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UCLA center returning for sophomore season

By Alex Sabri,

UCLA Bruins forward Adem Bona.

UCLA forward Adem Bona will remove his name from the 2023 NBA Draft pool and return to the Bruins, according to a Wednesday article from ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony.

"I have a great relationship with the coaching staff; I love my teammates and I love this school," Bona said, via ESPN. "I know UCLA is the right program for me and I love it here. I believe I have the tools to go pro now, but I know there are some aspects of my game I need to improve on.

"This process is just as much about timing as it is about skill, so I need to prepare and put myself in the perfect situation when turning pro, and I don't think the time is now."

Bona averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game during his lone season with UCLA. He played in 33 games and started in 32, earning an average of 22.9 minutes per game. He scored 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots during the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal in March.

Bona's return can help stabilize a UCLA team that lost guards Jaylen Clark and Jaime Jaquez Jr. to the NBA Draft. Clark chose to stay in the NBA Draft pool on Wednesday. Jaquez declared for the NBA Draft after four years with the Bruins.

Bona's time in the starting lineup can be beneficial when UCLA tries to make up for the production of two of the team's top scorers. His toughness and experience will pair well with a Bruins recruiting class that ranked 17th place in the country.

Three players have signed their letters of intent with the Bruins for their 2023 class, according to 247Sports. Utah transfer Lazar Stefanovic, a 6-foot-7-inch forward who averaged 10.3 points and three rebounds per game during his second season with the Utes, joined UCLA via the transfer portal in April.

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