Friday, February 03, 2006

Ben Howland, Coach of the Year?

Handicapping the National Coach of the Year Race: Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated

#8 - Ben Howland, UCLA. No highly ranked team has been more decimated by injuries than the Bruins, yet Howland has done more than just keep this team together. He has it in first place in the Pac-10 and has a legit chance to make the Sweet 16.

If you saw the Bruins erase that huge deficit against West Virginia a couple weeks ago before falling short, you know that few coaches teach mental toughness better than Howland does. Sports Illustrated


(photo credit: AP)

UCLA vs. Arizona - Game Preview II

By Bruin Basketball Report

The UCLA Bruins (18-4, 8-2) play conference rivals, the Arizona Wildcats (13-8, 6-4), at Pauley Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

Arizona has made 21 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, the longest streak in the nation; however they are a struggling, troubled team and are in danger of not making it to the tournament this year.

At the Sports Arena Thursday night, Arizona outshot and outrebounded the Trojans but still managed to lose 74-63. The Wildcats accomplished this feat by committing 22 turnovers.

Arizona is playing without two players who were expected to be starters this year. Chris Rodgers was unceremoniously kicked off the team three weeks ago by Arizona coach Lute Olson; while McClellan tore a ligament in his wrist and is out for the year.

With the loss of Rodgers, the Wildcats are without their best backcourt defender and fourth leading scorer. McClellan was expected to provide the team with consistent scoring from the three-point line.

Arizona is not left without dangerous weapons but they are clearly playing like a deflated team. Yet, a visit to Pauley Pavilion to face their arch rivals, the Bruins, may be enough to inspire their play.

The Bruins defeated the Wildcats earlier in the year at Tucson, 85-79, while both teams were ranked in the top 25.

The Wildcats are led by Midseason Wooden Award nominee, senior Hassan Adams. Adams is averaging 19.0 points and 5.6 rebounds a game.

However, Adams did not play anything like an award nominee against the Trojans. He finished with a very quiet 9 points on 4 of 11 shooting and committed a team-high seven turnovers in the game.

Adams is a physical 6’4 220lb player who can leap out of gyms and overpower his defender on the block. The Bruin's Arron Afflalo, who is pretty physical himself, will match up with Adams for most of the game. In their last match-up, they cancelled out each other with Afflalo scoring 22 points and Adams 21 points.

“Whatever happened to Arizona last night (against USC) is the past, Afflalo said, “We always expect them to play hard.”

The Wildcats will need at least a 20+ point effort from Adams if the they expect to challenge the Bruins on Saturday.

With his Wildcats shooting only 33% from the three-point line, coach Lute Olson declared that only freshman Marcus Williams would have the green-light to shoot three-point shots in upcoming games. Williams is the only Wildcat shooting higher than 34% from beyond the three-point arc, averaging 47%.

In their last meeting, the 6’7 Williams scored 19 points against the Bruins. For the season he is averaging 11.7 points and 4.3 rebounds a game.

Cedric Bozeman, who did not play in the last game against Arizona due to a shoulder injury, will get the starting assignment against Williams which should be one of the more interesting match-ups to follow on Saturday.

Since his return Bozeman’s versatility has not been overlooked by his team. “Cedric has a steadying influence on our team”, coach Howland said.

Bozeman’s ability to lock down an opponent gives the Bruins two premier defenders on the perimeter which is especially valuable when the Bruins face talented offensive teams like an Arizona and teams in the tourney beyond.

Junior guard Mustafa Shakur played perhaps his worst game of his career in the last meeting against the Bruins. Shakur was 0 for 3 from the field and committed four turnovers. He played only 26 minutes when he was benched by coach Lute Olson for his lack of aggressiveness on the offensive end and his inability to play defense, in particular his troubles in guarding UCLA’s speedy Darren Collison.

Collison repeatedly drove past Shakur at Tucson finishing with 9 points and key lay-ups on drives at the end of the game. Shakur’s defense was so bad against Collison that coach Olson had to put Chris Rodgers on Collison which then left an over-matched
Shakur to defend Arron Afflalo.

Of course, Olson and Arizona no longer have Chris Rodgers to shut down anyone.

Arizona’s forward Ivan Radenovic is their leading rebounder averaging 6.5 rebounds and also adds 9.8 points a game.

In his last game against UCLA, Radenovic, who prefers to shoot from the perimeter, scored 17 points and was particularly effective scoring from the inside early on, but Arizona went away from Radenovic in the second half.

With Arizona struggling with their perimeter shooting,we may see them go inside more against the Bruins with both Radenovic and 6’10 center Kirk Walters.

Bruin center Ryan Hollins did not play against Arizona and will be looked upon by his team to continue his stellar play of late. Hollins has improved his defensive rebounding and has played good team defense in the paint.

The Bruins lead the conference in scoring defense allowing only 59.9 points per game, and more importantly lead the conference with a +6.1 scoring margin against opponents.

Although the Wildcats are averaging 75 points per game this season they are only averaging 64 points in their last four games.

Against Arizona St. on Thursday evening the Bruins came out flat against the Sun Devils, they can not afford to do the same against the Wildcats and must come out prepared to play with high energy.

With the loss of two key players and turmoil on the team the Wildcats are wounded, but a basketball rivalry as great as the one between UCLA and Arizona can lead to unpredictable happenings and finishes.

Game notes:
Jordan Farmar was recently nominated a finalist for the prestigious Bob Cousy Award presented to the most outstanding collegiate point guard in the nation.

Kevin Love and Kyle Singler, two of the highest-rated high school juniors in the nation, will be in attendance at Saturday's game. Both Love and Singler are considering attending UCLA.


Bruins Win 18th, Beat Sun Devils

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

With just over half the Pac-10 conference season completed, the UCLA Bruins (18-4, 8-2) matched last year’s win total with a 69-60 victory over the Arizona St. Sun Devils.

As he had done in previous coaching positions, UCLA head coach Ben Howland’s teams have improved in each of their first three years. In 2003-04 the Bruins finished with an 11-17 record; and in 2004-05 they improved to 18-11.

With eight games left in Pac-10 conference play, Pac-10 tournament games, and NCAA postseason tournament, the Bruins will surely surpass the 20 game win level for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

Against Arizona State (7-12, 1-9), the Bruins played a rather uninspired game against the last place team in the Pac-10 conference. They allowed the Sun Devils to remain competitive in the contest until the end.

UCLA started the game missing on outside jumper and allowed ASU to take an early lead in the game, but then sophomore guard Jordan Farmar, sensing his team needed a lift, took over by scoring the team’s first seven points to put the Bruins in the lead 7-6.

Farmar was the only Bruin to score more than four points in the first half. He hit on 6 of 8 field goals scoring 15 points to stake the Bruins to the slim halftime lead. He finished the game with a team-high 18 points and 6 assists.

Similar to the game at Tempe, the Sun Devils came out with more intensity than the Bruins on both ends of the court. ASU was able to get high percentage shots throughout the first half and trailed only 32-30 at halftime. The Sun Devils shot 52% in the first half on 13 of 23 shooting.

At halftime, coach Ben Howland noting the lack of intensity on the part of his Bruins and that perhaps they were taking ASU for granted urged his team to play more physically defensively especially in the paint.

The Bruins came out with a little more energy but the big difference in the second half was the re-emergence of sophomore guard Arron Afflalo.

Afflalo, who has been mired in a prolonged shooting slump, struggled in the first half of this game shooting only 1 of 5, but then came alive in the second half hitting 4 of 6 shots and finishing the game with 17 points.

“I know it’s not always about me scoring.” Afflalo said, “I was confident my game would come back to me.”

Senior forward Cedric Bozeman had another solid game since returning from a shoulder injury shooting 4 of 5 from the field and hitting a key 3-pointer with 0:51 seconds left to give the Bruins a nine point cushion. Bozeman finished with 10 points and 4 assists.

Freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute matched his season rebounding average of 9 rebounds in the game. He also finished with 8 points.

In one of the keys to the game, Mbah a Moute and fellow freshman Alfred Aboya did a better job in defending fellow Cameroon countryman, Serge Angounou. In the previous game in Tempe, Angounou scored 23 points and almost single-handedly won the game for ASU. At Pauley Pavilion Angounou was held to 11 points on only 3 of 5 shooting although he did finish with 9 rebounds.

The Bruins shot 48.9% from the field and hit on 8 or 20 on 3-pointers for 40% in the game.

UCLA will clash with the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday. Arizona was upset at the Sports Arena on Thursday night by the Trojans, 77-70.


(photo credit: AP/Carlson)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

UCLA No.12 in First Official NCAA RPI

The NCAA released the first official Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for college basketball today.

The UCLA Bruins are ranked No.12 in the NCAA RPI.

Arizona is the only other Pac-10 team ranked in the top 50 at No.16. The next Pac-10 team ranked is Washington at No.54.

The top five NCAA RPI teams ranked are: Duke, Memphis, Villanova, Tennessee, and Michigan St.

The Big East conference has nine teams ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA RPI, most of any conference.

The RPI is used by the NCAA tournament selection committee as one of their tools in selecting at-large teams and seeding of brackets for the postseason tournament

A link to the official NCAA RPI has been placed on the Bruin Basketball Report side menu.


Top Prospects To Visit Pauley Pavilion

Watching in the stands may be UCLA's answer to sustaining that status for the near future.

According to sources, heralded and much sought-after high school juniors Kevin Love and Kyle Singler, who both hail from Oregon, will be in attendance on Saturday during an unofficial visit to UCLA.

The Bruins' potential landing of Love and Singler, according to Tracy Pierson, publisher of, is the single most important recruiting development at UCLA since
Baron Davis's 1997 freshmen class came to

From Lake Oswego High in Oregon, Love is a 6-foot-10, 255-pound center who is currently projected to be the No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2007 according to multiple recruiting services. Love, the son of former Oregon Duck and NBA player Stan Love, has reportedly narrowed his decision between North Carolina and UCLA. According to Pierson, Love could have started on a Pac-10 team as a freshman in high school.

Meanwhile Singler, who is a close friend of Love's, is a 6-foot-8 small forward known for his quickness and basketball intelligence. He joins Love as a top-10 prospect for the Class of 2007, as multiple recruiting services peg him as the No. 6 high school junior in the country. Singler is reportedly debating between Duke and UCLA. Daily Bruin

(photo credit: Portland Tribune and The Oregonian)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

UCLA vs. Arizona State - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

The No.13 ranked UCLA Bruins tip-off the second half of their Pac-10 season at Pauley Pavilion against the Arizona St. Sun Devils (ASU) Thursday night.

UCLA (17-4, 7-2) returned home this week after sweeping both Oregon schools. The Bruins are first place in the Pac-10 conference one game ahead of Arizona, California, and Stanford.

ASU (7-11, 1-8) has lost their last three games and eight of their last nine. The Sun Devils lost their last game to Arizona, 80-70, last week in Tempe. They sit at the bottom of the Pac-10 conference six games behind the Bruins.

In their last meeting three weeks ago, UCLA escaped out of Tempe with a 61-60 victory when UCLA’s Jordan Farmar scored the winning lay-up with just 3.6 seconds left in the game.

UCLA was behind at halftime to ASU 29-23. Farmar had re-aggravated his ankle against Arizona in a game earlier in the week and was playing hurt. The Bruins shot poorly from the outside hitting on only 1-15 shots from beyond the arc.

The Bruins played poorly on defense with the Sun Devil guards repeatedly dribble-penetrating into their defense setting up easy scores inside. ASU's guards Kevin Kruger and Antwi Athuahenewere combined for twelve assists in the game.

ASU was highly successful with their pick in rolls plays against UCLA. The Bruins were slow in their rotations and the Sun Devils capitalized with easy lay-ups and dunks off their sets. ASU will certainly test the Bruins early on to learn if they're able to defend it on Thursday. The Sun Devils shot 47.2% in the game.

Although they were out-shot in the field by the Sun Devils, the Bruins stayed close because they began to aggressively attack the basket and were getting to the free throw line. The Bruins went to the line 29 times and made 24 (82.8%) while the Sun Devils shot only 6-13 free throws.

UCLA also out-rebounded Arizona St by a huge margin 36-27. “We won this game”, Howland said afterwards, “because we made our foul shots and out-boarded them.”

The Sun Devils are led by senior guard Kevin Kruger who is averaging 14.9 points and 3.9 assists per game. He leads the Pac-10 in minutes played with 38.2 minutes a game and three-point field goals made per game with 2.7. Kruger scored 11 points against UCLA in their last meeting.

Forward Serge Angounou (Jr, 6’8, 230) played his best game of the season against the Bruins recording a season high 23 points and 15 rebounds. Angounou, who hails from Cameroon, appeared especially motivated playing against his fellow, and younger, countrymen at UCLA - freshmen Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya.

Both Bruin freshmen had difficulty containing Angounou, in addition, the two combined for only five points in the game. No doubt Mbah a Moute and Aboya have been looking forward to this re-match with Angounou. For the season, Angounou averages 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds a game.

Freshman Jeff Pendergraph (Fr, 6'10, 210) began the last game against the Bruins by hitting two jumpers from the baseline but then got into early foul trouble playing only 17 minutes. He finished with 11 points in the game.

Pendergraph is exceeding all expectation at ASU. He is averaging 9.2 points per game and is tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage shooting 52.2 %. Among Pac-10 freshman, he is third in rebounds per game (5.2) and second in blocks per game (1.7).

Freshman forward Sylvester Seay did not play in the last game against the Bruins. Over the last three games, he has averaged over 20 minutes, 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. At 6'9 Seay gives the Sun Devils more size up front.

ASU’s Bryson Krueger (Jr, 6'7, 190) has been inconsistent with his shooting this year. He is shooting 41% from the field, although hitting on 42% of his three-point shots. In recent games, the freshman Seay has been taking more of Krueger's minutes - primarily due to ASU's coach Rob Evan's need for more rebounding and defense underneath.

Antwi Atuahene (So, 6'4, 205) is playing 25 minutes game and is averaging 7.9 points and 3.9 assists per game. ASU played much better with him in the game against UCLA, and he has since supplanted senior guard Tyrone Jackson as a starter on the team.

The Sun Devil's lack of contribution off the bench has been a major concern for ASU all year. Coach Rob Evans said yesterday he plans to give his starters more minutes this week against UCLA.

"We haven't had much production lately out of our bench," he said. "And when we went to our bench we had a drop off."

In the Arizona game, aside from Chad Goldstein, ASU reserves played a total of only six minutes.

The Bruins currently lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense allowing only 59.9 points per game and are second in FG% defense at 41% and 3-point FG% defense at 34%.

Bruin's senior Ryan Hollins has keyed the Bruins defense since his return from a groin injury five game ago. He has averaged nine points and five rebounds in his last four games; but more importantly he has played excellent team defense.

"When I came back," Hollins said, "I wanted to make whatever time I have left on the court worthwhile. I have a better idea now of what the coach wants and what I have to do to stay on the floor."

"I'm really proud of Ryan", Howland said, "All the work he put in this summer is now paying off for him".

Sophomore guard Arron Afflalo took a few days off from shooting this week and hopes to regain his shooting form at home against the Arizona schools.

"The more energy, the more spring I have in my legs, the better I'm going to perform." Afflalo said, It's not hard to understand, but staying away from basketball in general, I guess, that's been hard."

After Thursday night's game the Bruins will face the Arizona Wildcats in a key match-up of conference heavyweights on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.


Howland Deserves The Credit

Time to throw him a few accolades, to concede that the turnaround Howland promised when he first took the job is well underway.

To give credit and recognize that Howland appears exactly the coach UCLA expected when athletic director Dan Guerrero brought him to Westwood from Pittsburgh three years ago.

"It would be hard for us to find another coach across the country that has done as remarkable a job as Ben to date," Guerrero said.

"More remarkable in my opinion than overcoming the injuries is we're successful with very young guys. Ben gives credit to the high school coaches, but more credit has to go to Ben and his coaching staff and how they've been able to keep these kids focused and composed, keep them believing in what he thinks are the essential ingredients to success."

Those ingredients are becoming increasingly clear. Tough team defense. Unselfish play. Toughness. Fundamentals. Hitting the boards. Preparation.

"He's our backbone," said sophomore guard Aaron Afflalo. "Besides the things he can't do literally on the floor, you have to give him credit for everything else. He prepares in a way that sets us up for success." L.A. Daily News

(photo credit: AP)

Afflalo Has To Be Forced To Rest

UCLA sophomore guard Arron Afflalo was like an 8-year-old waking up early on Christmas morning to find a tree full of presents, only to be told he couldn't open them until after dinner.

He stepped off the team bus on UCLA's campus Saturday night, and in front of him was Pauley Pavilion.

But hours before, after the Bruins won at Oregon State despite Afflalo's seventh straight subpar shooting game, Bruins coach Ben Howland gave Afflalo a mandated two-day break.

The belief is Afflalo's shooting woes are linked to fatigue, something he is experiencing because of his dual role as scorer and defensive stalwart.

"I saw the open gym, and it looked appetizing," Afflalo said. "The lights were bright and everything. I'm a dedicated basketball player, but I've gotta respect my coach's wishes. He only wants the best for me."

Afflalo had an individual workout under Howland's watchful eye Tuesday morning, and then took part in UCLA's afternoon practice. He said his legs felt more fresh, which he hopes translates into better shooting. L.A. Daily News

(photo credit: AP)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Farmar Named Midseason Wooden Award Nominee

By Bruin Basketball Report

Sophomore UCLA guard Jordan Farmar was named a 2005-06 Midseason Top 30 candidate for the John R. Wooden Award presented to the top college basketball player of the year.

In August last year, Farmar was named a 2005-06 Preseason Top 50 candidate for the award.

Farmar is averaging 13.4 points and leads the Pac-10 in assists with 5.9 per game.

Past John R. Wooden Award winners include two Bruins: Marques Johnson (1977) and Ed O'Bannon (1995).


(photo credit: AP)

Get To Know His Name: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute


Bruins Freshman Mbah a Moute An Impressive Find

By Dan Weber
The Press-Enterprise
Originally published 1/28/06 in The Press-Enterprise
(Reprinted with permission)

EUGENE, ORE. - His family has a home in Paris.

His father heads the labor ministry in Cameroon.

He's a multilingual, multi-sport African prince who excelled in tennis and soccer at boarding school.

And the day Luc Richard Mbah a Moute proved he could be a consistent force for UCLA came in only his third year of basketball.

"It was 120 degrees and humid," Bruins coach Ben Howland said Friday, recalling the day in 2004 when he realized the freshman standout would be a special player.

Howland remembered sweating in the sauna of a practice gym at Florida's Montverde Academy, amazed as Mbah a Moute went strong every second of the two hours his high school coach worked him.

"No player in California has ever been under those conditions," Howland said, starting to sweat as he thought about it. "I was sold."

Howland was sure Mbah a Moute, discovered by UCLA assistant Ernie Zeigler, wasn't ranked high enough as the No. 15 player in Florida, and not recruited enough. He just wasn't sure how much Mbah a Moute had been underestimated.

But not even Howland imagined that his 6-foot-7 forward would average nine rebounds, best in the nation for a freshman and No. 2 in the Pac-10. Or that Mbah a Moute would lead first-place UCLA (16-4, 6-2 Pac-10) in rebounding in 19 of 20 games with six double-doubles.

Mbah a Moute's teammates have been equally impressed.

"He doesn't even know how good he is yet," said guard Jordan Farmar, who described him as "relentless" and "tough-minded."

"He's one of the leaders on this team," sophomore forward Arron Afflalo said. "His attitude is something special."

Senior center Ryan Hollins realized how good Mbah a Moute could be in their summer games. But there's something else that doesn't show up in the scorebook: his temperament. He doesn't act or play or think like a freshman, Hollins said.

"He's way better there than we thought he could be," Hollins said.

And he seems to be having fun. Just ask the students at Oregon's McArthur Court who sit so close to the floor they could dribble the ball for opponents in their pregame layup line.

The Ducks fans challenged the Bruins freshman during Thursday's game. But as the jawing started, you could see Mbah a Moute giggling and having fun with them.

"They were trying to get on me but they couldn't pronounce my name," he said.

So they gave up.

"That was a great atmosphere," he said, hopping out of the UCLA locker room with two ice packs per leg after posting team highs of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 34 minutes.

His best game thus far?

"You can say it's my best game. I did some good things getting the ball inside," he replied.

After watching the game tape Friday, Howland said, "I think he can be pretty good" with a wink. And that would make his mother happy.

With his father, it's all about getting a UCLA education, Howland said.

But his mother came over in the summer to see him and "she knows it's about basketball, too," Howland said. "It's definitely about basketball."

(photo credit: Kurt Miller / The Press-Enterprise)

You can find Dan Weber's regular UCLA basketball coverage at The Press-Enterprise .

Monday, January 30, 2006

UCLA Moves Up To No.13 and No.14 in Polls

By Bruin Basketball Report

After sweeping both Oregon schools on the road, the Bruins moved up to No.13 in the ESPN/USA Today and No.14 in the AP polls released today.

The Bruins defeated the Oregon Ducks 56-49 last Thursday; and then followed it with a 63-54 win over the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday.

UCLA (17-4, 7-2) has sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 conference. Arizona, California, and Stanford all trail UCLA by one game. Washington, the only other top 25 ranked Pac-10 team, is in third place two games behind the Bruins.

The Washington Huskies got no love from voters this week dropping out of the top ten and are ranked No.15 and No.16 in the ESPN/USA Today and AP polls, respectively.

The Huskies were swept on their road trip through the Bay area last week. They lost by only two points to Cal in Berkeley and then lost a heartbreak game in OT to Stanford.

Lute's Olson's imploding Arizona Wildcats received zero votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. The Wildcats were routed at Chapel Hill on Saturday by North Carolina 86-69.

For the first time in weeks other Pac-10 teams received votes, the California Bears received three votes and the Stanford Cardinal one vote in the AP poll.

The Michigan Wolverines, a team UCLA soundly beat earlier in the season, entered the rankings at No.20 and No.21 in the ESPN/Today and AP polls this week. The Wolverines defeated ranked Michigan St. and Wisconson last week. Michigan's success in the Big 10 well benefit the Bruins at tournament seeding time.

The Bruin's RPI rating is No.14 this week; while their SOS (Strength of Schedule) is 14th toughest in the nation.

UCLA plays host this week to the Arizona Sun Devils on Thursday night and Arizona Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion.


Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (1/30)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup published every Monday during the season.


Otay Ranch was sensing a major upset, trailing by just one entering the last quarter, before the visiting Eagles (19-3) erupted for 21 fourth-quarter points to win easily. UCLA-bound James Keefe (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Christian Hernandez (14 points, 10 rebounds) led the way for Santa Margarita. San Diego Union Tribune 1/29

It wasn't the high-scoring forward who committed to Duke that put the game on his shoulders Friday night. Nor was it the 7-foot-1 center bound for Arizona, the athletic power forward who signed with UCLA or the sleek shooting guard headed for Santa Clara. It was Kamyron Brown, a 6-1 junior point guard for Santa Ana Mater Dei who scored a career-high 19 points and helped the Monarchs, ranked No. 4 in the Southland by The Times, put a defensive stranglehold on No. 10 Santa Margarita in the fourth quarter, paving the way for a 57-47 Serra League victory at Concordia University. UCLA-bound senior James Keefe of Santa Margarita (18-3, 1-3) had a team-high 22 points and 16 rebounds, but missed his only two field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. L.A. Times 1/27


Leuzinger senior guard Russell Westbrook and Peninsula junior forward Jon Reed both had big nights, but it was a pair of complementary performances that made the difference for Leuzinger. Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds and four steals for the Olympians. Daily Breeze 1/25

Oregon recruiting trail: Seattle was a recruiting hotbed the past few years, and now it's Oregon's turn, which is why Bruins assistant Kerry Keating has been in the state since Tuesday.
The Bruins are recruiting two juniors and two sophomores from the state. The two juniors are power forward Kevin Love, a 6-foot-9, 265-pound forward from Lake Oswego High, and 6-8, 200-pound small forward Kyle Singler from South Medford High. The two sophomores are power Andrew Poling, a 6-10, 200 pounder from Portland Westview High, and 6-2 Ameer Shansuddin from Benson Tech of Portland. L.A. Daily News 1/28

He's better than I ever was as a basketball player," Stan Love said, "and he's only a junior in high school." Kevin Love is considered one of the most versatile players in the country. He can score in the paint, but when teams try to prevent him from doing that - which OSL did in the first half yesterday - he can also move outside, where he displays a delicate touch for a player of his size. New York Daily News 1/23

I know Lake Oswego's guard play has been inconsistent. And the team has a tendency to stand around and watch superstar Kevin Love do his thing (who can blame them?). But I have given the Lakers the nod atop my weekly ballot all season because I figured Love would will the Lakers to the championship, especially considering their title-game collapse last season. But after watching South Medford travel 275 miles north, enter one of Oregon's most intimidating venues and barely blink, outmuscling, outhustling and outplaying Jefferson on Saturday, I admit that the majority of AP voters had it right. South Medford is the best team in the state. Oregonian 1/24

A handful of athletes with ties to the Rogue Valley are finalists in voting for the annual Oregon Sports Awards. The winners will be announced tonight at a banquet at the Tiger Woods Center at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton. On the prep side, South Medford High junior Kyle Singler is one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year Award. Mail Tribune 1/29

Kyle Singler -- whose father Ed quarterbacked Medford (now North Medford) to a co-state football title in 1977 and played at Oregon State University -- finished with a game-high 30 points and blocked three shots for South. News-Review 1/27

Junior forward Kyle Singler pumped in 30 points and sophomore guard Michael Harthun added 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field as the Panthers romped to a 95-64 victory over Roseburg. Mail Tribune 1/25

Strong forward Kendall Gielow (23 points, 11 rebounds), center Brent Johnson (19 points, 13 rebounds) and small forward Kyle Singler (18 points, 16 boards) all registered double-doubles. "When Singler got in foul trouble, the other guys kicked it up a notch," said Johnson, a 6-7, 230-pound senior who might be the most underrated big man in the state. "We’re not a one-man team." Mail Tribune 1/24

South Medford outscored Jefferson 20-8 in the third quarter to take command at 52-41 entering the fourth quarter. The Democrats never got closer than eight points in the fourth quarter. Gielow (23 points), Johnson (19) and junior Kyle Singler (18) combined for 60 points. Oregonian 1/22

Kyle Singler said the season has already been magical in that the Panthers have gone from being one of a handful of state title contenders at the start of the season to THE contender for the state title. Mail Tribune 1/22

There's an easy way to gauge the continued development of the South Lakes boys' basketball team. He's named Julian Vaughn. Last night in Reston, Vaughn, a 6-foot-10 junior center and one of the top recruits in the country, continued to show his tantalizing promise in a thrilling 47-46 victory over Marshall that highlighted both South Lakes's considerable talent and inconsistencies. Washington Post 1/25

James Harden and Jonathan Wills, 6-5 juniors for Artesia and the Monsoons, respectively, were marvelous and have to rate among the dozen 12 to 15 prospects among 11th graders in the Western portion of the U.S. of A. Long Beach Press-Telegram 1/24

Taft has no answers in big loss to Artesia. Sophomore Malik Story scored a game-high 13 points for Pioneers (18-1) and teammate James Harden scored 12. L.A. Daily News 1/22

James Harden, a 6-foot-6 junior, was Artesia's leading scorer against Taft with 14 points. He has scored more than 1,000 points in his brief varsity career while becoming a dependable rebounder. L.A. Times 1/22

When Fairfax's Jerren Shipp hit three straight three-point field goals to start the game for the second-ranked Lions (17-2), you knew it would be a long night for the Titans (10-11). Shipp finished with 21 points, one fewer than Poway's Todd Lowenthal. Temple recruit Matt Shaw and Chace Stanback each added 17 for Fairfax. San Diego Union Tribune 1/29

"We've grown up very quickly this season," Campbell Hall coach Terry Kelly said. "Even though we have three very good players returning from last season, we're still very young." Sophomore Jrue Holiday scored 30 points, 20 in the second half. His older brother, junior Justin Holiday, added 23 points, 17 in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter. L.A. Daily News 1/24

If anyone else in the Bay Area but Drew Gordon was standing between Decensae White and the bucket, Serra and Mitty may still be playing basketball. Gordon, the 6-foot-9 sophomore standout from Mitty, partially blocked White's last-second layup attempt after a three-quarter court drive as the Monarchs held on for the gritty 50-48 West Catholic Athletic League victory. San Francisco Chronicle 1/29

Larry Drew scored eight points and had eight assists, six in the fourth quarter, and three steals. Haynes finished with 19 points and teammate Anthony Edwards added 10. "There was never any doubt about this game," Drew said. "When we play team basketball, we're unstoppable." L.A. Daily News 1/26


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Sunday, January 29, 2006

UCLA's Winning Mentality

OSU's Sasha Cuic, who scored 24 points against UCLA in a losing effort, had this to say about the Bruins:

"UCLA plays with a winning mentality," Cuic said. "They know how to win games. I don't believe they even practiced when they came here yesterday. They have that attitude now, a little bit of arrogance that allows them to come off with a win like this one."