With a veteran wing at the door, the Bruins are clearly in the market for a replacement.
UCLA men’s basketball is one of the potential landing sites for Illinois transfer guard Jacob Grandison, said the winger John Rothstein of CBS Sports on Friday. Grandison is also considering USC, BYU, DePaul, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Kentucky, Oregon and Duke. Grandison is from Auckland, but went to high school 3,000 miles from Phillips Exeter (NH).
Grandison is a graduate transfer heading into his sixth year of college as he began his career at Holy Cross. After two years averaging 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in Worcester, Massachusetts, Grandison moved to Champaign, Illinois, and a red shirt for his first year with Fighting Illini.
Establishing himself as a part-time holder for Illinois in 2020-2021, Grandison averaged 4.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.3 minutes per game for the team that won the Big Ten tournament and won number 1 in the NCAA tournament. Grandison rose even higher in the rotation last season, averaging 9.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.0 minutes per game after Fighting Illini won the Big Ten title in the regular season.
Perhaps Grandison’s defining feature over the past few years has been his shooting on the perimeter, hitting 41.1% of his 3 points since joining Illinois while making 4.5 shots per game over the rainbow last season.
Grandison had already declared his 2022 NBA Draft, but he withdrew his name on May 29 and entered the NCAA transfer portal two days later.
The Bruins similarly made a player make his professional decision earlier in the week, but instead of losing it to the portal, they lost theirs in the draft. Guard Jules Bernard reaffirmed his commitment to become a professional this summer in an Instagram post on Wednesday night, leaving UCLA without one of the expected veterans for next season.
Bernard would have played his fifth season at Westwood if he had returned.
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Like Bernard, Grandison is 6 feet 6 and 205 pounds. Bernard may have played more games with 130, but Grandison is not behind with 124 games.
Coach Mick Cronin and his team have also been in contact with Kentucky transfer winger Keyon Brooks, according to a Rothstein report in May. The Bruins have three open scholarship places, with Bernard out of the picture and seem to give priority to long wings to fill those gaps.
Bernard, Johnny Juzang and Peyton Watson provided much of that length last season, but all three are heading to the NBA Draft. Jake Cayman also moved to Wyoming, so between him, Bernard and Juzang, the Bruins also lost three of their biggest scorers with 3 points.
Grandison will bring the same length and attempts for 3 points as Bernard, and with a higher efficiency of 33.7% of the video of the former Bruin from last season. Grandison had a 17.5 PER in his two years in Illinois, well in line with Bernard’s figure of 17.8 over the same period.
Between the two, Grandison has better rebound and assist rates, more 40-minute winning margins and better pros / cons in offensive and defensive boxing, although Bernard has a lower turnaround rate.
Although UCLA has room to add up to three players through the transfer portal in the coming weeks, they are unlikely to complete their entire list.
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