One of the Bruins' three potential draft candidates may not have been on the list of top prospects alongside two of his teammates, but he still has a chance to join them in the spotlight.
UCLA men's basketball guard Jules Bernard was one of 44 players selected to participate in the NBA G League Elite Camp, the developmental league announced Tuesday morning. The G League has branded the showcase as "The ULTIMATE Job Interview," since select participants can pick up invitations to the NBA Draft Combine based on performance.
Bernard will be in Chicago for the Elite Camp on May 16-17, and he could end up sticking around in the Windy City to join Johnny Juzang and Peyton Watson later in the week at the official combine.
Bernard declared for the 2022 NBA Draft on April 19, but unlike Juzang and Watson, he entered the pool while retaining his collegiate eligibility.
While Bernard was honored as part of the Bruins' senior day festivities back in March, so was David Singleton, and he has already announced his intentions to return to Westwood for his fifth year. Bernard would similarly be suiting up for his fifth season of college ball if he doesn't continue to pursue the NBA or G League route this spring.
The only other Pac-12 player on the list of Elite Camp participants is Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye, who made the conference's All-Freshman Team. LSU forward Shareef O'Neal, who was part of UCLA's 2018 recruiting class alongside Bernard and Singleton, will be in attendance as well.
Bernard made three starts in 63 appearances across his first two years with UCLA, averaging 6.6 points in 16.7 minutes per game on .434/.344/.755 shooting splits with nearly twice as many turnovers than assists. Going from role player to regular starter during the 2020-2021 campaign, though, Bernard became an important member of the famed 2021 Final Four squad that took down the likes of Michigan State, BYU, Abilene Christian, Alabama and Michigan before falling to Gonzaga in an overtime March Madness classic.
In the 2021-2022 season, Bernard was one of two players — the other being center Myles Johnson — to have played in all 35 games for the Bruins. Starting in all but one of those contests, Bernard averaged a career-high 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while also shooting a Pac-12-best 81.8% from the free-throw line.
Bernard averaged 11.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game as an upperclassman, also shooting 35.9% from 3-point range across those two seasons. And after finishing 14th in the Pac-12 with an 11.6% turnover rate his junior year, Bernard had the lowest turnover rate in the conference at just 7.7% as a senior – nearly three times better than his freshman mark.
Whether or not Bernard stays in the draft is presumably dependent on the feedback he receives from scouts at the Elite Camp, and if he gets a late invite to the NBA Draft Combine. If he does decide to return, Bernard would only need to appear in 18 contests next year in order to break Michael Roll's all-time program record of 147 games played.