LOS ANGELES -- UCLA, ranked No. 13 in the preseason Associated Press poll, has high hopes as the season is set to begin Friday against Indiana State. The Bruins will reopen a refurbished Pauley Pavilion with a roster filled with high-profile freshmen and a good mix of returning players.
Here is a quick look at the 2012-12 UCLA basketball team:
Tony Parker, freshman (6-foot-9, 275 pounds)
A high school All-American last season, Parker will get minutes as a backup at the post positions. He’s raw and still developing at this level, but is a big-bodied presence who brings a pedigree of success, having helped lead his team to four consecutive Georgia 4A state championships. He averaged 16.8 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks as a senior last year and was named Georgia’s Mr. Basketball.
Joshua Smith, junior (6-10, 305)
Smith is looking to rebound from a disappointing sophomore season in which he routinely found foul trouble and he played only 17.2 minutes a game. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds, but showed at times that he can be a dominant force in the paint. He has a unique combination of soft hands and the size that is difficult to defend. If his mind and conditioning are in tune, Smith could develop into one of the top post players in the country.
David Wear, junior (6-10, 230)
A 30-game starter last season, Wear averaged 10.2 points and led the team with 6.3 rebounds per game as he earned honorable mention All Pac-12 honors. He will be counted on for his versatility and reliability. He has the offensive skills to play small forward, power forward or center and improved his conditioning and athleticism during the offseason. He has 3-point range (14-for-30 last season) and understands the game well enough to play all over the court.
Travis Wear, junior (6-10, 230)
More of a true inside player than his twin brother, he will get most of his minutes at the power forward and center spots. Wear is a very good inside scorer on the offensive end and was second on the team in scoring last year with 11.5 points per game and was second in rebounding with 5.9. He runs the floor well for a big man and can get to the free-throw line and convert. He shot a team-best 79.1 percent from the free-throw line last season and 53.3 percent from the field -- second best on the team.
Kyle Anderson, freshman (6-9, 235)
A versatile freshman who was the No. 5 high school player in the nation last season and is projected to start at the small forward. He has tremendous ball handling and passing skills that will allow him to play point guard and shooting guard at times and has enough size to match up at power forward. A classic triple-double threat, Anderson guided his high school team to a 69-0 record the past two seasons and will be a difficult matchup wherever he plays.
Tyler Lamb, junior (6-5, 200)
The most experienced returner, Lamb stared 32 games last season and played in all 34 games as a freshman. He played 31.4 minutes per game last season -- the most of any returning player -- and adds a little bit of everything. He was among the top five on the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals and had the second-most 3-point baskets. He is also a tenacious defender who often matches up with the top opposing player.
Shabazz Muhammad, freshman (6-6, 225)
The prize recruit in UCLA’s top-ranked freshman class, Muhammad is a dynamic, athletic scorer who was the consensus high school player of the year last season. He averaged 29.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a senior in leading his team to the Nevada 4A state title. He’s a left-handed slasher who can get to the basket and finish and has shooting range to pull up for 3-pointers. He will start whenever he is cleared to play by the NCAA.
Jordan Adams, freshman (6-5, 220)
The least heralded among the four UCLA freshmen, but a valuable weapon because of his long-range shooting ability. He’s a 3-point marksman who will get minutes off the bench and help open the middle for UCLA’s big men and wings. He is the fourth-leading scorer in the history of prestigious prep program Oak Hill Academy, and averaged 19.8 points last season.
Larry Drew II, senior (6-2, 180)
The North Carolina transfer is perhaps the most important piece of UCLA’s puzzle this season as he is the team’s only true, classic point guard. He’s extremely quick and has a knack for finding the open man. In his last full season at North Carolina, he was second in the ACC with six assists per game. He’s also a tenacious defender and is a key reason why the Bruins will look to push the tempo this season.
Norman Powell, sophomore (6-4, 215)
An extremely athletic outside player, Powell returns after a somewhat quiet freshman season looking to be more aggressive. He played in all 33 games last season and averaged 4.6 points in 17.8 minutes. Too often he settled for outside shots, however, and as a result he attempted only 15 free throws. He is a decent 3-point shooter (34.7 percent last year) but will be more effective if he drives and cuts to the basket to use his explosiveness.