NCAA Basketball: Jonah Bolden quits UCLA; a blow to the Bruins’ 2016-2017 season
UCLA Bruins guard Jonah Bolden (43) celebrates after beating the Kentucky Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion. Reuters - Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Australian Jonah Bolden has quit the UCLA Bruins to play professionally overseas, dealing a huge blow to the Bruins upcoming 2016-2017 season.

UCLA said in a statement on Tuesday that Jonah Bolden informed coaches that he will forego his final two years of eligibility and play professional basketball this season. Bolden averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game during the 2015-2016 season, his lone season for the Bruins. He played 31 games and had 11 starts.

Though the 6-foot-10 forward said he is leaving to play pro basketball, sources told Bruin Report Online that Bolden’s reason for leaving is due to academics.

The Australian was expected to be a vital piece for the Bruins in the 2016-2017 season as the team is projected to be in the top 25 going into the season. The team’s combination of veterans and exciting freshman players would have made this season exciting to watch for Bruins fans.

Instead, the team will again be dealing with roster depth problems, something that Bruins coach Steve Alford had continuously experienced.

According to Go Joe Bruin Bolden is the fourth player that the Bruins have lost before the start of the 2016-2017 season. The team lost Noah Allen, who transferred to Hawaii, Kobe Paras, who withdrew due to academic concerns, and Prince Ali, who has a torn left meniscus.

The worst part is that there are still three months to go before the Bruins play their first game of the season. More withdrawals or injuries could still happen along the way. Losing another player before the season starts is concerning a team that has continuously dealt with roster depth issues during coach Alford’s stint

But the Bruins still has exciting freshmen and returning seasoned veterans to work with. If the team gets it together, they could make some noise this coming 2016-2017 season.