Jules Bernard announces he has played final game with UCLA
A year after returning fully intact from its Final Four run, UCLA is going to experience some significant turnover.
The Bruins lost a third starter Wednesday when senior guard Jules Bernard announced on Instagram that he had played his final game with the team. His departure means that UCLA will feature three new starters next season alongside returning point guard Tyger Campbell and guard-forward Jaime Jaquez Jr.
“I’ve had unforgettable times and made memories that will last a lifetime going to battle with my teammates and coaches who took to the court with the purpose of bringing a banner to Westwood,” Bernard wrote on Instagram. “However, I believe it is my time to step aside and see others experience that opportunity to enjoy to perform on college basketball’s most storied stage … Pauley Pavilion.”
Bernard was the sixth member of the team to leave after fellow guards Johnny Juzang and Peyton Watson announced they were headed for the NBA draft, post players Cody Riley and Myles Johnson said they were pursuing other opportunities and guard Jake Kyman transferred to Wyoming. Bernard did not specify his plans in his farewell, writing only that “it has been 4 magical years wearing these 4 letters across my chest. I have always tried to represent this great institution and you, the alumni and fans, with dignity and class. I hope in some small way I’ve made you proud.”
Bernard averaged 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while continuing his rise as a top-tier Pac-12 player. He declared for the NBA draft in April and appeared to enhance his stock with two impressive performances at the G League Elite Camp, averaging 17 points at the event that scored a handful of participants invitations to the NBA draft combine. Bernard was not among the invitees, however, after making only one of six three-pointers and shooting 43.5% from the field overall.
UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin spoke on a wide range of topics, including his plans for a roster that blends veterans and highly touted newcomers.
His departure means that UCLA could more seriously entertain the transfer portal as a possibility with only 10 players on scholarship heading into next season.
If the roster remained intact in its current form, Adem Bona and Mac Etienne would vie for the starting post spot vacated by Riley, and Jaylen Clark, David Singleton and Amari Bailey would be the top candidates to fill the two guard openings. Fortunately for coach Mick Cronin, the team’s wing depth remains a strength with true freshman Dylan Andrews and redshirt freshman Will McClendon also on the roster.
“I am extremely excited to see how next season turns out,” Bernard wrote. “Coach Cronin has put together an amazing team with the perfect mix of experience and a talented recruiting class. I’ll be cheering them on, on their journey to a 12th banner.
“I appreciate and love every one of you who has supported this team and myself over the last 4 years. You have given me a thrill I will carry with me forever. Thank you! GO BRUINS!!!”
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