Saturday, June 10, 2006

Farmar Completes Camp On Solid Note

By Bruin Basketball Report

On the final day of the NBA Pre-Draft camp in Orlando, Jordan Farmar helped lead his team to a 105-86 victory.

Farmar collected 6 points and 5 assists while playing primarily against Duke's Sean Dockery (Sr, 6'2) and Cal State Fullerton's Bobby Brown (Jr, 6'1).

His performance on Friday was similar to his earlier games - solid and steady but nothing spectacular.

Off-the-charts and spectacular play at the camp may be exactly what Farmar needed in order to dramatically improve his status in this year's draft.

Scouts have applauded Farmar for being the only projected first-round pick to attend the Orlando; yet from most reports, his performance at the camp has not changed his status as a middle to late first-round pick.

It's uncertain at this point whether Farmar is leaning towards remaining in the draft or returning to college for another year, although he has continually maintained a return to UCLA is a real possibility.

Farmar has been very deliberate with his approach to the process, and with over a week until the June 18 deadline to decide whether to remain or withdraw from the draft - it wouldn't be surprising if he spent the entire period to ponder his final decision.


(photo credit: AP)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bruins In The Nike L.A. ProCity League

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Nike L.A. ProCity League will kick-off its annual summer league play on the weekend of June 24th.

The Los Angeles area based league has developed a reputation similar to New York’s Rucker Tournament for the quality of talent and play found in the league.

“You’ll see head-to-head player match-ups and player-team combinations you’d normally would not find during the regular college season.” said Rico Cabrera Jr., a consultant to the league.

“We take pride in the diversity of talent and individuals in the league. I have UCLA basketball players on my team playing alongside players from USC and Harvard.”

Cabrera will also be head coach of a team which includes UCLA’s Lorenzo Mata and Michael Roll. Mata played for Cabrera last summer.

Mata and Roll will be joined on the team by cross-town rivals Gabe Pruitt and Nick Young of USC.

Cabrera’s team will be named “Hank's Franchise Boys” in honor of former USC guard Ryan Francis who was killed in a hometown shooting incident in May.

“I went to Gabe and Nick and told them I’d like to name the team in honor of Ryan (Francis).” Cabrera said. “Gabe thought about it and came up with the name Hank’s Franchise Boys - ‘Franchise’ was a name Francis himself associated with due to his fondness of NBA’s Steve Francis.”

Last summer, the majority of returning Bruin basketball players and incoming freshmen recruits played in the Nike L.A. ProCity League, and this year’s participation of current and future Bruins will be no different.

Returning Bruin players expected to play in the Nike L.A. ProCity League, besides Mata and Roll, include: Josh Shipp, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alfred Aboya, and Darren Collison.

Additionally, incoming freshmen recruits James Keefe and Russell Westbrook are expected to play as well.

Games will be played at West Los Angeles College and Cal Poly Pomona University. League play begins June 24th and continues through August 12th.

Visit the Nike L.A. ProCity League website for updates at

Bruin Basketball Report will provide coverage on the league throughout the summer.


Farmar Showcases Scoring Talent In Day Three

By Bruin Basketball Report

On Wednesday, UCLA's Jordan Farmar demonstrated his playmaking skills - many times bypassing his own shot to set up teammates for scoring opportunities.

During day three of the NBA Pre-Draft camp, playing against Syracuse's Gerry McNamara, Farmar expanded his offensive repertoire and showcased his scoring skills to scouts.

Considering Farmar is not known for a quick first step, he was able to repeatedly blow past McNamara to get into the lane for scoring opportunities and demonstrate his ability to score around the basket against bigger players.

Farmar scored 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting in the game, although his team lost 94-78.

As far as match-ups, Farmar picked a good day to concentrate on his scoring abilities. McNamara, a 6'2 senior, is not quick nor an athletic guard, and had difficulty staying in front of Farmar defensively all game.

McNamara had a strong season offensively and led Syracuse to an improbable trip through the Big East tournament this year - he is projected at best to be a late second-round pick this year or he may go undrafted.

Mike Schmidt of DraftExpress had this account of Farmar's play today:

Farmar was able to get into the lane all day, with Gerry McNamara not being able to keep up with him at all.

He made a few nice shots in the lane, including a beautiful floater off the glass while he was fading away from the basket.

He has a lot of the tools necessary for a point guard to score over taller players in the NBA.

His floaters dropped into the hoop with ease, and he was able to keep defenders on his back while making layups.

Farmar was unable to make most of his shots however, and his passing was nowhere near what we saw in college.

He did find his teammates for some good looks in transition, but struggled to find guys in the half court.

Part of this may be due to the fact that his teammates weren't executing plays well, but he had to deal with that for much of his college career.

Farmar's passing in the half court might be better if he had a better feel for his teammates' tendencies.

His shooting was inconsistent, hitting a few long range jumpers but being well off on quite a few more.

This was the first occasion when watching Farmar where his finishing in the lane has actually been better than his passing.

On the defensive end, Farmar kept McNamara in check for much of the game, but still lacked focus at times.

Farmar did a lot today to prove that he can score, he just needs to go out and display the court vision he was known for in college.

From most reports, it appears Farmar has not hurt his position in the draft by his play in the camp and perhaps has bolstered his standing.

At minimum, he has successfully used this opportunity to demonstrate to scouts his total game - something he was unable to do earlier in limited private work-outs with some NBA teams.

Tomorrow is the final day of the NBA Pre-Draft camp in Orlando.


(photo credit: AP)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Farmar Matches Up Against Washington In Day Two

By Bruin Basketball Report

DraftExpress is providing exceptional reports throughout the day at the NBA Pre-Draft camp in Orlando.

In the early morning session of Day Two of the camp, Jordan Farmar’s Team No.1 split its ten players into two teams and scrimmaged against each other;

"Jordan Farmar was probably the best overall player in the morning session. He ran his team with terrific poise, making excellent decisions on the pick and roll and beginning to develop some cohesiveness between his unit as far as becoming familiar with each other. He found the open man time after time in both the game and the transition drill, and did a good job scoring the ball himself unselfishly when the opportunity presented itself." - DraftExpress

In a much anticipated showdown between the two top sophomore point-guards playing in the camp, Farmar faced off against Memphis’ Darius Washington in an afternoon game between their two teams.

Washington was easily the most impressive player in the game, demonstrating quickness and sharp passing from the point.

Prior to the NBA Pre-Draft camp, scouts were reportedly concerned about Washington's ability to play the point at the next level and some even suggested he was more of a two-guard.

Washington had been projected to be a second-round draft pick in most mock drafts, and hoped to use the four-days in Orlando to showcase more of his point-guard skills.

On the other team, Jordan Farmar was solid and steady - more interested in setting up his teammates than scoring baskets himself.

Farmer hit a running floater in the paint for the winning basket in a 73-72 victory over Washington's team.

Farmar's totals: 8 points, 3-7 FG, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 TO

“Nothing spectacular, but Farmar did a solid job of running his team’s offense and defending the opposing man on the other end of the floor today. He pushed the tempo of the game nicely and got into the lane to find the open man unselfishly on the drive and kick. When the opportunity was there, Farmar managed to score around the hoop as well with a nice floater or finger roll. There were quite a few minutes when he struggled to get things going too, though, being contained in the half-court due to his average first step. All in all, this was an above average showing for Farmar, but we know he is capable of much more." - DraftExpress

Visit DraftExpress for full extensive coverage of the NBA Pre-Draft camp in Orlando.


(photo credit: AP)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

UCLA Guard Impresses With Mere Presence At Camp

By Bruin Basketball Report

The NBA pre-draft camp has developed into a four day event for first-round lottery picks to completely avoid, and for projected first-round bubble players and second-round draft players to improve their stock in the eyes of NBA scouts.

However, many first-round bubble players have decided to skip the pre-draft camp this year - including players such as Mike Gansey, Leon Powe, Josh Boone, and Rajon Rondo.

Which has made some NBA scouts wonder what these players are trying to hide?

Not Farmar, the highest-rated college prospect per various mock drafts, who is participating in the four day camp.

And he's impressing scouts with both his play and mere presence at the camp.

The first day session in Orlando was suppose to consist of only basketball and agility drills but players broke into teams after the first hour and played simulated games - and reports indicate Farmar conducted himself well in those games, demonstrating strong floor leadership and playmaking skills.

Which is the main reason why Farmar decided to play in the camp in the first place.

When Farmar declared for the NBA draft in April, he initially committed to only private work-outs with NBA teams, but he soon realized the small scale private work-outs were geared more towards displaying individual talent, and the setting did not allow him to showcase his point-guard skills.

The next three days in Orlando, playing in front of a multitude of NBA scouts, will likely be the turning point in Farmar's decision to stay in the draft.

The UCLA sophomore guard is maintaining he is still undecided whether he will stay in the draft or return for his junior year at UCLA.

Farmar stated he is presently spending as much time on his course studies as he is on the basketball court, and that a return to UCLA next year is still a distinct possibility.


(photo credit: AP)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Farmar To Play At Pre-Draft Camp, Afflalo To Sit Out

By Bruin Basketball Report

The NBA announced its final roster for the pre-draft camp to be held in Orlando with sessions running from Tuesday until Friday.

UCLA's Jordan Farmar has elected to participate in the pre-draft camp, while his backcourt mate, Arron Afflalo, was invited to the camp but decided not to attend.

Farmar has worked out for a number of NBA teams in private work-outs over the past few weeks, including the Lakers, Clippers, Suns, Kings and Nets.

He has received varying grades on his performances at the work-outs, and is still seen as a middle to late first round draft choice.

The UCLA point-guard's decision to participate in the pre-draft camp may be the result of his inability to showcase his play-making skills in the small private work-out sessions which typically involves only two to six players on the court at a time.

The fact Farmar is participating in the pre-draft camp indicates he is looking to improve his current draft status.

The pre-draft camp will consist of six competing teams. Farmar is slated to be on a team consisting of the following players:

Point Guard Jordan Farmar (UCLA)
Point Guard Daniel Horton (Michigan)
Shooting Guard Allan Ray (Villanova)
Shooting Guard Chris McCray (Maryland)
Small Forward Bobby Jones (Washington)
Small Forward David Noel (North Carolina)
Small Forward Steve Novak (Marquette)
Power Forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu (George Washington)
Power Forwrd Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech)
Center Terrence Dials (Ohio St.)

Meanwhile, most NBA scouts expect Arron Afflalo to return to UCLA for his junior season.

He has worked out in private work-outs with teams including the Lakers, Pacers, Bulls, Cavaliers and Suns.

Most reports from Afflalo's work-outs sessions indicate he would be a second round draft choice at best this year.

Both Farmar and Afflalo have not signed with agents and are still eligible to play at UCLA next year if they withdraw from the NBA draft by the June 18 deadline.

As expected, none of the players projected to be lottery selections in the first round will be participating in the pre-draft sessions this week.


(photo credit: AP)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Afflalo, Farmar Put Howland In A Tough Spot

By Steve Bisheff
The Orange County Register

Put yourself in Ben Howland's spot.

On second thought, don't. You wouldn't want to be there.

UCLA's basketball coach finds himself between a rock and a blue-and-gold hard place.

He wants to do what he can for his two sophomore stars, Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo, in terms of the upcoming NBA draft. But at the same time, he wants to do what's best for his basketball team.

The problem is he can't do both.

"There's really not a lot I can do about it," Howland said. "I want what's best for them."

Howland can't say it, but here's what that would be:

Stay in school, gentlemen. Together, you form the finest college backcourt in America. You got a taste of the Final Four last season, making it all the way to the championship game before losing to Florida.

Why would you give up a shot at winning UCLA's first national title in 12 years now? Why throw away the fun and the glamour, the chance to be the big men on campus again?

We all know why. It is spelled m-o-n-e-y.

People, the ones who want to get something out of this themselves, are whispering in their ears, telling them they will be first-round picks or high second-rounders, reminding them they don't need classwork and final exams when they can trade them for making big-time cash and hanging out at glitzy clubs.

Farmar and Afflalo shouldn't listen to them. Another year in Westwood, another season of refining their skills under one of the better teachers in the country, another year to gain experience and maturity, well, that's priceless.

At best, the NBA gurus say Farmar will be a late first-round selection, while Afflalo is no cinch even to be picked in the two rounds of the June 28 draft.

If they stay another year, Farmar could go from, say, a No.27 overall choice to No.10 or 12. Afflalo could vault from the outside looking in to the sweet inside of round one.

Not only would they get more money by waiting, they would get something more important - added minutes. Late first-rounders mostly sit in the NBA as rookies.

Top 10 or 12 picks usually get to play right away.

Imagine how it will feel, guys, in March, while you're sitting on the bench bored every other night, and your old teammates are immersed in the madness of the tournament, playing their hearts out.

Run that through your minds a few times before making your decisions.

Howland has tried to get at least part of that through to the two kids who have been the cornerstones of his program.

"I've been very candid with both of them," Howland said.

"I've tried to show them examples. Brandon Roy of Washington wouldn't have been a first-round pick a year ago. Now he's considered a top-three selection.

"Same with (Adam) Morrison. He probably would have been in the 15-to-20 range last year. Now he's going in the top five. It's not an exact science."

Still, the NBA's siren song filters into the ears of innocent, young athletes. It is their lifelong goal, and after skimping by, barely able to pay for a pizza on a date, a $1.5 million contract isn't easy to dismiss.

Hey, it wouldn't be easy for any us.

But the thing is, the money won't go away. Basketball players usually don't get hurt the way football players do. The risk is minimal.

So why rush? When you're a major star on a campus like UCLA, why give it up before it's necessary?

Farmar and Afflalo have to be thinking about some of this, even as they schedule workouts for NBA teams. Farmer will be seen by the Lakers, Clippers, Suns, Kings and Nets, among others. Afflalo has workouts set with the Lakers, Pacers, Bulls, Cavaliers and Suns.

It has to be exciting, but the clock is ticking.

"The cutoff date is June 18," Howland said. "They have to decide by then."

Howland knows outside sources are a factor.

"They're always around, telling kids they're not getting enough shots and things like that," he said.

Parents enter into it, too. Rumors were rampant around Pauley Pavilion this past season that Farmar's dad didn't think his son was properly showcased in Howland's system.

Howland denies that.

"I think Jordan's parents have been very supportive," he said. "But you have to realize, these kids dream of being an NBA player."

And yes, the parents dream, too.

Howland has been busy enough with banquets and dinners this offseason to help take his mind off the draft. But he can't get away from it entirely.

With Farmar and Afflalo, the Bruins would be a top five preseason pick next season. Without them, they'd be lucky to be in the top 20.

"The whole key to this thing is to try to control your emotions," Howland said.

Right. Let's see how controlled he is come June 18.

(reprinted with permission)


(photo credit: AP)

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (6/5)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup published periodically during the offseason.


Pangos All Star Game Recap: James Harden and Drew Gordon arrived Sunday morning for the Pangos All American Camp and had strong performances for opposing teams in the All Star Game. But it was the help that Harden got from his teammates, including the active play of Matt Simpkins that propelled the White squad to a 107-93 point victory.

[...] James Harden- Tied with a game high 19 points. Started the game with two three-pointers, but the cerebral player also contributed with assists, rebounds and steals.Harden has a top five of Arizona State, Arizona, Washington, Washington State and USC. All five schools have offered, and Harden said he definitely plans on visiting Washington, Arizona State and Washington State.

[...] Darnell Gant- Scored 6 points. More of a finesse offensive player at this point. Shoots the ball well off the dribble. He also had a couple nice blocks.

[...] Drew Gordon- After a day of participating in the state track championship, Gordon went for 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. Despite his evident fatigue, Gordon played a highly energetic game. He scored well in the post, while also defending and rebounding. Cardinal Sports 6/4

New ASU basketball coach Herb Sendek is likely to make a shrewd personnel decision by hiring Artesia (Calif.) High School coach Scott Pera to join the Sun Devil staff. Pera this year coached Artesia to the CIF III state title, a team that includes talented junior wing James Harden. If Pera goes to ASU, Harden is likely to follow. He would be ASU's top wing recruit in more than a decade, possibly longer. ... Sendek and Olson are likely to engage in their first important in-state recruiting battle this summer. Both seem mightily interested in 6-foot-6-inch Phoenix Thunderbird shooter Zane Johnson, who played at McKale Center's Cactus Classic two weeks ago and impressed spectators as a Ricky Anderson type perimeter shooter, something Arizona seriously lacks. USC's Tim Floyd has already offered Johnson a scholarship, and Florida's Billy Donovan is now in the picture. AZStarnet 6/4

Bryan-Amaning, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward, took an official recruiting visit to the university this weekend and gave a commitment to Huskies coaches before leaving town. [...]Bryan-Amaning averaged 14 points and nine rebounds last winter for South Kent. The 18-year-old is entering his second year at the high school after coming over from London to pursue his basketball career. The Huskies, however, have been recruiting him for about two years, valuing a wingspan that measures more than 7 feet, which would give them the kind of length to combat the type of interior players that others in the Pac-10 have been recruiting, most notably UCLA. Seattle Times 6/4

The Huskies are expected to sign at least one more player for that class with their sights set now on Kyle Singler, a 6-8 forward from South Medford (Ore.) High who is considered one of the top juniors in the country. The Portland Tribune reported Friday that Singler is favoring either UCLA or Duke and is also considering Kansas and Arizona. But he is expected to take an unofficial visit to UW in about two weeks and will also try out later this month for the USA Basketball Men's National U-18 team that will be coached by UW head coach Lorenzo Romar. Seattle Times 6/4

Some of the top talent on the west coast and from across the country showed up for the Pangos Camp. Darnell Gant was one of the top prospects that caught the eye of Gant stood out on Saturday. Darnell Gant- Only saw him miss one shot and that was a spinning left handed hook shot. An efficient scorer with tremendous body control, Gant scored from three off the dribble, hit several reverse lay ups off spin moves to the baseline and scored on put backs. Run the floor well and passes out of the double team with poise. Gant says that UCLA, who has offered, is his favorite, but he is keeping his options open. He is also naming North Carolina, Washington and Texas as close competitors. UConn and Texas Tech are also involved. Gator Bait 6/4

Hoover's JayDee Luster and Crawford's Tyrone Shelley were named to the All-America basketball team for juniors by Student Sports magazine. Only 25 players nationally were selected. San Diego Union-Tribune 6/2

The Southern Cal All-Stars have hit their stride. Led by an impressive array of talent, SCA captured its second Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions title in as many years. Kevin Love,'s No. 2 overall player and top-ranked power forward, led the way for the kids from the West Coast who invaded Chapel Hill and humbled an entire tournament field. Love, for his weekend of outstanding production and play, was named the MVP of the event, though a certain 2008 point guard made a strong case to at least share the trophy. Brandon Jennings, the floor leader for SCA, cemented his status as not only the top point guard in his class but one of the elite players at the guard position, nationally. Here's the deal: SCA is loaded and even without Jennings they are good enough to win some major events. With Jennings, SCA is flat out unstoppable right now. He's the perfect guy to run their team because he has the utmost command of the arsenal that is at his disposal. He can toss the alley-oop when needed or he'll drive and bury his patented floater on the move. He seemingly never forgets to involve even his three-point shooting complimentary players and guys appear to love playing with. He's on pace to be one of the elite point guard prospects of the past five years. SCA stormed the Tournament of Champions like few teams have in the past. They blitzed the competition and were really only challenged once. Other than that, it was complete domination of a tournament wire to wire. Fox Sports 5/1

Phil Jones, a 6'10 senior currently attending Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina, told the Indianapolis Star last week that the only thing keeping him from becoming a Hoosier was the formality of some paperwork being processed.After further review, that may not be the case. After Jones was interviewed by the Star, he requested the article be e-mailed to him after it was published, according to Terry Hutchens' Hoosier Insider blog on Jones read the article, which declared his intentions to go to IU, Jones told that his college decision was "wide open." He called the article into question, saying "I don't know how the newspaper had quotes from me when I never said those things."The confusion remained Wednesday night with no word from Jones on his basketball future. IDSnews 6/1

Kevin Love: Position: Center; Height: 6-foot-9; AAU Team: SoCal. All-StarsHis legend status grows every time the Pacific Northwestern steps onto the hardwood. Winning events like the Tournament of Champions twice, the Kingwood Classic twice and a state championship all in a shade over a year's time certainly helps build the excitement. Love was named tournament MVP after winning the TOC. Playing in front of a strong pro-North Carolina crowd, the Tar Heel target was nothing short of spectacular. Often times the beneficiary of brilliant passes from Jennings, Love knew what to do with the ball around the basket. The big man averaged 18.3 points, showing off his skills inside, outside and even on the bench as a leader. Basketball hasn't seen a passer like Love in some time. His up the floor vision is uncanny and usually translates into four assists to transition buckets a game. The big fella can hit a man 50 feet down the floor in perfect motion or finding a slashing teammate in the half court. Point guards and quarterbacks don't have the vision that Love possesses. Blue Demons Nation 5/31

Brandon Jennings: Position: Point guard; Height: 6-foot-0; AAU Team: SoCal All-Stars. Just a rising junior, the southpaw floor general plays like a prospect that is in the homestretch of his prep career. He mixes speed with athleticism and pin point passing. At times, the soon to be five-star prospect just toyed with the opposition as he knifed through nearly every defense that came at him. He has an amazing sense of where he is, his teammates are and where defenses are going to be. Jennings makes precision decisions with the ball. Dropping seven assists a game was par for the course and he averaged 18.2 points a game. His teammate Kevin Love may have been the official MVP of the Tournament of Champions but our pick for the best player in the event was Jennings. He was the steady force for SCA all weekend long in every aspect of the game. Blue Demons Nation 5/31

Archbishop Mitty stars Drew Gordon and Danielle Robinson will compete for spots on the U.S. under-18 national teams. Gordon, listed as a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward, is the only sophomore invited. He is the youngest of the 22 players selected by a committee chaired by Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim to compete at the trials June 16-18 at Texas-San Antonio. Mercury News 5/31

Mesa Mountain View center Harper Kamp, who has committed to California, suffered a broken bone in his foot after coming down on another player's foot during open gym at Mesa Mountain View last week. He had surgery Friday and will miss the rest of the summer's club showcases. Kamp was The Republic's Big School Player of the Year as a sophomore and an All-Arizona selection this past season after leading the Toros to a second straight Class 5A Division I title. Kamp is expected to be healed by September and ready for the high school season. AZ Central 5/31

Kyle Singler: Position: Small forward Height: 6-foot-8; College choice: Undecided; Being forced to play on the interior for his Portland Elite Legends team has only helped diversify Kyle Singler's game. When playing with Kevin Love for most of last spring and summer, Singler displayed the finesse side of his game with his playmaking off the dribble and outside shooting. Defensively, he typically found himself on the perimeter. Now, at a good 6-foot-8 and with his body developing more mass, Singler is defending well in the post and grinding out rebounds. Offensively he is sealing strongly in the low post and producing points off physical spin moves.
He is still doing damage from the outside as always, but Singler now has a more physical and attacking edge to his game that will serve him very well on the next levels as a legitimate inside/outside, physical/finesse threat. • Click here for video of Singler in action. Cardinal Sports 5/30

Corperryale Harris: Position: Shooting guard; Height: 6-foot-4; College choice: Undecided. Speaking of players with a nose for the ball, Corperryale Harris of The Family has to near the top of the list along with Tyreke Evans. Harris comes up with his share off defensive rebounds and loose balls, but where he is most dangerous is picking up "garbage" points on the offensive end of the court. Whenever the ball is squirting around, Harris seems to always be there to grab the ball and then convert a bucket. He is also a dangerous offensive rebounder from his wing position. As an opportunistic scorer, he finds cracks in the defense when moving without the ball. When guarded by a smaller defender, he can post up and score as he did when guarded by Jai Lucas of the Houston Hoops. He is also crafty with the ball and score with a soft touch on the difficult shots in between the mid-range area and the basket. His shooting form also needs refinement, but he still makes enough outside jumpers to keep the defense honest. Cardinal Sports 5/30


(photo credit: Rivals)