Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tyler Honeycutt enters the draft, signs an agent

Tyler Honeycutt, the UCLA small forward, made the announcement yesterday that he would be declaring for the NBA Draft and signing with an agent.

Its not a terrible decision for the 6'8" sophomore. He has tantalizing tools, as he is athletic and has terrific length while also being able to knock down a three. He has a way to go in his development, but the potential is there. And that potential is what could very well get Honeycutt into the first round.

But what kind of damage does this do to UCLA's hopes for next season?

With Honeycutt, they were going to be the Pac-10's heavy favorite.

Without him?

The Bruins will still have a terrific front line, probably the best in the conference. Reeves Nelson may look like he belongs in Anthony Keidis' crew in Point Break, but he's developed inot a blue collar workhorse on the block. He averaged 13.9 ppg and 9.0 rpg this season, numbers that are sure to rise if he returns.

Nelson will be joined along the front line by Joshua Smith. Smith still may decide to leave Westwood for the NBA, but if he does come back and he can shed some more of that excess weight, he has a chance to be the most dominant big man on the west coast. Ben Howland will also be adding the Wear twins to the mix, as the North Carolina transfers will be eligible to play next season.

On the perimeter, losing Honeycutt will hurt some of UCLA's versatility, but it will also make them a better defensive team. Honeycutt led the Pac-10 in blocks, but he was never great at staying in front of his man. With Malcolm Lee returning, Honeycutt's departure will give guys like sophomore Tyler Lamb or freshmen Norman Powell and De'end Parker a shot.

Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson will both also return for their senior seasons.

Obviously, there was a chance that Honeycutt could have made a big jump this season. But if he is UCLA's only early entry loss, it shouldn't have too much of an effect on the Bruins.

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