Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Keefe Cleared To Practice, Bruins Look To Get The Ball To Love

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland announced at his weekly media conference that sophomore forward James Keefe has been cleared to practice with the team.

Today will be the first practice we've had all eleven of our scholarship players available together," Howland said. 

Keefe, who had surgery on his shoulder after injuring it during a pick-up game over the summer, gives the Bruins additional depth along the frontline.  He had bulked up over the summer with weight training and had been impressive in workouts before the injury.  It will take at least a few weeks before he catches up with his teammates in terms of game conditioning.

Towards the end of the game against Texas, Howland used Lorenzo Mata-Real in place of Kevin Love at center due to Mata-Real's experience and better defensive presence.

"Kevin was a great teammate even when he was out of the game.  He was cheering his teammates," Howland said. "He has a great attitude and is about the team winning first. That's what I love best about Kevin."

Howland acknowledged his team needs to do a better job against zone defenses and getting the ball inside to Love.

"We have to do a better job getting Kevin the ball," Howland said. "He had eleven touches in the game which is terrible considering on Saturday seven of the eleven times he got the ball we scored."

The UCLA Head Coach understands getting the ball to Love in the post opens up opportunities for the entire offense.

"Part of it is that Kevin is by far the best passing big man we've had in my five years here," Howland said.  "We were never great in getting the ball inside and getting it back out and making plays for others.  It's a night and day deal compared to guys we've had int he past.  It's my responsibility, and it will be emphasized this week in practice.

More specifically, Howland wants to emphasize at practice in getting Love more touches at either the high post, short corner, or even at three-point line where he is a definite threat with his shooting and passing abilities.

Over time and with practice Howland feels the Bruin offense should become very effective against zone defenses.

"We're going to be a real good zone team primarily because we have two outstanding passers in the starting lineup with Kevin and Luc (Mbah a Moute)," Howland remarked. "We've got to utilize their ability to pass the ball."

Although Mike Roll only played five minutes against Texas, Howland feels Roll's return will only help the team's offense.

"Mike Roll is our best post feeder," Howland said. "We also need him back because he stretches the zone since he shoots the ball so well. He does a lot of different things for the team." 

UCLA's next game is against Davidson on December 8th in the Wooden Classic at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

(photo by Bruin Basketball Report)



At Dec 4, 2007, 6:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howland will whoop their ass in the next 4-5 practices.
They better come up super-focused and blow out Davidson.

At Dec 4, 2007, 8:38:00 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

Expect same of what we've seen before (i.e. come out FLAT in the first half - for whatever reason, and then dominate the second). It's been this way the past 3 years now. Why can't the Bruins get focussed enough to put good teams away in the first half instead of always having to mount an incredible comeback to win???

At Dec 4, 2007, 9:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good question. Halftime can never come soon enough for Howland, he may be the best coach in the league in halftime adjustments, but what about winning that first half......
This last game was eerily similar to Michigan St. and that Washington St. home game last year, and @Oregon game last year. Every time we needed to mount huge comebacks instead of taking control in the first half. It's very disappointing, the way we come out against good teams.

At Dec 5, 2007, 2:35:00 AM, Anonymous jrbruin2001 said...

Is it possible that we (UCLA) do come out with good focus it's just that our opponents come out with focus and discipline as well.
It may be that as the game goes on, we're su much more disciplined and conditioned that when they wear down we start to look like an even better team.
I am not discrediting that we may need a few mins to get into a rhythm, but 8 minute scoring drought for us is a bit rediculous.

At Dec 5, 2007, 3:58:00 AM, Anonymous David said...

I think UCLA starts games with an offensive mentality of trying to put points on the board whereas after halftime they're in the proper mode to shut down their opponent defensively. If they can come out of the gates with the defensive intensity that they've come to be known for, then it would set a more favorable tone for the game.

At Dec 5, 2007, 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

Perhaps they come into the game with the attitude that they are going to win. By the time they are down 12 points at halftime they have to really work not to lose. Maybe Howland should start the game gifting the opponents 12 points? Tell his team he won't consider it a win unless they win by 10? I don't know but it seems to be a trademark of UCLA teams back as far as I can remember except for the Walton years. He would put the game away in the first 5 minutes if he could.

At Dec 5, 2007, 1:44:00 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

The rotation at UCLA is big and the combination of line-ups are many. It takes teams like that longer to get in sync. that's the bad part. The good part is by the second half Howland can find the best combinations to finish. And wear out their opponent. Go Bruins.

At Dec 5, 2007, 1:48:00 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

Their was a team led by a certain- ED O'BANNAN that never trailed anyone by 12!

At Dec 5, 2007, 4:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, don't I remember that? I also remember that team didn't shoot that many 3's, and when asked, they said - "well, if you score enough 2's, who needs 3's?". Good times!


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