Friday, January 26, 2007

UCLA vs. Stanford - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

After demolishing a good No.25 ranked USC Trojans team Thursday night in Palo Alto, 65-50, the Stanford Cardinal host the No.2 ranked UCLA Bruins on Sunday.

Stanford's Lopez twins, Brook and Robin, manhandled the Trojans for a combined 24 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 blocks - Brook had a record-breaking 12 blocks himself.  Lawrence Hill, a 6'8 "small " forward, added 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

The Cardinal (13-5, 5-3) are tied for fourth place in the Pac-10 but have improved with every game including winning 5 of their last 6. 

Much of the improvement can be attributed to the return of Brook Lopez who missed fall practice and the first five games of the season due to back surgery and is only recently beginning to play near full-strength.

Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson employs primarily a double-low post offense to leverage his 7'0 giants in the paint, although Brook Lopez will at times pop out to the high-post where he has an effective midrange jumper.  On the perimeter, they have two good outside shooters in Lawrence Hill and Anthony Goods who benefit from the attention the Lopez twins receive underneath.

Stanford is averaging 69.1 points a game (7th in the Pac-10) on 45.2% shooting  Aside from Hill and Goods, they are not a great three-point shooting team averaging just 33.3% (9th in the Pac-10) from beyond the arc.

On the defensive end, not surprisingly, Stanford's man-to-man defense revolves around the shot-blocking of Brook and Robin Lopez.  Although Stanford does not have good defensive players on the perimeter, they have been able to compensate by being more aggressive and taking more chances on defense, knowing there is help behind them.  Stanford leads the Pac-10 in blocked shots averaging over six a game.

UCLA's quickness advantage on the perimeter will be troublesome for  Stanford's defense to handle, especially for Brook Lopez who will have problems handling Luc Richard Mbah a Moute when he follows him outside.  Although Mbah a Moute has not shot well from the perimeter, his ability to get into the paint and make good passes off the drive will make this a tough match-up.

The Cardinal are a good rebounding team with +4.9 margin over opponents, moreover, they average 13.6 offensive rebounds a game. If UCLA expects to leave Palo Alto with a victory, they will need big games on the boards from their front line.  Against Cal, the trio of Mbah a Moute, Alfred Aboya, and Lorenzo Mata collected an impressive 27 rebounds.

Lawrence Hill (So, 6'8, 205) has been the most consistent performer for the Cardinal this season.  He leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points a game on 53.5% shooting. 

A converted power-forward, Hill has excellent range, shooting 39.2% from beyond the arc; however, he does not handle the ball or dribble-penetrate very well. 

He is an average defender on the perimeter and has some difficulty in keeping up with quicker wings especially off screens, but he is an outstanding shot-blocker averaging 0.9 a game and a good rebounder with a 6.3 rebound average this season.

At 6'8, Hill will be a tough match-up defensively for the Bruins due to his size and length and ability to score inside and out.  Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp will likely switch between Hill during the game depending on the other match-ups on the floor.

Anthony Goods (So, 6'4, 170) was recruited as a shooting guard but has been forced to move over to the point this season.  He is averaging 13.2 points and 2.3 assists a game on 37.4% shooting including 35.9% from three-point distance. 

He is a streaky shooter with questionable shot selection at times. Still learning the point-guard position, he often thinks shoot before pass.   Goods has respectable ball handling skills but can be vulnerable to  aggressive defensive ball pressure.

Darren Collison will get the match-up against Goods.  It will be key for Collison to use his quickness advantage against Goods to create turnovers or to hinder him from getting the ball inside to the Stanford big men.  Reserve point-guard Mitch Johnson plays practically starter's minutes (24.5 a game) which moves Goods to the two-guard.  Thus, Afflalo will see time against Goods as well. 

Robin Lopez (Fr, 7'0, 245) starts at center where he is averaging 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and  2.4 blocks while shooting 53.7% shooting from the field.

Although not as offensively gifted as brother Brook, Robin exhibits the classic skills of a post man.  Aggressive and athletic, he controls the paint extremely well and is a good low-post defender.  While still developing his back-to-the- basket offense and consistency to his game, he is always around the ball and is a force in the middle.

The tag team of Lorenzo Mata and Alfred Aboya has been an effective combination the past few games.  Against Cal, Aboya and Mata tallied 10 points and 16 rebounds together. 

Brook Lopez (Fr, 7'0, 240) starts at power forward and backs up Robin at center.  His back surgery  set him back early in the season but he seems to be rounding into shape.  Over his last four games,  Brook Lopez is averaging 11.0 points and 8.9 rebonds on 49.5% shooting. 

He has a very good midrange jumper, and like his brother, he is athletic and always seems to be around the ball.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will have his hands full with the bigger opponent, but Mbah a Moute will dish out just as many problems with his speed.  Brook Lopez is especially vulnerable when the offense spreads the floor or isolates him on the perimeter against a smaller and quicker player.

One vulnerability both Lopez brothers share is that they are both foul-prone.  As aggressive shot-blockers they are especially vulnerable to fouling.  Whenever the Bruins venture into the paint, they need to pump-fake to get the shot-blockers to commit or off-balance to avoid the blocked-shot and/or to draw the foul.

Fred Washington (Sr, 6'5 210) is the fifth starter on the team.  He dribble penetrates well and can get to the basket or dish to an awaiting teammate.  He leads the team in assists with 3.8 and is averaging  7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds. 

Shooting over 54% from the field, most of his shots come from the inside as he does not have much range on his jumper.

Off the bench, Mitch Johnson (So, 6'1 185) was a starter last season but his inability to shoot  from the perimeter (36.7% from the field and 27.% three-pointers) landed him on the bench this season.  He averages 4.5 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.0 steals a game.  He handles the ball well but is not quick enough to play point-guard on most Pac-10 teams, however, he is the best-handler Stanford has at this time.

Taj Finger (Jr, 6'8 185) is one of those "glue guys" on the team.  Although he is averaging just 4.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, its his effort and hustle on the court that sets him a part from other players.

Landry Fields (Fr, 6'5 185) is averaging 4.4 points on just 32.9% shooting and 24.4% on three-pointers.  A great shooter in high school, he is still adjusting to college ball.   

Peter Prowitt (Jr, 6'10, 250) gives the Cardinal another big body off the bench.  Although he has been limited by injuries this season, when Prowitt is healthy he can be extremely effective in the low post. 

Although Stanford has extreme size along the front line, they are young and can become frustrated under pressure.  The Bruins will undoubtedly aggressively double-down on the post if the ball goes into either Lopez twins.  Both brothers are good passers, and not surprisingly know each other's tendencies well , and thus, the Bruin weak side defenders will need to rotate quickly to cover inside.

On the perimeter, where the Bruins hold a decided advantage, they need to put aggressive pressure on the Stanford guards to prevent them from making easy entry passes into the post, or to hopefully create turnovers for easy transition baskets.

This will be another tough game on the road for the Bruins, as most Pac-10 games will be this season.  UCLA is vulnerable in the middle, but their team defense has compensated all season.  It will take another team effort at Maples Pavilion on Saturday.

(photo credit: Stanford Athletics)


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Afflalo Sizzles, UCLA Puts Cal Away

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Junior guard Arron Afflalo scored a game-high 25 points including 20 in the decisive second-half to lead the UCLA Bruins to a 62-46 win over the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.   

Teammate Josh Shipp added 12 points as the Bruins improved their overall record to 18-1 and 7-1 in the Pac-10 conference.

The game began inauspiciously for the Bruins as the Cal Bears went out to a 16-8 lead halfway through the first-half on sluggish play by UCLA on both ends of the court.

Defensively, the Bruins were over-playing on the perimeter and were getting beaten back-door and their weakside defenders slow in rotating.  Cal's Ryan Anderson and Theo Robertson capitalized on the defensive miscues, scoring 13 points during this span. 

On the offensive end, despite holding a decisive size advantage in the paint, the Bruins settled for outside shots early and then missed a number of easy lay-ups after adjusting to go inside the paint.

But when Ryan Anderson was forced to the bench after picking up his second foul with 9:29 remaining in the half, the momentum shifted with UCLA going on a 18-4 run and finising the half leading 28-24.

In the second stanza it was all Arron Afflalo.  Darting around multiple solid picks set by his teammates,  Afflalo scored 20 of 25 points in the half on 6-8 shooting and almost outscored the entire Cal team which could only muster 22 points in the second-half.

"They were fighting and we were making some mistakes," Afflalo said. "So we knew we had to come out in the second half and play with a lot more energy, a lot more effort."

Afflalo also teamed with Darren Collison to hold Cal's second-leading scorer Ayinde Ubaka to zero points on 0-8 shooting.  Ubaka had entered the contest averaging 15.1 points a contest. 

"You've got to look at Arron Afflalo's defense," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. "Not only does he get 25, he does a great job on Ubaka."

In addition, the tag team of Lorenzo Mata and Alfred Aboya at center performed much better defensively against Ryan Anderson in the second-half holding him to just 13 points for the game, well below his season average of 17.4 points.  Mata and Aboya also combined for 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Bruins were outstanding on the boards, outrebounding the Bears 35-23.  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who sprained his knee last week and was cleared to play just yesterday, led all players with 11 rebounds including 3 on the offensive end.

With UCLA's defense clamping down on Cal in the second-half, the under-manned Bears, who have three scholarship players injured, began to wear down under the pressure of the Bruin defense.  Cal finished the game shooting 36.7% from the field and a miserable 26.7% (4-15) from three-point distance.   

Point-guard Darren Collison struggled offensively going scoreless in the first-half and finished with just 4 points and 3 assists while committing 2 turnovers in the game. However, his able back-up, freshman Russell Westbrook, came in and sparked the Bruins in his 10 minutes of play.  Although Westbrook finished with just 2 points, on a gorgeous spin move,  and 1 assist, his aggressiveness on the court helped energize the team during parts of the game.

UCLA finished the contest shooting 50% from the field but just 21.4% (3-14) from three-point distance.   They also shot a subpar 60% (9-15) from the free-throw line with only Arron Afflalo (9-9) making any shots from the charity stripe.

The Bruins finish their Northern California trip with a tough game against the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday in Palo Alto.  Stanford upset USC, 65-50, at Maples Pavilion on Thursday.

(photo credit: AP)


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Matt Lee Fitting In Fine At UCLA

By Vytas Mazeika, Staff Writer
Palo Alto Daily News

[reprinted with permission]

After he made the UCLA men's basketball team as a walk-on, Matt Lee had to choose a number for his "True Blue" and gold uniform.

His No. 3, the one the Aragon High and Canada College product has worn his whole life, was not an option because that number belongs to the Bruins' second-leading scorer, wing Josh Shipp.

"So I said 33, and he just laughed at me," Lee said.

The one laughing was UCLA assistant coach Donny Daniels, who thought Lee was joking. When Daniels found out Lee was for real, he enlightened the junior college transfer: "No, that's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's number. You can't take that."

"I was like, 'Wow, that's right. I'm here at UCLA, I can't take Kareem's number," Lee said.

Lately, Lee's life has been a bit surreal. The 21-year-old was accepted to UCLA as a transfer after spending two years at Canada College, where he helped resurrect the basketball program.

The Bruins did not recruit him. In fact, they didn't know about him until Lee introduced himself to Daniels, who asked for his stats at Canada (15 points, five assists, four rebounds per game in 2005-06) and his school transcripts.

After impressing the coaches at an open tryout, Lee was told he made the UCLA men's basketball team, currently ranked No. 3 in the nation with a 17-1 record.

"Matt has been a fine addition to our program," said UCLA head coach Ben Howland, who Lee characterizes as meticulous and organized. "He has played an integral role in helping us improve every day in our practices. He's a perfect fit for our system and our team. His performances in practice and in the classroom fit in well with the goals of our program."

With the Bruins in search of their 12th national championship, playing time is scarce for the only unrecruited walk-on. The one time the 6-foot, 170-pound Lee has seen time on the court was during garbage time against Humboldt State - an exhibition game.
Instead, Lee makes his mark in practice, during one-on-one drills where he's matched up against the likes of Darren Collison, dubbed "the quickest man on campus" by Lee.

"It's actually more than what I could've ever hoped for," Lee said. "It doesn't hit me until after the game, when I see the missed calls on my phone, the text messages from my mom and my brothers telling what a good job I did making the team."

UCLA travels to the Bay Area this week, as the Pac-10 schedule has the Bruins playing Cal on Thursday and Stanford on Sunday. Though Lee gets to sit on the bench during home games, only once has he traveled with the team, and even then he didn't get out of Los Angeles as he got to sit courtside against cross-town rival USC.

He won't find out until the night before the team flies out if he's cracked the top 13 for a second time, allowing him to make the trip home to the Bay Area.

"It's crazy," former Canada College teammate Johnny Moore said. "You see him on TV. For him, it's a dream come true. I'm really proud of him."

"I'm still a fan myself, and that's the funny thing," Lee said. "Instead of watching them on TV, I'm sitting with the team. I win with them, I lose with them and I work hard with them. I believe it's a blessing that no one can ever take away from me."

Canada head coach Lamont Quattlebaum was in southern California over the weekend and got to catch up with his former pupil. Lee gave him a tour of the campus, starting with the state-of-the-art Athletic Hall of Fame inside the J.D. Morgan Center. Also included in the tour were Royce Hall and Powell Library.

"It's like its own little city," Lee said of the campus in Westwood.

Quattlebaum also got a chance to see UCLA beat Arizona 73-69 this past Saturday, with Lee wearing his No. 55 - the biggest number on the team.

"No other kid deserves it more than Matt," Quattlebaum said. "How he had to go through that first season in Canada, to still stay positive and keep playing hard, it says a lot."

The two still talk over the phone on a weekly basis.

"We talk about school first," said Lee, who as a student-athlete is provided with free tutoring. "He made me see that I could become something. ... He definitely helped me get here."

A sociology major who one day may teach, Lee never drew much interest out of high school, especially with Aragon being more of a football school.

"I always thought I was a good enough player to go somewhere out of high school, but unfortunately my circumstances at Aragon, which is not really known for basketball in the Bay Area, set me back a little," said Lee, who played under Kari Huxford.

So Lee went the J.C. route, improving his game to a level worthy of a spot in one of the elite Division I programs of all time.

"If you don't get a scholarship out of high school, there's a lot of great coaches in J.C.s," Moore said. "You can move on easily if you practice, practice, practice."

On the UCLA roster, only Alfred Aboya and leading scorer Aaron Afflalo are older than Lee.

There is not a single senior listed, and next year center Kevin Love, arguably the top high schooler in the country, will join the roster.

For the next couple of seasons, come March Madness, there will be only one number on the mind of Lee, and it's not 33: "Obviously I'm going to tell everyone to fill out UCLA as No. 1 on their brackets now."

E-mail Vytas Mazeika at

(photo credit: UCLA Athletics)


Mbah a Moute To Play This Week

By Bruin Basketball Report

Sophomore forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute practiced with the team on Wednesday and is expected to play against both California and Stanford this week.

Last Thursday he suffered a right hyper-extended knee injury against Arizona State.  The following day after complaining of knee soreness an MRI was conducted and revealed the injury but no structural damage to the joint.

After playing in 56 consecutive games, Mbah a Moute missed his first game ever as a Bruin when he was forced to sit out against Arizona on Saturday.

Mbah a Moute is averaging 9.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 17 games this season and is hitting on better than 49% of his shots from the field.

(photo credit: Jack Rosenfeld)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

UCLA will play in next season's 16-team College Basketball Experience in-season tournament, which is tied in with the new college basketball hall of fame.

The Bruins will host a four-team bracket at Pauley Pavilion, likely the second week of November, with the winner heading to Kansas City for the semifinals and title game Nov. 19-20. The other three hosting schools are Maryland, Missouri and Michigan State.

Also, the Bruins are scheduled to play in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic during the 2008-09 season.

UCLA vs. California - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA travels up this week for an always tough two-game series in the Bay area.  On Thursday the Bruins face the California Golden Bears in Haas Pavilion for a 6:00PM tip-off.

UCLA forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute , who suffered a hyper-extended knee injury last week, was held out of practice Tuesday but may practice on Wednesday.  He is questionable for both the California and Stanford games, although he will likely be a game-day decision.  Mbah a Moute has maintained his conditioning during this time on an elliptical walker and training bike.

"It feels a lot better," Mbah a Moute said. "I'll keep doing rehab about two hours a day, so we'll see. I'm not in much pain now. Just pain on the back of my knee, just an ache, mostly when I stretch my knee."

California (12-7, 4-3) returns home after being on the road for six of its last eight games.  Last week the Bears defeated Oregon State 77-74, and played Oregon tough in Eugene before folding at the end in a  92-84 loss.  They are still only two games behind Pac-10 leaders, UCLA and Oregon, in the standings.

At the start of the season, California appeared to have all the pieces to make a strong run for a Pac-10 title and an NCAA tournament bid; however, injuries to post men Devon Hardin and Jordan Wilkes have changed their expectations for the season and have made them more of a perimeter-dominated offense. 

The Bears lead the Pac-10 in three-point field goals made with 9.57 per game and are shooting 36.2% from three-point distance.  On the boards, the Bears have rebounded better of late but opponents still out-board them by a margin of -2.9 a game.

Defensively, California plays primarily man-to-man defense but will also zone up at times.  Against UCLA, the Bears will no doubt test them with their zone defense.  Last week, the Bruins had success against Arizona's zone when they went to a quicker four-guard line-up, and it will be interesting how the new alignment will work against other teams in upcoming games.

Last season, California Head Coach Ben Braun's team did a good job on transition defense against UCLA, stifling the Bruin fast break by sending three defenders after every offensive shot attempt and forcing the Bruins into a half-court game.  No doubt, the Bears will try to slow the Bruins the same way in this game.

With the loss of their two post players, California has gone to a four-guard line-up with forward Ryan Anderson as the only player taller than 6'7 in the rotation. 

Ryan Anderson (Fr, 6'9, 225) has been a pleasant surprise for the Bears this season.  The freshman forward is the team's leading scorer (17.4 points) and rebounder (8.8 rebounds).  He hurts teams offensively from both the inside and outside, shooting 49.4% from the field and 39.4% on three-pointers.

Anderson had attended UCLA Coach Ben Howland's skills camp as a high schooler and has since managed to lose over 25 pounds, transforming himself into a quicker and more versatile player.

Howland indicated that Lorenzo Mata would be assigned to guard Anderson to start the game.  Despite the Cal forward taking over 30% of his shots from three-point distance, his ability to score from inside also has to be taken into consideration.

Anderson averages over 32 minutes a game, and he will be challenged himself on the defensive end with the physicality of the Bruin post players and their propensity to wear opponents down.  In addition, Anderson is not a shot-blocker, and without DeVon Hardin in the middle, UCLA needs to try to exploit Cal's smaller front line.

Senior point-guard Ayinde Ubaka (Sr, 6'4, 200) was one of the top players in the Pac-10 last season.  Although he can be a streaky shooter from the perimeter, Ubaka has the ability to penetrate defenses and finish at the basket.  He is averaging 15.1 points and 4.8 assists a game while shooting 43.1% from the field and 36.1% from three-point distance in 34.5 minutes a game.

Darren Collison will likely get the starting assignment against Ubaka, although it wouldn't be surprising if Arron Afflalo gets his chances on Ubaka as well especially if Collison is unable to handle Ubaka's size inside.  However, the defensive pressure Collison applies with his quickness is extremely bothersome for opposing guards to handle, and especially makes it difficult for them to makes entry passes into the post.

Omar Wilkes (Jr, 6'4,185) is averaging 10.2 points a game on 50.9% shooting and 40% on three-pointers and is a solid defender on the perimeter. Although Wilkes is a good offensive player, and seems to get up high for games against UCLA, at times he seems to disappear on the offense end.

Due to the team's injuries, Theo Robertson (So, 6'5, 240) has been forced to move up to the power forward position.  He's a big, rugged player who can score from both the perimeter and inside.  Robertson is averaging 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds (2nd best on team) while shooting 42.9% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc.

If Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is unable to play on Thursday, then Alfred Aboya will get the start and will likely guard Robertson.  Aboya grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in 25 minutes against Arizona last week.

Patrick Christopher (Fr, 6'5, 200) was ushered into the starting five after the injury to Hardin. Only a freshman, he has given the Bears solid and productive minutes on the perimeter.  He is averaging 4.1 points on 45.7% shooting from the field and 36.4% from three-point distance.

Josh Shipp will get the starting assignment against Christopher.  Shipp is still recovering from a hamstring injury.  Against Arizona, Shipp was 4-9 from the field for 9 points but only had a single rebound in the game, something he needs to improve upon against California, and perhaps especially against Stanford's big front line this weekend. 

California plays three players off the bench, Jerome Randle (Fr, 5'9, 150), Eric Vierneisel (Jr, 6'7, 205), and Alex Pribble (Sr, 6'4, 215)

Pint-sized Jerome Randle spells time at point-guard for Ubaka.  He has been inconsistent offensively but has had some big scoring games, especially from three-point distance, in a few games this season.

Vierneisel has been the best player off the bench for Cal over the last eight games, scoring in double-figures five times.  A three-point specialist, the Bruins will need close out on him quickly whenever he enters the game. 

Pribble, a senior, gives the team spirited minutes in reserve.  He is averaging 5.5 minutes a game and sparks the team with his hustle.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland wants the Bruins to go inside more into the post, especially in this game where they have a big advantage along the front line. 

California is always tough at home and their crowd always gets up for UCLA.  This may be close for a good part of the game, but UCLA's size and depth should eventually wear Cal down at the end of the day.

(photo credit: AP)


Monday, January 22, 2007

UCLA Holds Steady in Polls, Still No.2 in SOS

By Bruin Basketball Report

With a sweep of both Arizona schools last week, UCLA maintained its No.2 ranking in the USA/ESPN Coaches and No.3 in the AP polls. 

In the all important RPI ranking, the Bruins continued their grip on the No.1 position, and still ranked as playing the No.2 toughest strength of schedule (SOS) in the nation.

It was easy for detractors of the Bruin's schedule to pick on UCLA's choices of opponents during some of the early non-conference games, but when all is said and done, the Bruins will have faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation.

In contrast, the defending NCAA champions, Florida Gators, are ranked No.1 in both national polls but carry only a No.29 RPI rating and a SOS rating of No.113.  A tough SEC conference will improve Florida's SOS, but at the end of the season it still will not be anywhere close to UCLA's tough SOS rating .

In the AP and Coaches polls, of the top five ranked teams, only Kansas dropped down after losing to Texas Tech on Saturday.  Florida, UCLA/Wisconsin, and North Carolina still occupy their spots in the top five.

In the AP this week USC make its first appearance in the polls this week at No.25 while they are on the cusp of joining the Coaches poll. 

Other Pac-10 teams in the polls: Oregon continued its move up the polls, ranking No.7 in both polls; Arizona dropped to No.17/No.19 after being swept in Los Angeles, and Washington State resides  at No.20/No.18.  In addition, Stanford received votes in both polls.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (1/22)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Two of the better small forwards in the nation, Jeff Robinson of St. Patrick's (N.J.) and Fairfax's (Calif.) Chace Stanback, brought out the best in each other in their matchup. Stanback – a UCLA signee — scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Robinson, who is headed to Memphis, matched Stanback with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Robinson helped his team squeak out a come-from-behind, three-point win over Fairfax. USA Today 1/16

St. Patrick 63, Fairfax 60: Fairfax then worked the ball to UCLA bound Chace Stanback, who was fouled on his drive to the basket with 3 seconds left in the game. Stanback failed to hit the front end of the one-and-one and then Strickland sealed the game with a couple more free throws. Gator Bait 1/16

San Gorgonio scored the last four points of the first half and the first six points of the second half to close to within 42-35. But Devin Hooper tossed in one 3-pointer and Malcolm Lee poured in two more during the next two minutes as North zipped away again....Malcolm Lee led North with 23 points and Keith Wiltz added 22. San Bernardino County Sun 1/16

Next season UCLA will bring in arguably the best player in the Class of '07, 6-9 power forward Kevin Love of Lake Oswego (Ore.) High. The Bruins also didn't have to go further than their own backyard to lock up their backcourt of the future from the current junior class: Jerime Anderson, a 6-1 point guard from Anaheim, and Malcolm Lee, a 6-4 combo guard from Riverside, have both given Ben Howland their verbal commitments. Sports Illustrated 1/17

Despite looking tired at times, Kevin Love finished the game with 36 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and seven blocked shots as the Lakers (11-1) rolled to an easy 69-37 victory. Once again, Love proved he can do it all, even when he’s not shattering backboards. “I think they were a little mad at me for last night, so I had to take a little easy on the rims today,” Love said after Saturday’s contest. Lake Oswego Review 1/17

Chace Stanback, Fairfax: Had 34 points and 10 rebounds as the Lions, ranked No. 4 by The Times, beat host Palisades, 71-61, in a Western League game. LA Times 1/18

Chace Stanback, 6-7, Small Forward, Fairfax Senior – Stanback has a good combination of length, quickness, and outside shooting. It’s easy to see why UCLA has been attracted to him. Stanback has good form on his jumper, the release point is high and there is little wasted motion. He doesn’t elevate much on this shot, but his length allows for him to get his shot off when closely defended. DraftExpress 1/18

Chace Stanback has a decent handle, which allows him to get into the lane or simply set up another jumper from closer range. But, Stanback doesn’t have much touch once he puts the ball on the floor, showing no in-between game in terms of runner anything else in motion. He needs a clear path to the basket to finish once he’s commited to taking it strong. He’s not much of a passer and is very skinny, so he relies on his length defensively more than anything else. He's still very young as a 2008 prospect, though, so it will be interesting to see how he continues to develop. DraftExpress 1/18

But the longstanding record is in jeopardy again and Lake Oswego's Kevin Love is the player with a chance to break it. Love, a 6-foot-10 center who has committed to UCLA, has 2,089 career points. He missed an opportunity to add to that total when Lake Oswego's Tuesday game against Milwaukie was postponed by snow. If Lake Oswego plays 15 more games, enough to reach the state finals, he'll need to average 33 points per game to match Hunt. Love is on that pace, averaging 33.1 points through his first 12 games. The Oregonian 1/19

Senior post Kevin Love got off to a slow start as Lakeridge’s double and, sometimes, triple-team coverage forced him to shoot jumpers in the early going. Kyle Lavender, starting in place of Spada tallied three early assists to help give his team a 10-point advantage at the end of the first period. Lake Oswego Review 1/19


Even Renardo Sidney, considered the top sophomore in the country, is seriously contemplating playing at USC. Elite recruits such as Jrue Holiday, Larry Drew and Demar Derozan were all in attendance for the Arizona game. Fox Sports 1/18

Such was life for the Serra boys basketball team Friday night. Imagine holding Mitty High junior Drew Gordon, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound center attracting national recruiting attention, without a point until nearly four minutes into the third quarter. And then imagine trailing by 20 points at that juncture. Inside Bay Area 1/20

Los Alamitos 68, Newport Harbor 41: Senior forward Clint Amberry scored 15 points and junior center Corbin Moore added 13 points as the Griffins (18-4, 5-0) remained undefeated in the Sunset League play. Press Telegram 1/20

GALENA 70, ELKO 58: "I think this is film they should look at," said Mauer, who noted his team carries a 3.6 grade point average while carrying a difficult course load. "We just were kind of in and out.  "We played really well and then kind of hurt ourselves and got them back into the game." Luke Babbitt scored 29 points, J.D. Peters had 15 points and Eric Maupin added 13 points. Nevada Appeal 1/20

You could hardly tell if Arizona had won or lost when Lute Olson left the UA's dressing room Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. The ever-stoic Wildcat coach signed autographs and posed for pictures. One UCLA fan asked him to sign his T-shirt, which the coach did graciously. Gary McKnight, coach of nearby prep powerhouse Mater Dei, a pipeline of talent for the Wildcats, walked up and introduced his freshmen phenom twins, Travis and David Wear, to UA assistant coaches. Arizona Daily Star 1/20

(photo credit: Michael J. LeBrecht/SI)