UCLA guard Jules Bernard to remain in NBA Draft
Jules Bernard has officially played his final game for the Bruins.
The UCLA guard announced on Wednesday he will remain in the 2022 NBA Draft. According to Laker beat writer Kyle Goon, Bernard worked out with Los Angeles earlier in the day on Wednesday and heard good feedback from the organization.
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The 6-foot-7 Bernard, 22 at this point in his playing career, isn’t a prospect showing up in many mock drafts but he’s a player who just got better and better and better throughout each of his four seasons with the program. In 130 career appearances for the Bruins, he earned 65 starts—including 62 of a possible 67 games over his final two seasons—and averaged 9.2 points a game.
After serving primarily as a rotation player off the bench as a freshman and sophomore, Bernard broke into the starting lineup as a junior, helping power the Bruins to an eventual Final Four appearance. He averaged 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds that season, upping his field goal percentage from 39% to 44% and his 3-point clip from 32% to 40%. Bernard nearly tripled his assists while totaling only five more turnovers in nearly 500 more minutes on the court compared to the previous season.
As a senior last year, Bernard’s shooting percentages dipped a bit but he posted career-highs for points (12.8) and assists (1.7) per contest. He also was able to get himself to the free throw line more often than ever before, posting a conversion rate over 80% from the charity stripe for the first time in his career.
Bernard did not receive an invite to the NBA Draft Combine last month, but he was invited to the G League Elite Camp, where he had a strong showing. His size and skillset, coupled with that experience level, make him an interesting late-draft add for a team looking for some wing depth and a player who can come in and play right away.
UCLA has also seen draft departures from Johnny Juzang and Peyton Watson on the wing, making for an interesting task ahead of coach Mick Cronin as he looks to build out his rotation going forward.
Only two of the team’s five starters from the 2021-22 season return in guard Tyger Campbell and forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., but the Bruins will be turning to some younger options to fill out the rest of the spots. Jaylen Clark appears to be in line for a starting spot after a significantly improved season last year. Incoming 5-star center Adem Bona could start at the 5 spot, or Cronin could roll with Mac Etienne, a 6-foot-10 forward coming off ACL surgery that forced him to miss all of the 2021-22 season.
UCLA is bringing in 5-star guard and McDonald’s All-American Amari Bailey, a 6-foot-5 star from Sierra Canyon who can play either guard spot. A starting role for him right away could slide Clark to the 3. Though Clark is a little smaller than the wings UCLA deployed last season, he’s a defensive menace who should be able to more than hold his own against bigger wings.
𝐀 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐁𝐑𝐔𝐈𝐍.
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) June 2, 2022