Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Collison and Mbah a Moute Decide To Stay In School

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA sophomores Darren Collison and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute both announced  they would not test the waters of the NBA and remain in Westwood for their junior years.

"This is the right decision. The NBA isn't going anywhere," said Collison. "It wasn't too difficult. My goal is to
always win a championship. I'm ready to take a knock at it my junior

Both players met with UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland the week following the Final Four to discuss their futures. 

Howland indicated how this year's NBA draft would be one of the strongest in recent history as a result  of last year's elite high school players, such as Kevin Durant and Greg Oden who were prevented from joining the draft due to an NBA rule change, entering the draft this year.

It appeared, at least in Collison's case, he had a chance of getting drafted in the first-round this year, however with an additional
year of seasoning  he has a chance of moving up higher in
next year's draft.

"I think Darren had given some thought to playing in the NBA," Howland said. "To be honest, he's a potential late
first-round pick. I think the thinking is, and it's wise, that he can test the waters next
year and that he will move himself way up the draft and be a potential
early- to mid-first round pick when he does leave for the NBA."

"I want to get stronger, smarter and learn how to control
the game," said Collison"

Howland says Collison will work hard over the summer to gain more weight and strength as well as develop his point-guard skills.  As for Mbah a Moute, the UCLA coach feels he has a good chance of spending more time at the three spot, but it will depend on how much he improves before the start of next season.

"I would anticipate both Luc and Darren at this time next year will be
putting their name in the draft and testing the waters," Howland said.

BBR Notes: Josh Shipp returned to school this week on crutches and attended the team's meeting on Monday.  Howland expects Shipp to be fully recovered before the start of the season.

(photo credit: Jack Rosenfeld)


At Apr 25, 2007, 7:09:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

That's good! They both need to stay and improve!!
To all the readers out there:
1) I pose this question: What will Howland do with the 2 available scholarships? (Wright/Afflalo)
2) Spread the word about this site
3) With Love in town, u better get your season tix!!

At Apr 25, 2007, 7:12:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

As for the two available scholarships, with Legion gone, not sure if the Bruins will have the opportunity to sign another 2007 recruit. There are a couple of blue-chippers still available such as Patterson and Jai Lucas, but the Bruins are not currently in the running for them.
Many expected UCLA to be busy with the recruiting 2009 class, but with two scholarships available this year plus Mata's and potentially Collison and Mbah a Moute next, Howland is expected to add at least two more, if not three, from the 2008 class.
Obviously Jrue Holiday has been a major target for UCLA, but as many have figured, a post man is a necessity. With Drew Gordon, the post from Mitty already offered, don't be surprised to hear more offers this summer to other 2008 big men.

At Apr 25, 2007, 8:29:00 AM, Anonymous Don said...

Good news indeed, with solid ball handling not coming in until 2008 this is huge. You mention that they need to get a big man in 2008, how will that effect their 2009 recruiting since 2009 is heavy on big men with Renardo and the Wear twins available? Is it reasonable to feel we have a shot at all three of these big men? This is truly an exciting time for ucla basketball with so much talent in the socal area...

At Apr 25, 2007, 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Derek said...

I wouldn't mind seeing BBR's ranking of, say, our top five recruiting targets in the Class of 2008. Gracias in advance!

At Apr 25, 2007, 2:36:00 PM, Anonymous Swoop said...

Yippee! I was sweating it for a minute that Collison was going to play the Farmar/Afflalo "test the waters" game. I am happy that he decided to come back to school. I never expected Mbah A Moute to leave after this year. He still has a ton of upside if he can get healthy. Hopefully the Bruins will hit the weight room this summer. Collison, Keefe and A Moute all need to bulk up if they are going to make it at the next level. -- Thanks for the great work BBR! -- Swoop

At Apr 26, 2007, 1:45:00 AM, Anonymous Joe Bruin said...

Agree with Swoop...I was sweating as well. DC would have definitely gone in rd 1. BBR---I am very impressed with your consistently excellent journalism. It is why you are No 1 on my Bookmarks! Keep up the excellent work!

At Apr 26, 2007, 7:24:00 AM, Anonymous Fliv said...

Will next year's starting five be Collison, Shipp, Mbah a Moute, Love and Mata? I've been hearing that the plan is to move Shipp to the 2 and Mbah a Moute to the 3. Will Love play the 4 and Mata the 5, or vice versa?
It will definitely help Love to be able to practice against Mata and Aboya, who are big, strong, mature players. Also, I think Rolle will benefit from Love's post scoring threat and passing ability. He will probably see a lot of wide open 3's on the inside out game.
I agree with all of the above comments about BBR - keep up the good work!

At Apr 26, 2007, 9:34:00 AM, Anonymous bare gunner said...

Hooray for Collison! The longer you stay in Coach Howland's program, you will only improve your defensive game. That makes your next-level potential that much more attractive. I would like the Bruins to get commits from the following players (based on the 8/5 rule): 2008 - Holiday-SG; Gordon-PF; Drew-PG (We already have commits from guards Lee and Anderson) 2009: Sidney-PF/C; D. Wear-PF; T. Wear-PF. Correct me if I am wrong but this would total the maximum 8 scholarships over a two year span. We have the talent coming in already in 2007 with Love and Stanback, then in 2008 we go small (assuming Collison heads off to the NBA), get Gordon to replace Mata inside, and in 2009 we go big (preparing for the possiblity of Love leaving after one year)! Oh and most importantly, do whatever it takes to keep the best coach in the NCAA to stay at the most respected basketball tradition in the country...U-C-L-A!

At Apr 26, 2007, 12:51:00 PM, Anonymous Alledom said...

The 8/5 rule has been removed, with all the early NBA deffections it didn't make sense. For example, OSU signed 5 players last year, 5 this year and has alredy gotten 5 verbals for the '08 class.

At Apr 27, 2007, 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Swoop said...

I've been thinking about the options for the starting 5 next season. I think it would be really exciting to see:
PG Collison
SG Westbrook
F Shipp
F Mbah A Moute
C Love
I think this lineup would be fast and could really run the break with the great outlet passes from Love. I think Westbrook is a terrific shooter and penetrator. Between Shipp, Collison and Westbrook, they can all penetrate against any defence and with the big fella in the middle, if they double the post, who are they going to leave open? -- Fun times. Keep up the good work BBR! - Swoop

At May 1, 2007, 10:42:00 AM, Anonymous bare gunner said...

Sounds good to me Swoop. Then throw in another summer of Coach Howland's defensive training, and then add Roll, Aboya, Keefe, Dragovic, and Stanback coming off the bench, I'm starting to salivate already!!!

At May 1, 2007, 10:44:00 AM, Anonymous bare gunner said...

Sorry almost forgot Mata...he'll work a great rotation with Love at the center spot!


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