This week, tomorrow to be specific, we continue with our First Look series with an early look at what the Bruins lost from last season and what is expected of the returners.
UCLA is picked to win the South Division of the Pac-12 and there won't be any argument from me as I have also thought that they are probably the team to take that tight division race.
I still consider Arizona State a dark-horse because I like a lot of what they return, but they are going to run into some depth issues and maybe some consistency issues again this season. I think USC faces the same problem, though they have better front line talent than either UCLA or ASU.
Beyond that, though, I am intrigued to watch how Eddie Vanderdoes develops at UCLA.
Already it seems like some serious expectations are being heaped upon his shoulders. While he has the massive shoulders to bear such a burden, it makes me curious just how much he can take on to those shoulders.
Vanderdoes switched from Notre Dame to UCLA ostensibly due to a change in family circumstances. The early rumors that a member of his family became ill seem plausible based on the NCAA's decision to grant Vanderdoes immediate eligibility.
Vanderdoes is a young man. Despite his enormous physical gifts, he is still very young. How much can one young man take on mentally and still be effective? We might find out this season; or we might not.
Early reports out of Fall camp for the Bruins have Vanderdoes missing some practices due to a back ailment. Coach Mora has commented how important this time is to his development and his ability to contribute early and make an impact.
Combining his many demands, expectations and now being slowed by injury and you can only help but wonder if Vanderdoes might have had too much put on his plate at a fragile point in his maturation.
For the sake of young man whose future is very bright, let's hope that his injury is minimal and his focus is strong heading into the season. There can be nothing worse to a young man with so much hope to have expectations unfulfilled. The pressure of that weight can be greater than the original expectations.