“I have a great relationship with the coaching staff; I love my teammates and I love this school,” Bona mentioned. “I know UCLA is the right program for me and I love it here. I believe I have the tools to go pro now, but I know there are some aspects of my game I need to improve on. This process is just as much about timing as it is about skill, so I need to prepare and put myself in the perfect situation when turning pro, and I don’t think the time is now. “
Bona, the No. 48 prospect within the ESPN 100, was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and to the All-Defensive workforce after averaging 7.7 factors, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 23 minutes per sport, capturing 68% from the sphere.
Bona injured his shoulder within the Pac-12 match semifinal diving on the ground for a free ball, inflicting him to overlook the Pac-12 championship sport, which the Bruins misplaced to Arizona, in addition to the opening sport of the NCAA match. Bona elected to play in a round-of-32 win in opposition to Northwestern, reaggravating the damage and lacking UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga.
Bona had surgical procedure for a shoulder labrum tear in early April that finally prevented him from conducting particular person workforce exercises and derailed his possibilities of gaining sufficient traction to listen to his identify referred to as within the first spherical, contributing to his resolution to return to UCLA.
“It was great knowing there are a lot of teams that believe in me and know that I’m able to play at the next level,” Bona mentioned. “Having the chance to talk with teams, getting their opinions of me as a person and also as a basketball player really motivated me, but also equipped me with the tools necessary to have a strong season.”
Bona says his expectation is he might be again on the court docket this summer time and cleared for full basketball exercise in October, permitting him to have a productive sophomore season that might propel him again into first-round consideration in a weaker 2024 draft pool.
“The goal yesterday is still the same today,” Bona mentioned. “Last year my goal was to win as many games as possible and also the big goal was the national championship. Individually I want to show everyone that I’m the best defensive player in the Pac-12, an All-American-level player and the best big in the country.”
Coming off an impressive season wherein it received the Pac-12 regular-season championship, earned a No. 2 match seed and completed with a 31-6 file, UCLA is present process a significant transition this offseason, having already misplaced its high 5 scorers in Jaimie Jaquez, Tyger Campbell, Jaylen Clark, Amari Bailey and David Singleton. Retaining Bona was extraordinarily necessary contemplating how little continuity the Bruins may have.
“I believe my role on the team is going to be crucial because we lost most of our veterans,” Bona mentioned. “I’m going to take on a bigger role this year and show the country aspects of my game that you didn’t get the chance to see last year.”
Head coach Mick Cronin has reeled in a extremely regarded freshman from Real Madrid in 6-foot-7 Slovenian guard Jan Vide, who led the FIBA U17 World Cup in scoring final summer time and was named MVP of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament finals performed earlier this month on the Euroleague Final Four, to assist ease the blow of dropping a lot firepower. He additionally landed three four-star recruits in Sebastian Mack, Devin Williams and Brandon Williams, in addition to French guard Ilane Fibleuil from INSEP Academy in Paris. Utah switch Lazar Stefanovic may also be referred to as upon to be an necessary contributor.
The Bruins nonetheless have a number of scholarships to fill as they spherical out their roster for subsequent season.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft skilled and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a non-public scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and worldwide groups.