Saturday, June 16, 2007

Abdul-Jabbar Tells UCLA Grads To Lead Significant Lives

By The Associated Press

The secret to his success was simple,
basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told graduating seniors Friday
at UCLA.

"There's a ball. There's a hoop. You put the ball through the
hoop," joked the most prolific scorer in NBA history.

Then he turned serious, advising graduates to do as he did and
pursue careers that will bring them both joy and improve the lives
of others.

After he retired from basketball following 20 seasons in the
NBA, the former UCLA star said he was frequently asked what he
wanted to do with the rest of his life.

"With my witty charm, great body, and pivotal role in the film
"Airplane!" I could have become governor," he joked.

Instead, he said, "I did what no one expected."

The Hall of Famer, who earned a history degree at UCLA, wrote
books that promoted the lives of forgotten people of color. He also
spent time coaching an Indian reservation basketball team.

These days he's on the coaching staff of the NBA team he
achieved his greatest glory with, the Los Angeles Lakers. And he
still appears in movies, on TV and in commercials.

It's that balance between doing things that are fun and those
that are important that makes life worthwhile, the 60-year-old
former center said.

"I'm not claiming that you have to sell all your worldly
possessions, wander the globe in rags, and, worse, cancel HBO," he
quipped. "You should embrace and celebrate your pleasures."

"But also prove that you are worthy of being successful by
making yourself significant."

Abdul-Jabbar led UCLA to three NCAA titles under coach John
Wooden in the 1960s.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (6/11)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


After back-to-back trips to the Final Four, UCLA continues to land
players that will help the Bruins stay in contention for the national
title.  Ben Howland kept Kevin Love,
the most storied player in Oregon high school basketball history, on
the West Coast. Love said he picked the Bruins in large part because of
tradition. The five-star center helped the Bruins check in at No. 11
nationally. 6/5

Thirty of the nation’s top high school underclassmen, including seven who earned All-America honors for
their play in 2006-07, have accepted invitations to compete in the 2007
USA Basketball Men’s Youth Development Festival, USA Basketball today
announced. The Festival will be held June 20-24 at the U.S. Olympic
Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo...Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, and Jrue Holiday (recruit). SFC 6/7


Jordan Hamilton, a 6-foot-7 All-City Section forward from Los Angeles Dorsey, has transferred to Compton Dominguez. Hamilton, regarded as one of the top underclassmen in Southern
California last season, will be a senior in athletic eligibility for
the upcoming season. He's an explosive scorer who helped the Dons reach
the City Section semifinals and finish with a 25-7 record. LA Times 6/6

Horizon High 7-foot center Jeff Withey has reneged on his acceptance of a basketball scholarship offer from Louisville. Trent Suzuki, who has been hired by the family to handle Withey's basketball recruiting much as he directed La Costa Canyon's Chase Budinger last year, confirmed Withey's decision.“The family situation has changed, and being very close to his family, Jeff will concentrate more on West Coast schools,” said Suzuki. “Louisville is still in contention, however.
“Let me put it this way – Arizona and UCLA called immediately after Jeff decommitted.” Union Tribune 6/8

Although he couldn't comment on a specific recruit because of NCAA
rules, Pitino appeared to take a recruiting setback in stride. Jeff
, a highly-sought 7-footer from San Diego, who committed to UofL
last fall, told Cardinal assistant coach Marvin Menzies Tuesday night
that he is reopening his recruiting process. Originally, Withey
said his parents planned to relocate to Louisville when he enrolled in
school so they could watch him play, but citing personal things about
his family, he is having second thoughts. Withey is now being heavily
recruited by UCLA and Arizona. Lexington Herald-Ledger 6/7

Another interesting guy was Jordan Hamilton,
a very well-built forward who emerged as the best shooter for the USA
in that first game. He looked solid from the mid-range area, just to
explode in garbage time with some impressive long-range bombs off the
dribble, virtually shooting over his match-up. However, even if he
looked like a decently athletic guy, he struggled trying to dribble
past his opponents. Draft Express 6/9

While the game was fun
for most, it took on a bit more meaning for Renardo Sidney. It was
homecoming for the 6-foot-10 Sidney, a Jackson native who transferred
to Artesia High School in California last year. Sidney said before the game he was nervous about playing in his home town. "Once
I ran down the court a couple times, the butterflies were gone," said
Sidney. "Then I just had to do my thing. I was happy to see all my
family and friends." Sidney threw down a
couple thunderous dunks and displayed the outside touch that has made
him the nation's No. 1 player in the Class of 2009.  Clarion Ledger 6/10

Another is Michael Snaer, who is heading into his junior year at Rancho
Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif. Snaer, a 6-4, 185-pound shooting
guard already holds scholarship offers from several schools, including
USC. "I’m not really thinking about those right now," said Snaer, considered
a four-star recruit by "I’m just trying to work on my game,
trying to get ranked higher this year. One step before the next one.
The next step for me is getting ranked in that top five before my
junior year." At some point, he’ll have to sort through a list of suitors that
includes UCLA, San Diego State, West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas and
Missouri. He said he enjoyed his visit to Columbia. Columbia Tribune 6/10

(photo credit: San Diego Union Tribune)