|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 PM GMT10:00 PM 北京时间7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST, Nov 6, 2018
Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, California Attendance: 5,931
Ind.-Pur.-Ft. Wayne-UCLA Preview
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An influx of talented newcomers as well as the return of veterans poised for a breakout season spark optimism for No. 21-ranked UCLA, which tips off the 2018-19 season on Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion against Purdue Fort Wayne.
Youth comes in the form of a 2018 recruiting class, ranked No. 6 nationally per 247Sports.com composite metrics. The addition of touted freshmen --- headlined by 7-foot center Moses Brown -- pairs with returning guards Prince Ali (9.1 points, 3.1 rebounds in 2017-18), Jaylen Hands (9.9 points, 4 rebounds, 2.6 assists), and Kris Wilkes (13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds), and forward Alex Olesinski (4.5 points, 3.9 rebounds).
The first indicators that the mix of promising prospects and returners should mesh well came in the Bruins' exhibition game against NYIT. UCLA cruised while exhibiting depth that at times was glaringly lacking during the 2017-18 campaign.
"A huge key to the first half was the second flow of guys that came in and did a very good job defensively," Bruins coach Steve Alford said following the exhibition. "That's huge for us because especially with two or three of those guys being really young."
Opening-night opponent Fort Wayne comes to Westwood with a roster somewhat comparable in makeup to that of UCLA.
The Mastodons welcome eight newcomers to a roster as they try to replace guard Bryson Scott, who averaged a team-high 22.6 points per game in 2017-18.
To prepare the lineup for the Summit League slate, where Fort Wayne is picked to finish fourth in the preseason media poll, the Mastodons have put together a daunting non-conference schedule that begins with UCLA.
"Setting us up to go play at UCLA, at Ohio State, in a very good environment at Dayton, sets the tone for the competition level of what we can expect once we get there," Mastodons assistant coach Ryan Sims said at Summit League media day in October.
Fort Wayne played in the College Insider Tournament last season, marking the Mastodons' fifth consecutive trip to the postseason. They won the Summit League regular-season championship in 2016 to earn an automatic berth into the National Invitational Tournament.
Guard John Konchar averaged 13 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the Mastodons that season as a freshman, and returns for 2018-19 off an All-Summit League campaign in which he posted 14.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
Konchar's backcourt mate Kason Harrell is also back in the mix, coming off a junior season in which he averaged 13.5 points per game.
Although not facing nearly the same roster shake-up it endured a year ago -- which became a minor international incident with three freshmen arrested for shoplifting in China -- UCLA isn't without some tumult before tipping off.
Highly touted freshman forward Shareef O'Neal, son of Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, will not play this season after doctors discovered a heart condition requiring surgery.
Although O'Neal must sit out 2018-19, Alford said his career forecast will not be affected.
"He'll absolutely be back," Alford said at last month's Pac-12 media day. "Any kind of surgery is ... always something you're always concerned about. But everything he's been told, everything we've been told, the long-term is very, very good for him."
UCLA also lost freshman point guard Tyger Campbell to a torn ACL. Campbell was set to backup returner Jaylen Hands, who last season spelled All-Pac-12 performer and current Indiana Pacer Aaron Holiday.
Updated November 5, 2018