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)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Collison To Make Decision On NBA

By Diane Pucin
Los Angeles Times

[reprinted with permission]

Sophomore point guard to make an announcement Wednesday about making
himself eligible for the NBA draft. His mother quits her job to help
with the decision.

UCLA point guard Darren Collison said Monday night that he would have
an announcement about his future basketball plans Wednesday.

Collison's mother, June Griffith-Collison, submitted her resignation
Monday as director of San Bernardino County's Regional Medical Center
and in a news release said one reason was to help her son with his
decision making. However, she said Monday night her resignation should
not be taken as a sign that Collison would leave school for the NBA.

"Not at all," she said. "It's just the job has gotten more demanding
and this time is short to spend with my son. I even missed an NCAA game
[UCLA against Pittsburgh] because I couldn't get away. Those moments
are precious."

After an eye-opening sophomore season where Collison stepped in for
Jordan Farmar and piloted the Bruins to a second consecutive Final Four
appearance while averaging 13.3 points a game and 5.4 assists, Collison
hit the NBA's radar.

Collison has two choices for exploring his NBA chances. He could
declare by April 29 that he was available for the June draft but not
hire an agent. Collison would be allowed to attend NBA evaluation camps
and work out for NBA teams but choose to return to school. Or he could
hire an agent and give up his college eligibility.

Junior shooting guard Arron Afflalo, UCLA's leading scorer and the
Pacific 10 Conference player of the year, has announced he is leaving
school for the NBA. Sophomore Josh Shipp, who would be expected to
inherit many of Afflalo's shots, underwent hip surgery last week.

A source close to the UCLA program said he "didn't expect" Collison to
leave school. Collison was attending a tutoring session Monday night.

(photo credit: Jack Rosenfeld)


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (4/23)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Kevin Love leads way on 2007 All-USA boys hoops team: 6-10 Center, Lake Oswego, Ore. By the numbers: Oregon's all-time leading scorer with 2,628 points. Averaged 33.9 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists and 4.2 blocked shots as Lake Oswego went 26-2 and finished runner-up in Class 6A. Played in McDonald's and Roundball all-star games. Consensus national player of the year. As a junior, led team to state title. Father played in NBA, uncle is a member of the Beach Boys. USA Today 4/17

Chace Stanback, a 6-foot-8 senior guard who led Los Angeles Fairfax to its second Division I state title in four years this season, leads a contingent of six Southland players selected to the all-state boys' basketball first team by Stanback, who was earlier selected The Times' player of the year and is headed to UCLA, is joined on the first team by senior forward Taylor King of Santa Ana Mater Dei, senior guard James Harden of Lakewood Artesia, senior guard Austin Daye of Irvine Woodbridge, junior guard Jrue Holiday of North Hollywood Campbell Hall and sophomore center Renardo Sidney of Artesia. LA Times 4/17

9th Annual Collision Southern Section vs. L.A. City All-star Basketball Games BIW first-team choices Austin Daye (Woodbridge), Drew Viney (Villa Park) and Kamyron Brown (Mater Dei) are set to play for the Southern Section in the boys' game, while fellow BIW first-team selections Chace Stanback (Fairfax) and Darnell Gant (Crenshaw), headed for UCLA the University of Washington, respectively, are on the L.A. City roster. Press Telegram 4/21

The L.A. City Section Boys All-Stars basketball team started slow, but sprinted down the stretch to beat the Southern Section, 104-95, in the Collision IX High School All-Star Game Saturday night at El Camino College....Fairfax's Chace Stanback, heading to UCLA, took home the MVP award with his game-high 22-point effort. "It's a great honor to win the MVP, but I just really wanted the 'W,' " Stanback said. "It didn't matter how we got it, I just wanted a win." Daily Breeze 4/22

Kingwood Classic: Malcolm Lee – The UCLA commit played a heady game from his point guard position and did most of his scoring damage from behind the arc. Jackets Online 4/22


The recruiting process has begun again for Alex Legion of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, and it might take two weeks or two months for him to decide where to go to school.Legion, released from his letter-of-intent Monday by Michigan, is considering Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and, yes, Michigan. Legion said he wanted to discuss his options with his family before deciding on what schools to pursue. Tuesday, his mother, Annette Williams, a teacher in Detroit, said the process could take some time. Detroit News 4/17

Now Percy Lil' Romeo has become USC's second-most-famous basketball recruit O.J. Mayo. Miller, who's finishing his junior year at Beverly Hills High, reportedly committed to the Trojans on Friday. It may have helped the 6-foot Miller that he appears to be something of a package deal with 6-6 swingman Demar Derozan of Compton (Calif.) Dominguez High. Derozan, one of the top-ranked players on the West Coast, is Lil' Romeo's best friend and plays AAU ball for his dad's P. Miller Ballers in the spring and summer. Sports Illistrated 4/17

Arizona’s basketball recruiting weekend didn’t yield a commitment from Drew Gordon or Brendon Lavender, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It would have been a shock had Gordon committed. His unofficial visit was a bonus in and of itself. The UA had ground to make up with Gordon’s other favorites – Washington, UCLA, Duke and North Carolina – but it appears that they did. Arizona Star 4/17

The Demar DeRozan recruiting saga may not be quite done yet after all. The 6-foot-6 junior small forward from Compton High in Compton, Calif., told’s Jeff Goodman last week that he had committed to USC. However, DeRozan’s high school coach, Tony Thomas, told the Los Angeles Times yesterday that DeRozan has not given a verbal commitment to USC. Inside the Ville 4/19

Kingwood Classic: The majority of Demar DeRozan's points came in the second half as he dominated action from his wing position. Not only did the 6-foot-5 DeRozan display a nice mid-range game, he also was able to connect from beyond the arc and drive to the basket and score on the interior. A natural scorer and exceptional athlete, DeRozan has the makings of a potential five-star shooting guard in the 2008 class. He does need to improve on the defensive side of the ball but there is still no denying his tremendous upside and potential to follow in the steps of former Trojan standout Nick Young, who recently declared for the NBA Draft. Irish Illustrated 4/21

Kingwood Classic: The talented Pump-N-Run squad simply struggled against the more athletic Georgia Stars. They never got in a rhythm against the Stars' extended 1-3-1 zone and did not match the physical intensity of the Stars. Jrue Holiday, Jerime Anderson (committed to UCLA) and Reeves Nelson had their moments, but the Stars were clearly the better team on this night.  Irish Illustrated 4/21

Kingwood Classic: The champions of the Real Deal on the Hill have found the going tougher in Houston, but have survived behind the leadership of Jrue Holiday, Larry Drew, and Jerime Anderson (committed to UCLA).  Plus the relentless inside play of 6-foot 7 Reaves Nelson has had the coaches buzzing all weekend! CSTV 4/21

Drew Gordon, one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country, liked the University of Kentucky’s program. But that was when Tubby Smith was the coach. “I was really hoping Tubby would be the coach,” said Gordon, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward from San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty. Gordon, who is playing for the Oakland Soldiers AAU team this weekend in the Kingwood Classic, said he has not heard from new UK coach Billy Gillispie. In fact, Gordon wasn’t aware who the new coach was at UK. Courier Journal 4/21

Alex Legion, a 6-foot-5 senior guard out of Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who visited the University of Kentucky from Thursday through Saturday, told he’s down to Kentucky, UCLA and Michigan. Sources told the Journal-World that Legion was unwilling to wait for KU’s scholarship situation to clear. Sophomore guard Brandon Rush has until midnight Sunday to declare for the NBA Draft or elect to return to KU for his junior season. Lawrence Journal World 4/23

Jackson showed off his dazzling ballhandling and passing ability Sunday, leading his Amateur Athletic Union team, the Indiana Elite, to a 78-58 victory over Pump-N-Run Elite in the 17-and-under platinum division championship game at the 13th annual Houston Kingwood Classic at Westfield High School. Jackson stole the show from Pump-N-Run guard Jrue Holiday, a 6-2 junior from Campbell Hall High in North Hollywood, Calif., who is ranked second overall in the nation by Though Holiday put up 17 points to Jackson's four Houston Chonicle 4/23

(photo credit: USA Today and Courier Journal)