Friday, August 04, 2006

Former Bruin Michael Fey To Play In China

By Bruin Basketball Report

Former UCLA Bruin center Michael Fey was selected in the Chinese Basketball Association 's (CBA) international player draft and has signed a contract to play next season.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed; however, international players typically sign 7-8 month contracts worth as much as $25,000 per month.

Fey was one of 48 international players chosen in the draft, and was picked in the second-round of the four-round draft.

CBA teams are allowed to carry two international players per team.

The draft followed a weeklong tryout camp hosted by the U.S. Basketball Academy (USBA) at their training facilities in Oregon.

Over 600 players applied to participate in the USBA camp, but only 81 players were actually invited to the tryout camp.

USBA president Bruce O'Neal said this was his organization's third-year hosting the tryout camp.

Participants are mostly American players with major-college experience, with a talent level O'Neil describes as "NBDL, U.S. CBA, and borderline NBA". Tyrone Washington (Mississippi St) was the first overall selection in the draft.

Fey averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds during an injury-plagued senior season at UCLA in which he played only 18 games averaging 6.3 minutes.

His best season at UCLA was as a junior when he averaged 8.6 point and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 55% from the field. In that season, Fey enjoyed the best collegiate game of his career when he scored 23 points and grabbed 7 rebounds against Oregon St.

The 7'0 center from Olympia WA. played on the Lakers Summer Pro Leage team last month in which he used as an audition and resume-builder in his quest to play overseas.

Congratulations to UCLA Bruin Michael Fey.


UCLA To Play Chaminade in Maui Invitational Opener

By Bruin Basketball Report

Organizers of the 2006 Maui Invitational announced the official tournament bracket.

In its 23rd year, the eight-team college season-opening event takes center stage at Maui’s Lahaina Civic Center.

Seven NCAA Division I teams will join Division II host Chaminade University November 20-22.

The Maui Invitational boasts three teams ranked in top 25 college basketball preseason polls: UCLA, Memphis, and Georgia Tech.

The rest of the tournament field includes Kentucky, Purdue, DePaul, and Oklahoma.

"We’ve carried the momentum of an unforgettable 2005 event right into this year,” said Tournament Chairman Dave Gavitt. “This tournament promises to set the stage for the 2006-07 college basketball season with play from an assembly of decorated teams, including a pair in UCLA and Kentucky that collectively boasts 18 NCAA titles.”

UCLA will open against tournament host, Chaminade, on November 20th.

If the Bruins win their first round game, then it will set up a showdown against Kentucky in the second round.

"We are excited about being in the Maui Invitational," said Bruin head coach Ben Howland. "It is one of the premier tournaments in the country year in and year out. This year's field is a lot like last year's with a lot of great teams and oustanding coaches, which should make for an exciting tournament."

UCLA has posted an all-time record of 3-3 in the Maui Invitational, including a third-place finish in its last appearance during the 2001-02 season when the team posted a 2-1 record.

All twelve tournament games are schedule to be televised on ESPN.

[click here for official tournament bracket]


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nike ProCity Say No Classic Launches New Website

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Nike ProCity Say No Classic has launched their new website with updated team information, scores, and schedules at

League playoffs begin this weekend when teams from the Pomona division will clash with those in the Los Angeles division.

All games will be played at West Los Angeles College.


Howland Expects Former Boss To Make Good Hire

By Curt McKeever
Lincoln Journal Star

How sure is Ben Howland that buddy and former boss Steve Pederson will reel in a big catch to take over the Nebraska men’s basketball program?

“If I didn’t have the best job in the world, I’d come work for him there,” the UCLA coach said from Los Angeles on Wednesday, the day after the Huskers’ vacancy became official. The job opened when Barry Collier, about to start his seventh year as coach, returned to Butler University to become his alma mater’s athletic director.

Howland, of course, is the guy Pederson dragged from the hills of Northern Arizona University in 1999 to revive the University of Pittsburgh’s program. Four years later, he’d produced back-to-back teams that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, leading to a call from UCLA, which he steered into the 2006 NCAA national championship game.

But to this day, Howland is convinced Pitt fans thought Pederson, now Nebraska’s athletic director, had lost his marbles when he announced who was taking over the Panthers’ hoops program in 1999.

“A lot of people said ‘What are they doing hiring a guy from the West Coast? He doesn’t know anybody, he’s going to get drilled,’” Howland said. “(Steve’s) not afraid of making decisions that aren’t always popular. He’s very good.”

If Nebraska fans are thinking Pederson automatically will go after someone he knows well, they might want to consider that before he hired Howland, the two had never spoken to each other.

“That thing happened all pretty quick. We had a good year, he flew out and met me and my wife and then we went to check out Pittsburgh,” Howland said. “He made sure I never saw the (basketball) facility. It was ‘Oh, no, they’re practicing, you can’t go up there.’ But he also showed me the plans (for a new arena), said ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ and I believed him.

“Believe me, his phone’s ringing off the hook right how. It’s a good job in a great league. To me, the most intriguing thing would be the opportunity to work for Steve. And Marc Boehm (the AD who has administrative oversight for basketball), he’s great.”

Howland acknowledged that Pederson has called to ask about potential candidates, but he’s sure he won’t be the only one with whom Pederson consults.

“I think he’s utilizing all his friendships in the world in athletics, and he has a vast number to drop on. He’s been in the Big Ten, Big East, SEC and Big 12,” Howland said. “The bottom line is, Steve is an expert in his field and he’s going to make the final say. He has a great feel. ... He’ll probably interview four or five guys (before making a final decision).”

For the moment, Howland doesn’t believe one of those will be UCLA’s 35-year-old assistant Kerry Keating, considered to be one of the top recruiters in the country.

“Kerry does a great job (but) I think Steve is going to first look at all head coaches. When you’re in a major conference, I would say almost always that’s the case,” said Howland, who had an assistant, Jamie Dixon, succeed him at Pitt. “Jamie was really unique, and I recommended him.”

Boehm made the call on Dixon’s hire, which has proven successful, as Pederson had departed for Nebraska.

Now that they’re together again, could lightning strike twice?

“Ben’s qualities were so obviously great that we were 100 percent gung-ho sold on what could happen, and then Marc made a gusty call,” Pederson said. “I think we’re going to use the same types of things we used in those searches to try and find the right person here.”

But Howland offered there’s an attraction to Nebraska that goes beyond the Pederson and Boehm factor. Yes, he sees a land of opportunity, even though the Huskers haven’t made an NCAA Tournament since 1998.

“Danny Nee went to five tournaments in 14 years and had some success,” Howland said. “They have great fans and a love for the university. And Lincoln’s a very nice town.”

Oh, really? Howland’s been to Lincoln?

“I was there recruiting the big kid,” Howland said of Lincoln Southeast graduate Matt Hill, who signed with Texas. “We couldn’t get anywhere with him.”

He almost made it sound like UCLA had a harder sell with Hill than the job Pederson now faces.

“You’ve got great facilities,” Howland said. “What’s nicer about Oklahoma State than Nebraska? Is it because it’s closer to Texas?

“The only tough part is the recruiting base ... so you have to get a coach who’s a real grinder.”

Pederson has set an aggressive goal of having a new coach in place when school starts on Aug. 21.

“I think he’ll get it done,” Howland said.


(photo credit: ASUCLA)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

NABC Names Wooden To Hall of Fame Founding Class

By Bruin Basketball Report

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced five of the greatest names in basketball will represent the founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City.

The five honorees are John Wooden, Dean Smith, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and James Naismith.

They will stand for more than 100 former players, coaches and contributors currently members of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, MA) with strong college roots, who will be automatically included in the new college hall.

Organizers say Kansas City's hall is not meant to compete with the Naismith hall nor with the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn

Coach Wooden coached at UCLA from 1948 to 1975 compiling a record of 620-147. (808) and led the Bruins to 10 national championships. As a collegiate basketball player in Indiana, Wooden was a three time All-American at Purdue (1930-32) and was named College Basketball Player of the Year in 1932.

Smith, who led North Carolina to three titles, is the winningest coach in the game’s history.

Robertson and Russell won five national player of the year titles between them at Cincinnati and San Francisco.

Naismith invented basketball in the late 1800's while teaching physical education at a YMCA training school in Springfield, MA.

The induction ceremony will be held on November 19th at the Crown Center Exhibit Hall in Kansas City.

In 2007, the college hall induction ceremony will move to the Sprint Center in Kansas City and the honorees will be celebrated in an adjacent building at "The College Basketball Experience". (for more information)


Monday, July 31, 2006

Bobcats Sign Ryan Hollins To NBA Contract

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Bobcats have signed second-round draft choice Ryan Hollins to an NBA contract. Terms of the agreement were not released.

"We were fortunate to get a player of his size and athleticism with the 50th pick," Charlotte coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff said. "He will have an opportunity to earn playing time with our team as he continues to develop."

Hollins averaged 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds as a senior at UCLA last season. His stellar performance at center during the NCAA tournament helped propel the Bruins to the championship game against Florida.

"I have waited for this day to come for a long time," Hollins said. "I am thrilled to be joining a first-class organization and to have the opportunity to be a part of something special.

"This is a really talented team with a great coaching staff. I look forward to being a part of the Charlotte community and getting to know the fans."

Hollins played in only one game for the Bobcats' summer league team in Orlando before spraining his right ankle.


Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (7/31)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Kevin Love, Renardo Sidney, Brandon Jennings & Co.'s eventual 31-point (84-53) victory belied the fact that their team looked anything but invincible in its 77-72 win earlier Sunday morning against the Michigan Hurricanes. I'll skip any details on that one since I've already forgotten them. The game was just another reminder why Love (29 points, 12 rebounds and four or five "I can't freakin' believe he just did that!" outlet passes) — who is expected to announce Tuesday that he will sign with UCLA in November — is without peer as a high school post player in the Class of 2007. Fox Sports 7/25

It is going to be very interesting to see how Kevin Love fits in at UCLA in 07. He is seemingly the perfect fit at the moment to play along side Darren Collison, Aaron Afflalo, and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. The PAC-10 style of play is quite fast, and Kevin should be able to continue to be the “One Man Fast Break” he is at the high school level with his amazing outlet passes. While we will most likely see Love in the NBA some day, we may have to wait a little bit longer due to the fact that he doesn’t quite have the potential of many of his peers, although he is far more talented at the moment. DraftExpress 7/25

Kevin Love, the 6-foot-10 forward/center from Lake Oswego, who has generated as much recruiting interest as any prep basketball player in Oregon history, announced Tuesday at a news conference at Foothill High School that he will attend UCLA. Bruin Basketball Report/Oregonian 7/25

And, because of the talent Bruins coach Ben Howland is expected to have on hand when Kevin Love finally begins classes in Westwood some 14 months from now, the Bruins will be a consensus choice to reach the 2008 Final Four in San Antonio. By the way: If you are suspicious of the hyperbole surrounding Love — and it was being ladled on well before he attended his first high school class — then the presumption here is that, a.) you've never watched him play, and/or, b.) you don't have at least a rudimentary understanding of the elements that make up an elite prospect in the sport. Fox Sports 7/26

Kevin Love chose UCLA over North Carolina. And maybe you're happy for him today, but we also should grieve the fact that the University of Oregon, where his father played, wasn't even a distant third in the race for one of the most prized basketball recruits in state history.
If you ask his family, the Ducks weren't fourth, either. Not fifth. Not even in the top 20. Oregonian 7/26

Reebok Big-Time Championship Game: Southern Cal All-Stars 69, Mean Streets 63:...So Cal was led by Kevin Love with 20 points, 15 boards and three key blocks. He got solid support and a big helping hand from Daniel Hackett who finished with 19 big points. Taylor King had a big second half to finish with 13 points, and 6-3 point Brandon Jennings handled the pressure Mean Streets imposed to finished with eight points and six assists. CSTV 7/27

"I believe it," said Kevin Love, the aforementioned kid headed to UCLA. "We are the best AAU team ever." Love proclaimed this late Wednesday after leading the Southern California All-Stars (Los Angeles) to a 69-63 win over Meanstreets Express (Chicago) in the finals of the Reebok Big Time Tournament. Sportsline 7/28


The Oakland Soldiers crew drew a strong Pac-10 crowd to their game. Arizona head coach Lute Olson was joined by assistants from Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, Oregon State, and Oregon. Assistants from North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and Louisville were also on hand, mainly to get a glimpse at 2008 prospect Drew Gordon. Gator Bait 7/25

How many of those who watched EBO, with a roster that included Jerryd Bayless, Jamelle Horne, Billy White, Matt Simpkins and Jeffrey Withey, expected the two-time defending champions of the adidas tournament to get bounced in the Round of 32 Monday night (71-63 by DTA Wisconsin 17’s)? An interesting thing about basketball: The team that has the most “talent” and gets the most 7/25

Jrue Holiday's play was overshadowed by Austin Freeman's 33-point effort in an adidas Super Sixty Four semifinal victory by D.C. Assault Tuesday night at Desert Pines. But Holiday's four-day performance in the event left little doubt that the 6-3 guard from Campbell Hall in North Hollywood, Calif., and the Double Pump Elite team should be considered one of the five or so best prospects in the Class of 2008. A year from now he may be every bit as dominating a shooting guard as Freeman and Eric Gordon are right now. Fox Sports 7/26

Darrington Hobson, 2007 – Mr. Versatility had it rolling to the tune of 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. They call him "Butter" because of his smoothness and his game was in true form. He did it all and helped his H-Squad team advance to Wednesday's play. Don't sell him short on confidence either. The three-star wing demanded that he be the new No. 1 player in the country twice in the middle of the game, beckoning media row to take notice loudly. Blue Demon Nation 7/26

Former NCAA head coach and National Champion Jim Harrick coached the Pump-N-Run team to the championship and said Harden is en route to a fantastic basketball career much like a couple of his former players....Harden didn't do it alone. Larry Drew was outstanding with the ball in his hands, scoring 16 points and handing out five assists. Try finding a point guard in the 2008 class that executes the pick and roll like he does. Jackets Online 7/26

Larry Drew, Jr., 5-10 from Taft High in Woodland Hills, Calif., added 15 points for the winners. The son of former NBA player Larry Drew is believed to favor UCLA over KU, North Carolina, Arizona, Stanford and many others. Lawrence Journal-World 7/28

Larry Drew 5-11 Jr. Pump-N-Run Elite - Frank Burlison says: Based on his play over five days and the increasing number of high-profile programs that are jumping on his recruiting bandwagon, it's reasonable to assume that he's at least the equal of any point guard in the Class of 2008. Fox Sports 7/29


(photo credit: Bruce Ely)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Giving Back One Last Time

By Sean Moses Staff Writer
San Gabriel Valley News

Former UCLA Bruin Tracy Murray Opens Final Basketball Camp Monday

"Some professional athletes use their immense talent as their ticket out of harsh environments, turning their backs and not looking back.

Others recognize the importance the community played in their eventual success and make it their mission to repay those who made their prosperity possible.

As far as former NBA player Tracy Murray is concerned, giving back to those in need is in his genetic makeup.

Every summer during the past 14 years, before he would go off to NBA training camp, Murray held a basketball camp at Glendora High School, his alma mater, to help local youths improve their games.

The 2006 Tracy Murray Basketball Camp, which starts Monday, will mark the final year of an event that has impacted hundreds of young athletes.

"I have a (22-month-old) son of my own and it's time to concentrate on him and my family," said Murray, 35. "For the last 14 years, I haven't been able to spend time with them. My parents spend the whole year preparing for one week ...

Fourteen years is a long time; it was a good run. We all sat down and talked about it and decided this was the last year. It takes a lot out of me. None of us are getting any younger. It's time to do some family stuff."

Murray, who lives in La Verne, is no stranger to charitable acts. Throughout his entire life, he's made an effort to return the favors he received while growing up.

"I've been giving back since I was a kid," he said. "My cousin was born with spine abifida, so we grew up with the charity in us.

"I was a chairman for a charity golf tournament in Toronto for three years. When I wound up in Washington, I still went back to Toronto to do the tournament."

Murray hasn't been alone. His younger brother, Cameron, who established himself as an outstanding high school and collegiate basketball player in his own right, was right there alongside Tracy when it came time to give back.

"It's almost like a family reunion, and that date is something we look forward to every year," said Cameron Murray, also a La Verne resident. "The two that keep this family going are my mom (Candy) and dad. My dad (Robert) starts in May, just going around putting flyers out, and my mom's at home doing all the business part of it."

According to Cameron Murray, it has become more difficult for Tracy to receive financial support for his camp since his retirement as an NBA player in 2004.

"When Tracy was in the NBA, he would be able to get sponsors," Cameron Murray said. "Since he hasn't been playing, the sponsorships haven't been there and it's been hard to fund everything.

"We didn't get into it to make money, we came to help the kids. We don't want to make the camp something that doesn't satisfy the kids. We have a reputation to uphold."

Murray started the event with the idea of creating the best basketball camp in the world, and he thinks he has succeeded. Some athlete-run basketball camps are little more than a summer day care, but the Murray family has made sure their camp is top-notch.

"We pride ourselves on being the best basketball camp in the world. Not the country - the world," Tracy Murray said. "I stay there. There are some that just come and leave. Come the first day and the last and that's it.

"I don't get paid at all. It's about our family giving back to the community. The kids are our future. We want them to be better people, not just good basketball players."

Professional basketball players visit to talk to the kids and help them with their games, but they aren't the only ones. Police officers and firemen come by to talk and share the virtues of being good people in the community.

Murray stresses the value of getting a good education and having something to fall back on if sports doesn't work out. In fact, he made himself an example of that recently.

Murray went back to UCLA, where he left early for the NBA, and graduated in June with a degree in history.

"It felt great to put an end to that chapter of my life," he said. "Even with all the money you make and all the fame you get, at the end of the day, you still need an education. I'm glad to have gotten mine."

As one chapter in their lives close, the Murray brothers remain focused on helping area youths get an upper hand on the competition.

For the past two years, Cameron Murray, 30, has been training teenagers and pre-teens individually, giving them one-on-one instruction to help them become better basketball players. His new company, Prodigy Athletic, is designed for personalized growth on the hardcourt. Tracy helps his brother in this venture.

"As Tracy's camp kept going on, kids would be disappointed that the camp filled up and kids still wanted to work," Cameron Murray said. "So we thought of this."

Even with the specialized training, the Murrays want to maintain a charitable environment. Prodigy has and will continue to give out scholarships to children in conjunction with the Pasadena Boys and Girls club.

"Prodigy is not just about Cameron and Tracy," Cameron Murray said. "It's going to be about the kids and helping them develop. There are a ton of kids everywhere that need help."

(reprinted with permission)


(photo credit: Greg Andersen)