UCLA’s frontcourt situation is perhaps one of the larger title-swinging forces in the Pac-12 next season.

Forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. is a sure-fire all-conference pick and a likely Player of the Year candidate… if he’s completely healthy all year. Adem Bona is an instant-impact freshman… but he’s a freshman big man. UCLA is the favorite in the league entering the new season, but depth is… precarious.

Except, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Mick Cronin has reason for optimism. The UCLA head coach told Rothstein recently that Jaquez is 100% cleared for all basketball-related activities. (Jaquez had surgery after the season ended to reportedly remove bone spurs.) Cronin also told Rothstein that Mac Etienne is expected to be ready to go for the start of practice. (Etienne tore his ACL last October and missed the season.)

Adding to the good news, Rothstein followed up with an update from Cronin on fifth-year senior Kenneth Nwuba.

Nwuba has played in 55 games for UCLA to this point in his career, but he’s never averaged more than seven minutes a night. With both Cody Riley and Myles Johnson moving on from last year’s team, every center minute in the rotation is up for grabs in the new year.

Bona, a 5-star freshman from the 2022 class, is expected to see as many minutes as he can handle. However, Etienne’s health and Nwuba’s viability as a center option will be huge subplots. If Cronin can throw him out for extended action, Nwuba would give the Bruins some physicality at the center spot that few others on the roster could provide.

UCLA begins the 2022-23 season at home against Sacramento State on Nov. 7.