When you think of college basketball, one of the first teams you consider is the UCLA basketball program. In their long basketball history, the Bruins won 11 NCAA titles. Coach John Wooden led UCLA to 10 titles in 12 seasons, including seven straight. Along with an outstanding coach in Wooden, UCLA had a lot of talented players as well.
Recently, the UCLA basketball program has not been as up to par as the blue blood mantra it once held. However, this doesn’t take away from the great players that did spend their time at UCLA. We look at the all-time starting five of this storied program.
Center Lew Alcindor
At the center position, it is no brainer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, known as Lew Alcindor, in his time at UCLA. As a freshman, Alcindor averaged 29 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. He also shot 66% from the field as he led the Bruins to a national title. In his first game at UCLA, Alcindor scored 56 points, which set a UCLA single-game record. In his three years at UCLA, the Bruins won 88 games and only lost two. The Bruins also won three straight NCAA titles when Alcindor was there as well. When Alcindor finished his college career, he was a three-time NCAA champion, three-time All-American, three-time College Player of the Year, and three-time FInal our Most Outstanding Player.
Power Forward Bill Walton
Bill Walton was another fantastic player during the Wooden era. Walton also won three College Player of the Year awards in his three seasons at UCLA. He also helped lead the Bruins to back to back NCAA titles in 1972 and 1973. Walton led the Bruins to back to back undrafted season and 88 game winning streak. In the championship game in 1973 against Memphis State, Walton scored 44 points and made 21 of 22 field attempts, in three years at UCLA, Walton averaged 20.3 points per game on 65% shooting from the field while grabbing 15.7 rebounds per game. In both of the Bruins championships wins, Walton won Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Small Forward Jamaal Wilkes
Small forward was a tough position to choose, but I am going with Jamaal Wilkes, who has his number retired by UCLA. In three seasons at UCLA, Wilkes averaged 15 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Wilkes was also a two-time All-Pac-8 and two-time All-American, he was also a member of back to back NCAA championship team in 1972 and 1973. Wilkes is also a member of the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.
Shooting Guard Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller did not do much in his freshman year at UCLA; he averaged 4.6 points per game. In his sophomore year, he brought his points per game up to 15.2, when he helped UCLA basketball win the NIT championship and was the MVP. By the time Miller’s junior year came around, he averaged 25.9 points per game. As a senior, Miller led the Bruins to a Pac-10 regular-season and tournament championships. Also, in his senior season, the three-point line was put in place, and Miller shot 43% from behind the arc. Miller finished his four-year career at UCLA, scoring 17.2 points per game on 54% shooting from the field. The former UCLA player was All-Pac-10 two times and won an All-Pac-10 tournament MVP.
Point Guard Gail Goodrich
When Gail Goodrich was done playing at UCLA, he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and played on two championship teams. Goodrich was also a two-time All-American. In the 1965 NCAA championship game, Goodrich scored 42 points when UCLA basketball beat Michigan. Goodrich had his best year as senior when he averaged 24.8 points per game on 52% shooting. He was a crafty ball handler and had an excellent court vision to find his teammates.
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