Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mbah a Moute Looks To Round Out His Game

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Entering the 2007-08 season with two varsity letters and two Final Fours under his belt, Mbah a Moute speaks with the confident air of, well, a prince.

No longer does Mbah a Moute pay heed to the external voices whispering into his ear that he needs to improve his outside shooting in order to play at the next level.  Instead, the junior forward is working on simply improving his overall game.

"Many people put a lot of emphasis on my shooting, and I did a lot
of shooting over the summer, " Mbah a Moute said. "But I feel I have to
work on my ball handling, passing, driving - all the other things in my game because I just can't put all the emphasis on shooting and forget everything else."

With the arrival of Kevin Love, Head Coach Ben Howland has stated Mbah a Moute would spend minutes at the wing this season  - a position Mbah a Moute had hoped to play more at last season.  But his attitude and approach to the game is different this year.

"I'm not really focused on what position I play this season," Mbah a Moute said. "I now
understand I can play anywhere on the floor and help the team and that I just need to work to
improve my entire game.  Whether Coach puts me at the 3 or the 4, I just have to be ready to play.

Mbah a Moute worked hard over the offseason to improve his conditioning and to strengthen his knees.  At times last season, he suffered from knee tendinitis which seemed to prevent him from exhibiting the same level of explosiveness he showed during his freshman year.
"I did a lot work over the summer stretching and strengthening the muscles around my knees and hip area," Mbah a Moute said. "Our trainers pointed out that could be what caused the pain last season.   

Mbah a Moute is looking forward to having freshman Kevin Love on the court with him.  Although the team's leading rebounder the past two years knows he'll have quite a challenge to repeat again this season with Love grabbing a good share of the rebounds.

"It makes it a more competitive situation because he's such a great player and rebounder," Mbah a Moute said.  "I'm competitive, he's competitive.  Just having him here makes us a better team."

Over the summer, Mbah a Moute had the honor of playing for his home country in the FIBA Africa tournament.  Although his team lost in the finals to Angola, Cameroon still has the chance to earn an Olympic bid through an upcoming qualifying tournament. 

"Playing in the Final Four was a great experience but playing for the national team was totally different," Mbah a Moute said.  "You can't really compare the two because they each have their own taste.  At UCLA you have the pressure of living up to the tradition of a great program while in the (FIBA) tournament you're representing your whole country. I was fortunate to do both."

(photo: Bruin Basketball Report)



At Oct 11, 2007, 3:38:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

I have a feeling Luc is going to have a monster year especially if he resorts back to his explosive, athletic style of play from his frosh season. Luc, Love, and Mata are going to be three-headed monsters on the boards. Glad the season is starting soon!

At Oct 11, 2007, 4:14:00 PM, Anonymous Jacques said...

Luc the Duke (of Cameroon)


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