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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Larry Drew II says he never really wanted to go to North Carolina

larry-drew-uclaLarry Drew II is finally starting to live up to the potential that made him a top recruit coming out of high school in Los Angeles.

Drew is averaging 8.4 assists per game and shooting .452 percent from the field in his first season with the UCLA Bruins. He spent two and a half seasons playing for North Carolina until he quit midway through his junior season. Formerly known as “Turnover Jesus” with the Tar Heels, Drew is only averaging 1.6 turnovers per game with the Bruins. Now that he’s enjoying some success with UCLA, the truth about his early college career is emerging.

According to a story from the Los Angeles Times’ Baxter Holmes, Drew, who played high school ball for Taft High School which is less than 20 miles from the UCLA campus, wanted to come to UCLA out of high school. The problem is that coach Ben Howland offered him a scholarship but gave him just a week to accept it. Though Drew says he wanted to attend UCLA, he wasn’t ready to accept the offer at that time.

“I just wanted to keep my options open and weigh everything out, even though UCLA was my favorite,” Drew told the Times.

Howland admits he made a mistake by applying the deadline.

“I take full responsibility for him not being here as a freshman,” Howland said Monday.

With the deadline to accept UCLA’s scholarship expired, Drew decided to go to one of the other top programs in the country — North Carolina. But he says he went with mixed feelings.

“I never really wanted to go there,” Drew said.

Drew also said he “never really liked” North Carolina, which helps to explain why he quit the team and left so abruptly.

Some may wonder “What could have been?” had Drew come to UCLA straight out of high school, but things probably worked out for the best. Maybe Drew needed the North Carolina experience in order to mature. Whatever the case, at least he has finally found a good home, even if it is only for one season.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports



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