Friday, July 06, 2007

Joe Hillock Replaces Carlson as Director of Operations

By Bruin Basketball Report

Joe Hillock, who spent 10 years as the head women’s coach at Southern Utah, has been hired as the UCLA men’s basketball director of operations, Bruin head coach Ben Howland announced today. Hillock replaces Chris Carlson, who was announced as the head coach at UC San Diego on June 11, 2007.

“I am very pleased that Joe Hillock has accepted the position of director of operations,” said Howland. “Joe brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program and I’m very excited to have him join our staff.”

Hillock is Southern Utah’s all-time winningest women’s basketball coach with 128 victories. He was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for 10 seasons (from 1996-97 to 2005-06).

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Hillock said. “To be working with the staff that Coach Howland has assembled and to be working for what I consider to be the best coach in college basketball is an amazing opportunity for me. I grew up in Santa Barbara, Calif., and to be a part of something with such a storied history and tradition is an honor and a privilege for me.”

Hillock earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at Southern Utah in 1976 and served as an undergraduate assistant women’s coach for the first varsity team at SUU during the 1975-76 season. He then went on to the first of two stints as the head boy’s basketball coach at nearby Milford High School (Milford, Utah) from 1978-79. After guiding Milford HS to back-to-back region titles, he served for 12 years (1979-91) as an assistant to Dan Fitzgerald at Gonzaga.

The 55-year-old Santa Barbara, Calif., native completed his master’s degree in administration at Gonzaga in 1982. After his stint with the Bulldogs, Hillock moved to Loyola Marymount where he assisted his brother, Jay, currently the Director of Pro Personnel for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, during the 1991-92 season. After completing the 1992-93 season at LMU, he returned to Milford High as the boy’s basketball coach and athletic director from 1993-96 until taking the helm of the women’s program at SUU in 1996.

Hillock and his wife, Denise ­– a former star softball pitcher at Southern Utah in the mid-70s – are the parents of three children: Joe, Jr. (24), Heather (20) and Jordan (17).

(UCLA Press Release)

(photo credit SUU Athletics)


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jrue Holiday Verbally Commits to UCLA

By Bruin Basketball Report

Jrue Holiday of Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood verbally committed to the UCLA basketball program today.

Holiday, a 6'3 180 lb guard, averaged 23.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 4.2 steals a game in leading his team to the state Division IV championship last season.
He also shot 57% from the field and 42% from three point distance.  He scored a season-high 38 points against La Canada in a state playoff game last season.

An athletic and powerful perimeter player, Holiday makes  even tough plays look effortless and has been compared favorably to former Bruin guard Baron Davis. 

While he shoots very well from the perimeter, he also has the ability to penetrate and finish strong at the basket.  Holiday is also an outstanding perimeter defender and should fit well into UCLA Coach Ben Howland's offensive and defensive schemes.

Holiday has been rated by most experts as the No.1 shooting guard in the nation and one of the top players in in his recruiting class.

His mother stated that her son's decision to play at UCLA was based on his own desire to play collegiate ball close to home and in front of family and friends.

One of the most sought after players in his class, Holiday narrowed his
list of potential schools to just UCLA and Washington last month.  His older brother and teammate
at Campbell Hall, Justin, will play for the Huskies next season, and
some thought the younger Holiday might follow him up north.  But at the
end, the chance to play close to home and play for a team that has
played in two consecutive Final Fours were too much of an opportunity to pass up.

Holiday's  commitment gives UCLA four players in the top 50 of most high school player rankings and arguably one of the best 2008 recruiting classes in the nation. Already committed from the class are two other perimeter players in Malcolm Lee from (Riverside North HS) and Jerime Anderson (Canyon HS). The fourth member of the class is 6-9 center Drew Gordon (Archbishop Mitty).

Holiday plays both point and shooting guard positions and should see time at both spots at UCLA.  He has played alongside close friend Jerime Anderson in AAU ball for a number of years

(photo credit: Max Preps)


Monday, July 02, 2007

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (7/2)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


USA Basketball also announced the withdraw of two previously announced USA U19 Trials participants. Drew Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S. / San Jose, Calif.), who injured his hand over the weekend at the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, and 2006 USA U18 Trials finalist James Hickson (Wheeler H.S., Ga. / Marietta, Ga.) have withdrawn from the Trials leaving 18 players set to contend for USA U19 Team roster positions. SFC 6/26


Top 35 center Jeff Withey announced his commitment to
play basketball for Arizona
today, filling the Wildcats' greatest need in the
2008-09 recruiting class. Withey, a 6-foot-11, 215-pound senior-to-be at Horizon
High School of San Diego,
decommitted to Louisville earlier this month. He also
considered UCLA, San Diego
State and USC but only took an unofficial visit to
Arizona, joining the Wildcats
last Thursday and Friday.
"I just love the city and all the fans," Withey said.
"I'm ready to be a Wildcat." Arizona Daily Star 6/25

The 16-team Fairfax tournament at L.A. Fairfax High figures to be one of the best boys' basketball competitions of the summer....Several top players could miss games because of camp commitments. Campbell Hall's Jrue Holiday won't be available to play for the Vikings until this weekend at the earliest because he's participating in a camp. LA Times 6/26

In a matter of a year, Ralph Sampson III has gone from a
son of a famous basketball star to a confident player carving out his
own identity. The 6-foot-11, 225-pound center from Northview High
School in Duluth, Ga. is making himself a high-major priority....Sampson will get a taste of different styles of play over the next
couple of weeks. Sampson and his family will travel to North Carolina
this weekend, where they will visit Wake Forest and Duke. The following
weekend, Sampson will head west to see Cal and UCLA. Yahoo Sports 6/26

“I don’t respect West Coast point guards; they’re too Hollywood for me. I’m more of an East Coast, flashy-type point guard,” continued Brandon Jennings the rising star at Oak Hill, arguably the most exciting player in the class. “Someone like Jrue Holiday  [another top-ranked Cali guard], he’s real smooth, goes to work in the first three quarters–but he’s not a killer yet. Me, I’m a killer.” SLAM Magazine 6/26

Jordan Hamilton, 6-7 junior wing,
Dorsey (CA): A polished wing with good size, Hamilton is a sniper from
behind the arc. With his athleticism and smooth ballhandling ability,
the L.A. native is one of the best in his class–and as promised. SLAM Magazine 6/26

Other than his 4-for-16 shooting from 3-point range, Jrue Holiday put up
top-notch numbers across the board. In fact, Holiday's performance left
many wondering if he is the most complete guard the travel circuit has
seen in recent years. Holiday scored the ball well, but what was most impressive about
his game was his playmaking and defense. A future power point guard in
the mold of Baron Davis, Holiday led the event in assists and was
second in assist/turnover ratio. He primarily played on the wing
alongside Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee. There's no telling how many assists he would have racked up if he had
been the primary ballhandler. Holiday's defense was as good as it gets.
He gave fits to whomever he guarded. 6/26

The courts on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson
University will fall silent and the voice of semi-retired grassroots
staple Sonny Vaccaro will not be heard this summer. The Reebok ABCD
Camp that college basketball recruiters once knew no longer exists.  The beginning of July once
served as a crucial time for college coaches to venture to Teaneck,
N.J., and evaluate some of the top high school players in the country.
Instead, Reebok has opted to travel down the New Jersey Turnpike and
hold Rbk U, a similar yet slimmer version of ABCD, from July 6-10 at
Philadelphia University. New Haven Register 6/28

Kobe Bryant Skills Camp Academy: "It's fun learning some of the techniques that Kobe uses," remarked Demar DeRozan, the Compton High product who at 6-foot-6 (without shoes) was the tallest, most athletic player in attendance and also one of the standouts. "It's fun but a lot of hard work. I like it (the format) though." Cardinal Sports 6/28

Class 2009 Rankings: While there are a number of changes in the rankings, one player continues to have a strong hold on the top spot. California forward Renardo Sidney is still No. 1, but he is certainly being challenged.
Sidney, an imposing 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward from Artesia High School, has been strong this spring and summer. However, there is a newcomer knocking on the door. Gator Bait 6/28

When Nike, adidas and Reebok staged July camps simultaneously, the shoe companies competed fiercely for the best players.
A sharp reduction in shoe company sponsorship in the camp scene this summer apparently will not lessen the potential for conflict.
That seemed to be the case when the NBA Players Association and USA Basketball held camps the same week in June. Prospects had to choose between the NBAPA camp in Charlottesville, Va., June 19-23 and the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 20-24....USA Basketball got many of the headliners: Greg Monroe, Delvon Roe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jrue Holiday. 7/1

In a battle of two heavyweights going at it like it was the regular
season, Mater Dei of Santa Ana made the key plays in the final minutes
and came away with a 73-70 victory over host Fairfax of Los Angeles in
a semi final of the 21st annual Nike Fairfax Tournament. Mater Dei had five players in double figures led by David Wear's 19 points. Brown and Blake Arnet each had 14 points for the Monarchs while teammates Jamaal Trice and Travis Wear had 13 and 11 respectively. LA Daily News 7/1

Rivals 2009 Class Ranking Top 75

Scout 2009 Class Ranking Top 50

(photo credit: SI and OC Register)


When Love Comes To Town

By Brian Dohn
LA Daily News

It is 341 days since Kevin Love committed to UCLA, and
another 99 days will pass before his collegiate career begins Nov. 9
against Portland State, but something significant is about to happen.

According to Love, the most anticipated and ballyhooed UCLA recruit
since Baron Davis a decade ago, he will arrive at UCLA by the end of
the weekend, and officially hoist upon his broad shoulders the lofty
expectations of delivering the school's first national title in 13

UCLA doesn't begin its fall quarter until late September, but the 6-foot-10 Love will get to work immediately.

"I'm going to be taking a couple of classes, working out with (strength
coach) Doc Kreis, and hitting the gym with our friend, big man guru Tom
Lubin," Love wrote in an e-mail. "I also hope to workout with Lorenzo
(Mata), James (Keefe) and some of the guys."

Love was the nation's top low-post recruit last year, and depending on
scouting services, battled with USC guard O.J. Mayo for status as the
top overall recruit in the nation.

Now, with UCLA's Arron Afflalo and USC's Nick Young in the NBA, Love
and Mayo could dual for the crown of Los Angeles' top college player,
although their personal rivalry isn't likely to have a trace of the bitterness that exists between the fan bases.

Despite growing up on opposite sides of the country, the duo have known
each other from the AAU circuit since seventh grade, when Mayo's team
defeated Love's squad in the finals of an AAU tournament in Disney
World. Their relationship was further enhanced when they roomed
together at several camps the past few years.

"O.J. is a great guy," Love wrote. "Most people don't understand the
pressure that he's grown up with ... and how well he's handled it. As I
always say, don't pass judgment or form an opinion of O.J. Mayo until
you meet him, and spend some time with him. O.J.'s a great team player,
and a superior talent.

"It's going to be great playing in the same city. That Bruin-Trojan
rivalry is going to go to another level. I can't wait to go
head-to-head with O.J. and Daniel Hackett. I think that both of them
will be great together, and I am rooting for them ... except when they
play us."

Bruins coach Ben Howland, whose coaching career began in 1981,
acknowledged Love is the highest-profile recruit he has landed. But
Love's transition from Lake Oswego (Ore.) High to the Sunset Strip
doesn't concern Howland because his expected-to-be star pupil has
family used to living in the spotlight.

Love's father, Stan, played four seasons in the NBA. His uncle, Mike,
was a founding member of the Beach Boys. There is also an agreement in
place for Kevin to wear Walt Hazzard's retired No. 42. Hazzard gave his
blessing for it.

"(Love) has been in it, the whole hype machine, for years," Howland
said. "I think he gets motivated. He's a very good player and he's
going to come in and have a big impact right away, more so than most
freshmen would."

Love was the Gatorade national player of the year after averaging 33.6
points and 17 rebounds as a senior, and Howland often compares Love's
ability to throw the outlet pass to former UCLA great Bill Walton.

Love is expected to battle and win the starting center spot from senior
Lorenzo Mata, but Howland said Love could wind up playing minutes at
power forward.

"He'll have a chance to do both because we're going to have to work to
try and play him and Lorenzo together some, for sure," Howland said.
"That's my plan. We'll see. Certain matchups will be more difficult
than others. If you're playing a team that plays a guard as a power
forward, that's a hard matchup."

[reprinted with permission]

(photo credit: SI)