by RENALDO DORSETT
Headed into his sophomore season, one Bahamian collegiate basketball player hopes to get on track and provide depth for his UCLA Bruins. After a turbulent yet star-studded high school career, Wannah Bail finally settled in with an elite NCAA programme last season.
Hampered by injury and struggling to carve out valuable minutes on Bruins’ head coach Steve Alford depth chart, Bail played sparingly as a redshirt freshman. Now healthy, Alford said he expects Bail to one of the keys in shoring up a thin front court.
Alford recently called Bail a “pleasant surprise” and expects him to contribute immediately.
“We were deep at guard but we were probably two bodies short in the front-court. We were very fragile up front. Now we have a little bit more depth upfront and not as much in the back-court. I think the development of Wannah has been really good really since spring moving forward and you’re going to see him in the rotation,” he said.
In an injury plagued freshman season, Bail Played in 13 games, averaged 1.6 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.
Bail missed UCLA’s first five games of the season while recovering from left knee surgery (to repair torn cartilage), performed on June 28, 2013 and re-injured his left knee prior to the Pac-12 Tournament and was unable to play in UCLA’s final six games.
He underwent surgery on March 11, 2014, to remove torn cartilage in his left knee.
Alford said he expects the athleticism of the 6′ 9″ 215 pound forward to make an impact on both ends of the floor.
“We were very efficient, no question, when we played at a very high level and tempo. I hope we can play at that tempo because I like the guys we have running.
Wannah Bail, that’s his strength, he runs the floor better than everybody.
He is really rebounding the ball at a high level. He is running the floor and getting put-backs and getting tip-dunks, and he’s really defending well. He’s probably been our best screener, which has really helped our offense. He is doing things that we are asking him to do, and he’s not doing the things that he should not be doing. And when you do that, you have a chance to look pretty good. He’s been doing that.”
Wannah Bail enters his sophomore season with the UCLA Bruins after a lengthy recruiting process which took him all the way to the Canary Islands for a season.
The versatile Bail was one of the top front-court prospects out of the state of Texas for the class of 2012.
The Bahamian public will have an opportunity to witness Bail live in action before the home crowd when the Bruins travel to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis this month.
The fourth edition of the tournament is set to take place November 26-28 at the Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis Resort.