After losing three of UCLA's first eight games, the Bruins have now won five in a row, including wins over Texas and Missouri. While the team hit a rough patch when freshman wing Shabazz Muhammed became eligible a few games into the 2012-13 season, the real reason for UCLA's success has been his classmate, freshman forward Kyle Anderson.
In the last seven games, where the Bruins are 6-1, the 6'9" point forward is averaging 12 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game to go along with his sizeable defensive efforts of 2 steals and 1 block per game. And although his perimeter shooting is still vastly underwhelming, it has been better as of late and Anderson is becoming more aggressive off the dribble, setting up teammates and getting to the foul line as a result.
Anderson's success is the same, if not more important, than Muhammed for the Bruins to be a contender in the Pac-12 and on the national scene given his versatility. At 6'9", Anderson has point guard skills, the quickness to play on the wing or the size to play inside. Given where coach Ben Howland slots him in the lineup, he is almost assured to be a matchup problem for opposing defenses and scouts are taking note.