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Johnny Juzang returns home, picks UCLA

Johnny Juzang
Johnny Juzang (Kentucky Today/Tammie Brown)

Placing his name into the Transfer Portal last month, Kentucky wing Johnny Juzang has decided on where his next college stop will be. The California native, who has three seasons of eligibility remaining and will push for a waiver to play immediately in the fall, committed to UCLA on Thursday. He picked the Bruins over Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas Tech and Villanova.

“I developed a good relationship with Coach (Mick) Cronin and I think it is a really good fit and love what he is doing with the program and the upward trend that they are on. Growing up 15 minutes from Westwood, UCLA has always been a team that I really have wanted to play for and to be able to compete for a national title and to do that for the home team really fires me up,” Juzang told Rivals.com. “All of that along with coming home and having the support of family and friends is also huge, especially with all of the craziness going on, having that all, it is huge for both on the court and off the court.”

WHO IS HE?

Juzang is a 6-foot-7 small forward prospect from the southern California area that was originally a member of the 2020 class but last summer, decided to reclassify into the 2019 class. In doing so, he selected Kentucky over a handful of national suitors including UCLA.

He was slotted as a high-end four-star prospect and as the 34th best recruit in the 2019 class. His time at Kentucky did not go as planned in which he averaged just over 12 minutes per game. He did find a way to contribute as the season wore on but also failed to score in three of his final five games at UK. He leaves the blue blood after posting 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds during his lone season in Lexington, while making less than 33-percent of his perimeter attempts.

HOW HE FITS

Juzang will asked to tap back into what had originally placed him amongst the very best in the sport which is in the shot making department. While he connected on just a third of his 3-point attempts last season, greater confidence and role placement might work wonders for Juzang as he returns home.

He told Rivals.com that he will push for and is expected to receive a waiver to play in the fall. Prince Ali and Alex Olesinski each will graduate this spring and there is a chance that junior forward Chris Smith will keep his name in this summer’s NBA Draft.

As a team last year, UCLA was in the bottom fourth of all division-1 programs in 3-pointers taken and made, one primary aspect that Juzang should immediately improve. His versatility thanks to his size and athleticism should allow for him to play sporadically on the ball, but also the ultimate small ball power forward role.

Perimeter depth will not be limited for the Bruins next season with Jules Bernard, David Singleton, Jaylen Clark, Jamie Jacquez, and Jake Kyman all expected to be on campus. The Bruins were on the cusp of an NCAA Tournament berth last season and with incoming blue-chip talent Daishen Nix and potentially Juzang on the court, a return to the field of 68 is well within grasp.

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