Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 10/31/11
Lazeric Jones put himself through two-a-days during the summer. Every morning he rose at 5:55am and headed to the gym. He was there to shoot, usually accompanied by a teammate. Often times it was Reeves Nelson. Jones would shoot. He would shoot away his frustration from last season -- his first in Division I. He would shoot for the breakout he expects to have this season for the Bruins. A lot is expected from Jones in his senior season. The strength of the Bruins is in the frontcourt with the return of Nelson, Anthony Stover and Joshua Smith. That combined with the addition of the Wear twins, makes a lot of talent and length up front. However, the pressure will be on the backcourt to produce so that opponents don't pay all of their attention to the much-talked-about frontcourt. That starts with the point guard, Jones. He is the only Bruin to start all 34 games for UCLA last season. The last 21 of those, however, were a struggle as he battled finger and wrist injuries. This season, he has to tie it all in together for the Bruins and Coach Ben Howland. "He's got to give us great leadership. That's the key. That point guard position is about being a leader and orchestrating things and getting everybody the ball," said Howland. "He's worked extremely hard in the offseason and I think he's going to have a good year." "I'm expecting a big year out of myself," said Jones. "Being at UCLA (and) being a point guard here, I carry that with me. I want to be that point guard that the team needs me to be. I feel like hopefully this year, God-willingly, I can be that point guard." Along with the shooting and taking summer school classes, Jones spent his afternoons playing pickup games with NBA players at UCLA's Men's Gym. Former Bruins Baron Davis, Jrue Holiday, Earl Watson and Russell Westbrook were amongst the players in Westwood. Carmelo Anthony and Elton Brand were there as well. Making better reads in the pick and roll was an emphasis for Jones over the summer. Davis and Watson helped him grow in that area of his game. Being able to play with them provided Jones with an invaluable learning experience. "Just to get to talk to the guys, just to pick their brains, it really helped me out. A lot of guys helped me on the court (and) walked me through things," Jones said. "With me, that was big. Coming from Chicago you don't get that too much. You don't see too many pros around just wanting to hoop." Having the experience to play with NBA guys everyday for the first time wasn't the only first for Jones during the summer. For the first time in his life, he took yoga. He found it relaxing. "It helps a lot as far helping you be able to be calm," Jones said. "Sometimes you need that." The Bruins are going to need Jones' calm spirit, not only during adverse situations in games but also away from the court. UCLA is in the un-envious position of playing all of their home games on the road with Pauley Pavilion being remodeled. "Every game is a road game. We're closer to 'SC than we are to our campus. We may get booed at our own home games," he said.
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