UCLA’s backcourt is thinner than ever.
Senior guard Jerime Anderson was suspended indefinitely by the school Wednesday after his arrest in connection to a laptop theft. He’ll miss at least the school’s opener against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 11 and any team activities. Any reinstatement depends on his legal status.
“This is a disappointing and unfortunate situation for Jerime,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said in a statement released Wednesday. “We have a high standard and code of conduct that our student-athletes are expected to follow. He knows that he has made a huge mistake and that he has not represented himself, our program or UCLA in a manner that is required.”
Anderson’s isn’t a starter, but is the team’s best returning outside shooter and one of the few guards on a team replete with big men. That leaves Lazeric Jones as the lone point guard on the roster, though sophomore Tyler Lamb could conceivably fill in when needed.
(The Bruins can’t wait for the 2012-13 season to start, though coach Ben Howland did tell Gary Parrish that he expects Jones to have a great season.)
His suspension wouldn’t have been an issue if Malcolm Lee hadn’t surprisingly declared for the NBA draft last spring. Anderson has never lived up to expectations at UCLA – figures he’s part of a former No. 1-rated recruiting class that ended up being a stinker – and likely would’ve been a role player again with Lee on the roster.
But I doubt Anderson misses too much time. If recent history is any indication, laptop thefts can be resolved quickly in the courts and guys get back on the court without too many games missed. Anderson isn’t an essential aspect to the Bruins’ season – Josh Smith’s weight is much more crucial – but they’ll need him for depth if nothing else.
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