Spanish center Aday Mara commits to UCLA men’s basketball
Coach Mick Cronin speaks into a microphone. Cronin and UCLA men’s basketball announced the addition of Spanish center Aday Mara to the incoming class of 2023 on Thursday morning. (Daily Bruin file photo)
Aug. 3, 2023 11:38 a.m.
The Bruins have gone international once again.
UCLA men’s basketball announced the signing of Spanish center Aday Mara on Thursday morning. Mara – who is 7-foot-3 – most recently played for Spain’s U18 team at the FIBA European Championships, and has garnered international playing experience prior to joining the Bruins.
“Aday has great FIBA experience, having played within the Spanish basketball federation program while winning awards and championships at different levels,” said coach Mick Cronin in the announcement. “We can’t wait to have him here with us in Westwood.”
Spain finished in second place at the FIBA competition, with Mara shooting 61.3% from the field while averaging 14 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. His performance was highlighted by a 23-point double-double against Italy in his third game of the tournament.
In his time away from Spain’s U18 team, Mara was a member of Basket Zaragoza, a professional team based in his home city of the same name.
Mara averaged 5.3 points and 3.2 rebounds across 12.2 minutes per game in the regular season, but drastically increased those numbers in the Spanish U19 championships when he averaged a double-double, recording 19.1 points and 12.6 rebounds across seven games.
Mara’s announcement brings UCLA’s class of 2023 to six freshmen, with the center representing the third international commitment of the recruitment cycle. He joins incoming freshman guards Ilane Fibleuil and Jan Vide, who hail from France and Slovenia, respectively, as well as Serbian guard and Utah transfer Lazar Stefanovic.
Mara is the Bruins’ first player to eclipse the seven-foot mark since Moses Brown in 2019, and will join the 6-foot-10 trio of rising sophomore forward/center Adem Bona, rising redshirt fifth-year forward/center Kenneth Nwuba and incoming freshman forward Devin Williams to make up UCLA’s frontcourt.
With Mara’s addition, UCLA’s roster now reaches 14 players, seven of whom are newcomers. That number is set to increase once more, as Cronin said last week on the radio show “Petros and Money” that the Bruins were still awaiting the arrival of two freshmen, with the now-announced Mara being the first.