Will McClendon won’t take the court for the Bruins this season.
The true freshman guard for UCLA men’s basketball tore the ACL in his left knee during a team workout Sept. 17 and has been ruled out for the year, according to a UCLA Athletics spokesperson. McClendon was one just two new recruits set to join the Bruins for the 2021-2022 campaign.
McClendon was rated as a four-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN. Rivals was the highest on McClendon coming out of high school, ranking him as the No. 44 player in the class of 2021, while the 247Sports Composite and ESPN had him at No. 57 and No. 67, respectively.
This isn’t the first time a freshman guard has torn an ACL leading up to their debut season in Westwood either.
Tyger Campbell did the same back to his left ACL in early fall 2018, missing the entire season as a result. Campbell returned to start all 63 games for UCLA over the next two seasons, leading his team with 31.9 minutes per game in the process. Senior guard Chris Smith also tore his left ACL at the start of Pac-12 play last season.
McClendon was projected to slot in towards the bottom of the lineup for a Bruin squad that is returning all of its major contributors and bench players from a 2021 Final Four run. Wings Jaylen Clark, Jake Kyman, David Singleton, Jules Bernard and Peyton Watson will likely take on whatever minutes McClendon was going to get.
Watson is now the only true freshman who is slated to appear for coach Mick Cronin in 2021-2022. McClendon will have to wait until 2022-2023 to get back on the court and contribute for the Bruins, presumably surrounded by a far different roster by that point.