Monday, October 30, 2006

Ten Former Bruins in NBA

By Bruin Basketball Report

Ten former UCLA basketball players will open the regular season Tuesday on rosters of NBA teams.

Bruins in the NBA are: Earl Watson, Seattle; Darrick Martin, Toronto; Jason Kapono, Miami; Ryan Hollins, Charlotte; Dan Gadzuric, Milwaukee; Jordan Farmar, L.A. Lakers; Baron Davis, Golden St.; Cedric Bozeman, Atlanta; Matt Barnes, Golden St.; Trevor Ariza, Orlando.

While most former Bruins already had secure spots on an NBA roster, two players, Cedric Bozeman and Matt Barnes, had to wait until almost the final cut-off date for opening day rosters.

It appeared early in training camp the Hawks were planning to keep 7'1 Andreas Glyniadakis thereby leaving Bozeman to outplay a guard or small forward.  But the Hawk coaches were so enamored by Bozeman's ballhandling skills and his ability to guard three positions, they decided to keep Bozeman due to his versatility.

With teammate Marvin Williams injured, Bozeman will start the season on the Hawks' active roster list.

Similarly in Oakland, Matt Barnes had been battling Anthony Roberson for a final roster spot.  But both players impressed Coach Don Nelson and instead the Warriors kept both players and cut former Pittsburgh star forward Chris Taft.  Taft was coming back from major back surgery and did not play in the preseason.

"They both (Barnes and Roberson) earned it," Nelson said. "Nothing was given to those guys, and they made us re-think what we had intended to do."

Bozeman's Bruin teammates from last season, Ryan Hollins and Jordan Farmar, both had successful preseasons with their respective teams. 

Hollins' spot was secured when the Bobcats cut guard Kevin Burleson to trim the final roster to 15.  The 7'0 center will start the season on the inactive list and will likely play in the NBDL.

Farmar signed a first-round draft guaranteed contract with the Lakers earlier in the summer.  With injuries to Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown, and Aaron McKie, Farmar will start the season on the active roster and may see minutes early in the season.

Last season, the Bruins had eight former players in the NBA.  Dijon Thompson played for the Phoenix Suns last season but was cut by the Warriors a few weeks ago at the start of training camp.

With ten former players on teams, UCLA ranks among elite colleges with alumni on NBA rosters. 

The only other colleges with ten or more former players on NBA rosters this season are: UCONN (14), Duke (13), North Carolina (12), and Arizona (10).  Michigan St. (9) Kentucky, (9), and Kansas (8) follow the pack.

(photo credit: AP)



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