UCLA, Aday Mara reportedly nearing resolution in eligibility case
UCLA head coach Mick Cronin revealed last week that the Bruins still had two “ongoing situations” where international freshmen were waiting to be officially cleared by the NCAA. One of those two cases involved 7-foot-3 Spanish center Aday Mara.
According to Bruin Report Online’s David Woods, Mara is expected to receive clearance from the NCAA in time to make his debut Monday night when UCLA opens its season against St. Francis.
A likely starter alongside Adem Bona in the frontcourt, Mara is a first-year newcomer this season for Cronin. He received several votes from media for the preseason all-conference team and is viewed as a potential lottery pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
As Cronin reconfigures his UCLA rotation with so much turnover from last year, Mara figures to play a central role for the Bruins.
A product of Zaragoza, Spain, Mara averaged 14.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.7 blocks in seven games for a Spain club that placed second at the FIBA U18 European Championships this past summer.
In the summer of 2022, Mara averaged 12.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.9 blocks for Spain in seven games at the FIBA U17 World Cup. He totaled a team-leading 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and five blocks in a loss to the U.S. in the title game.
He can step outside to knock down a jumper, but is really at his best around the basket, where deft footwork, good hands, and strong passing instincts make him a dynamic threat.
According to BRO, Turkish freshman forward Berke Buyuktuncel is still in limbo ahead of Monday’s game, but his situation is less complicated than Mara’s was, so there is optimism he’ll be available as well.
UCLA hosts St. Francis (PA) at Pauley Pavilion at 8:30 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network.