Monday, October 23, 2006

Healthy Shipp Key To Bruins Success

By Bruin Basketball Report

After watching his team win the Pac-10 title and advance to the NCAA Finals from the bench dressed in civilian clothes last season, Josh Shipp says he is completely healed and going full speed at team practices.

“I feel better now than I did last year before the injury." Shipp said. “Before I never worked on my stretching or conditioning, but the injury forced me to work on those things and I'm in better shape for it.”

Before the start of last season, Shipp injured himself in a summer league game and had arthroscopic surgery on his right hip to repair a torn labrum (cartilage) and remove a bone spur.   Prior to the injury, many observers had considered Shipp to be the best Bruin player on the court during the summer.

Shipp returned to the Bruin lineup last December scoring 11 points in the team's Pac-10 opener victory against Stanford at Pauley Pavilion.

However after averaging 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in four games, Shipp informed UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland that it was too painful to play on his surgically repaired hip and he would red-shirt the season.

With the departure of key players from last season’s NCAA Finals team, the Bruins will look for Shipp to contribute right away.

UCLA is expected to play a more up-tempo game this season to take advantage of the team’s talent, strength, and depth.

"Coach Howland told us we were going to be a more up-tempo team this season.” Shipp said. “We’ve been spending more time on our conditioning than ever before in preparation to run more this season.”

Sophomore point-guard Darren Collison is excited about having Shipp on the wing during fast breaks this season. “It's great to have Josh back.  He is a great player and knows how to get out on transition - and knows how to finish.”

With the early departure of floor leader Jordan Farmar and graduation of four seniors, the Bruins field one of the youngest rosters in the Pac-10 this season.

It will be important for Shipp to step forward along with preseason All-American teammate Arron Afflalo to be the team leaders.

"Josh was with us at every game emotionally last season." Afflalo said. “He knows he should be a junior this season and needs to be one of the leaders on the team. The young guys really look up to him.”



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