The Sons of Westwood are heading to the Super 16 with some reinforcements.
Former Bruin Matt Barnes – who was unable to play in the first two rounds of The Basketball Tournament – said he would definitely be on the court for his team’s matchup against No. 1 seed Team Challenge ALS on Saturday.
Barnes was in huddles and helped coach Ryan “Moose” Bailey guide the team to a 76-62 victory in the second round over Albuquerque Hoops on July 15. Despite the team’s success, Barnes said there was one thing his team needed to work on moving forward.
“Everything starts with defense,” Barnes said. “Once we start scrambling on defense, we start getting transition baskets.”
Barring any setbacks with his calf injury, the 14-year NBA veteran said he would be a player-coach for the Sons of Westwood.
Malcolm Lee recorded four steals to go along with his 11 points in the second round, but the former second-round pick said he still recognized his team’s defensive deficiencies.
“We have a lot of offensive power,” Lee said. “If we’re able to stop the other team, I think we’ll be good.”
Lee and his fellow former Bruins will be going to Atlanta for the Super 16 for the first time, but the Sons of Westwood’s opponent, Team Challenge ALS, is no stranger to the spotlight. They won the West Regional last year and fell one win short of the $2 million prize.
Team Challenge ALS’ head coach is former Bruin guard Darren Collison, who is currently playing for the Indiana Pacers. Team Challenge ALS is playing to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with one of their main boosters being former Boston College baseball player and ice bucket challenge founder, Pete Frates.
GG Goloman, who graduated from UCLA in June, was a late addition to the team, but he was able to play in the Sons of Westwood’s first two games. He may not have been away from Westwood for very long, but Goloman said he was still thankful for another chance to don Bruin blue and gold.
“I’m glad I get to wear ‘UCLA’ on my chest again,” Goloman said. “It’s an honor, and I’m going to play like that.”
Goloman scored 7 points in the first round, and followed that up with a 10-point outing against Albuquerque Hoops in the second.
If the Sons of Westwood can upset Team Challenge ALS on Friday, they will take on the winner of Gael Force and Eberlein Drive in the West Regional Final on Sunday night.
And with Barnes back in the rotation, the Sons of Westwood’s leading scorer Jordan Adams said he doesn’t expect his team’s winning ways to come to an end anytime soon.
“We all have the same goal this tournament,” Adams said. “And that’s to keep winning.”