draft stock went through a massive rise in the nonconference season before leveling off as the Bruins worked their way through the Pac-12 schedule.
LaVine, who recently turned 19 years old, is projected to be taken at the end of the first round in DraftExpress' 2014 mock draft, and his father told the Daily News that NBA scouts are looking at him as a 22-year-old in determining his value.
Between returning swingmen like Norman Powell, Jordan Adams and incoming freshman Isaac Hamilton, there might be a good reason for LaVine not to stick around. Both LaVine's father, Paul LaVine, and his godfather told the Daily News they were disappointed in how Bruins coach Steve Alford utilized their son.
"It's like a marriage," Paul LaVine said. "If it doesn't work out, you get a divorce. I don't blame anybody."
Zach's godfather, Marvin Carter, credited Alford with coaching up the Bruins through their late-season run, but said he remains disappointed that his godson was left "in limbo" - rarely even given enough feedback.
UCLA moves on with enough help at the swingman positions to be healthy in depth, even after losing LaVine and sophomore point forward Kyle Anderson to the NBA.
LaVine started the year off averaging 14.2 points and shooting above 50 percent from three-point range, and he scored in double figures in nine of his first 10 games.
But the numbers began to tail off, and LaVine only scored in double figures four times in the final two months of the 2013-14 season.
While LaVine's rail-thin frame won't be able to hold up well in the NBA at present, especially on the defensive end, he has already shown a pro-level scoring ability. Even in coming back down to earth as the year progressed, LaVine shot 38 percent from three-point range and showed elite-level athleticism, especially in UCLA's fast-paced offense.