Friday, December 14, 2007

Howland Wins #100, UCLA Trounces Idaho St.

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Darren Collison scored a game-high 20 points and Kevin Love added 17 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Bruins to a 89-49 rout of Idaho State in front of 9,733 at Pauley Pavilion.

The victory was Head Coach Ben Howland 100th victory at UCLA. Howland has a career record of 100-42 in Westwood.

"It means we've had some really good players the last four years," Howland said of the milestone. "I feel very blessed and fortunate. I never thought I'd be coaching at UCLA. Not many people get to say they're actually living their dream."

Collison, showed he's fully recovered from his injury, shooting 8 of 11 from the field including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. He also had 5 assists.

"I really wanted to send a message because everyone was saying how rusty I was," said Collison.

As expected the Bengals came out in a zone defense, however against this version, the Bruins attacked it aggressively from the outset, moving the ball around quickly from side to side and attacking into the seams of the zone off the dribble drive for easy scores.

The game was never in question as UCLA raced out to a 24-7 lead just halfway through the opening half, extending the lead to as large as 21 before going into the locker room with a 38-21 lead.

UCLA shot a sizzling 56.5% from the field while holding an overmatched Idaho State team to just 32.1% in the first half.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, the Bruins came out in the second half with the same level of intensity and resolve to put this game away quickly as they went on a torrid 21-9 run to push the lead to 29 with ten minutes remaining in the game.

From that point forward, it was only a matter of when Howland would remove his starters and insert his reserves and walk-ons.

UCLA finished the game shooting 50% from the field and 42.3% on three-pointers. They also shot an amazing 16 of 17 (94.1%) from the free-throw line. Even Lorenzo Mata-Real was 2 of 2 from the charity stripe including one he banked in.

The bigger and more athletic Bruins outrebounded the Bengals, 43-24, and combined for six blocks and five steals to make life miserable for their visiting opponent.

UCLA made extra effort to get the ball down low to Kevin Love. He finished 6 of 11 from the field and received the ball in scoring position in multiple spots on the floor.

"We were more active and got the ball into Kevin in the high post," Collison said.

Josh Shipp added 16 points including four deep three-pointers as UCLA improved their record to 9-1 in non-conference play.

Whether the Bruins should feel comfortable that they've solved their offensive woes against zone defenses after this game is questionable. Although the Bengals fought hard and have some quality players, their lack of size and quickness made this game resemble more a scrimmage than an actual Division I contest.

UCLA next faces Western Illinois in another non-conference match-up on Tuesday.

(photo credit: AP)


Thursday, December 13, 2007

UCLA vs. Idaho State - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Coach Ben Howland seeks his 100th career victory at UCLA when his No.8 ranked Bruins host the Idaho State Bengals Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Howland, in his fifth season at the helm in Westwood, has a 99-42 record as head coach at at the school.  Only four coaches in UCLA history have more than 100 wins: John Wooden (620), Jim Harrick (192), Pierce "Caddy' Works (173), and Steve Lavin (145).

The Bruins (8-1) rallied to defeat Davidson last Saturday , 75-63, at the Wooden Classic.  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the victory.

With James Keefe redshirting this season, the Bruins will suit up ten scholarship players for the rest of the season.  Against Idaho State, UCLA walk-on point-guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid will also not play, he is out for at least two weeks with a stress fracture injury to his foot.

Idaho State (2-6) play in the Big Sky Conference.  In their last contest on Wednesday, they lost to Boise State at home, 93-61.  The Bruins last played Idaho State in a regular season game during the 1983-84 season.

The Bengals have not played particularly well this season, they average an anemic 59.2 points a game on 40.4% field goal shooting and make just 24.2% on three-pointers.  In the meantime they allow opponents 72.1 points a game.  They've also been outrebounded by an average of 35.9 to 31.1. in games this season.

Idaho State is led on offense by junior guard Matt Stucki (6'6, 210) who is averaging 12.6 points on 44.4% shooting.  Stucki can shoot from the perimeter and take it to the basket.  Against Boise State, he scored a game-high  23 points.

UCLA's best perimeter defender Russell Westbrook will be matched up against Stucki.  Westbrook has impressed Coach Howland with his improved defense this season, having held both Texas's A.J. Abrams and Stephen Curry well below their respective season scoring averages.

Forward Chron Tatum (6'7, 220, Jr) is the team's second leading scorer at 9.4 points a game.

Idaho State is primarily a zone defensive team.  At minimum, this game will give the Bruins some valuable practice playing against a zone, a defense they've struggled executing against consistently this season.

In particular, the Bruins have had difficulty getting the ball into the hands of freshman Kevin Love in the post.   Love, the team's leading scorer at 16.7 points a game, has averaged just 5.5 field goal attemps over the last four contests.  The coaching staff has made it a priority for the entire team to get the ball inside in this game.

Coach Ben Howland also mentioned this week that against zone defenses he would employ guard Darren Collison at the wing while moving Russell Westbrook to the point on top.  Despite Westbrook shooting 57.1% from three-point distance this season, Howland feels Collison is the better outside shooter of the two and the Bruins need his added marksmanship from outside against zones.

While Collison was out with a knee injury, Westbrook racked up impressive numbers at point guard.  Westbrook currently leads the Pac-10 conference in assists with 6.1 dimes a game.

Date: December 15
Time: 5:00PM PT
Place: Pauley Pavilion
TV: FSN West
Radio: AM 570

BBR Notes:  Idaho State beat UCLA over thirty years ago in the Sweet Sixteen of the 1976-77 NCAA tournament, 76-75, which ended the Bruin's run of 10 straight Final Fours.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

James Keefe To Redshirt This Season

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

With finals week in full swing at UCLA, Bruin players have been busy with their late-night studies, however in the midst of all the scholarly pursuit, at today's press conference Head Coach Ben Howland announced sophomore forward James Keefe would be redshirting this season.

"I met with James this morning and I talked to his parents last night and we've decided we're going to redshirt James,"  Howland said.  "He will be a redshirt this year provided that no one comes down with a season-ending injury between now and January 12th."

Howland would not ask Keefe to come back after this date since he wants to assure Keefe only returns if he can play in a significant number of games this season.

"On January 12th there would still be fourteen league games, the conference tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament where he would be a significant player within that time frame," Howland said.

At the start of his freshman season last year, Keefe was getting pushed around underneath and realized he needed to add some weight and muscle if he was going to compete at this level.  By the NCAA tournament Keefe was performing better and was contributing significantly late in games.

"I thought he would push people for playing time and would play more this year," Howland said.

Over the summer the 6'8 225lb Keefe continued working out with weights and impressed coaches and teammates with his play, but then in an awkward collision during a pick-up game in July he tore the labrum (cartilage) in his left shoulder.  It wasn't until Keefe went to UCLA's advanced skills camp in August that an MRI revealed the injury and surgery would be required.

Keefe underwent rehabilitation and finally returned to practice just last week, but with the number of rotation players the Bruins have at power forward and center, Keefe was going to struggle earning playing time this year.

"With only having five practices and being three weeks from opening conference, whose minutes is he (Keefe) going to take?" Howland said. "I look down the road and I would not be wanting to redshirt him if I didn't think he had the ability to be a significant player in our program and contributing at a high level." 

Keefe and his family have been discussing the possibility of redshirting this season since he underwent shoulder surgery in August.

"The decision to come back or not always was to see how my progress was," Keefe said. "I feel pretty good in practice, but we're obviously real deep this year in that position. Those guys are nine games in. It's about limited minutes this year versus playing significant minutes in the next coming years."

Last season Keefe, a former Santa Margeurita high school star and McDonald's All-American, averaged 1.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in 32 games as a freshman.

Howland also revealed today that walk-on point-guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid suffered a stress fracture in his foot prior to the Wooden Classic and would be out for the next two weeks.

"We need him (Abdul-Hamid), he's been a very good player, helping us get to this point just through practices," Howland said. "Now Russell (Westbrook) has to go against Darren (Collison) one-on-one rather than playing on the same side in practices."

Howland has been satisfied with Darren Collison and Mike Roll's progress since their return to the lineup.

"Both Darren and Mike were pressing a little bit in their first game back but its normal," Howland said. "Mike took some bad shots but he's settling down and Darren is getting close to where he was before he hurt his knee."

One player that Howland has been very happy with is Russell Westbrook who he feels has been the best player over the team's first nine games.

"He's leading the conference in assists and is our best perimeter defender right now." Howland said. "This year he's much better defensively.  Last year he constantly got beat off the dribble because he would open up too much or be off balance - he's really improved.  He also has that athletic ability.  He has very good quickness and he's stronger than he was a year ago."

BBR Notes:  According to Coach Howland, senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real is only five to six classes from graduating. "I'm really proud of how hard Lorenzo has worked," Howland said.  "He's a great kid and has a great attitude."

(photo credit: J Rosenfeld)


Monday, December 10, 2007

UCLA In 2008 Wooden Classic, Fall To No.8 In Polls

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Bruins will return to play in the John R. Wooden Classic in 2008, UCLA's' 12th appearance and 6th consecutive in the college basketball doubleheader.

The UCLA vs. Davidson and Saint Mary vs. San Diego State match-ups in the 14th annual event on Saturday attracted 17,440. The Bruins are 8-3 in the event named for their former coach.

Next year's doubleheader will be played on Dec. 13 at the Honda Center in Anaheim. UCLA's opponent and the other matchup will be announced later.

After rallying to defeat Davidson, 75-63, at the Wooden Classic, both weekly polls ranked UCLA (8-1) at No.8.

The Bruins already ranked eigth in last week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll were dropped to the eigth spot in the AP Writers poll this week with Washington State (9-0) overtaking UCLA.

The Cougars had an impressive week defeating No.19 Gonzaga on the road, 51-47, and then had little trouble disposing of Portland State, 72-60 in Pullman.

The Pac-10, considered one of the top conferences in the nation carry a cumulative 62-17 (.785) record against Division I non-conference opponents so far this season. Only two other Pac-10 teams, Oregon and Arizona, are in the top 25 rankings.  The Ducks (7-1) are No.16 in both polls while the Wildcats (6-2) are No.22 in the coaches and No.21 in the writer's voting.

North Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas hold the top three spots in both polls this week.

UCLA faces Idaho State (2-6) this Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.  The Bengals hail from the Big Sky Conference, and in their last game lost to Boise State, 93-61.

BBR Notes: Listing of UCLA basketball starting lineups in history: LINK [New]


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (12/10)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Drew Gordon is finally a senior, Archbishop Mitty is loaded and the new transfer rule likely will not hinder a Southern California Division I powerhouse from repeating as champions. San Francisco Chronicle 12/4

The 36th annual Tournament of Champions will be held for the 20th consecutive year at Ocean View High next week...Five Best in the West first-team choices - Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall), Demar DeRozan (Compton), Malcolm Lee (JW North), Renaldo Woolridge (Harvard-Westlake) and Klay Thompson (Santa Margarita) - are the headline players in the event. Press Telegram 12/4

Wearing a black headband and flashing a smile that shows off glittering white teeth, Anderson is living out a little brother's dream by playing on the same team with his big brother, UCLA-bound Jerime Anderson. "It's very emotional," he said. To see them on the court together, then sitting next to each other on the bench, smiling, winking and appreciating the special moments, is what high school sports is all about. "It's something we always looked forward to," Jerime said. "He's my little apprentice. I can show him the way." Anderson looks like a sixth-grader and barely reaches the shoulders of his 6-foot-3 brother. But he's quick, fearless and has convinced Coach Nate Harrison that he belongs on varsity. LA Times 12/5

Two stars and a scrappy supporting cast trump one star and a solid supporting cast. St. Edward, with 6-8 frontcourt aces Delvon Roe and Tom Pritchard, outlasted Campbell Hall and superstar guard Jrue Holiday, 78-73, in overtime on Thursday night in Lakewood. The contest was televised nationally by ESPN2. The viewers and standing-room crowd of 2,000 got their money's worth, both in entertainment and tension. The Plain Dealer 12/9


Westchester and Fairfax have been the City's two dominant teams. Fairfax finally took control of the series last year, so Westchester has to regain the upper hand this year. But a problem stands in the way. Fairfax added Renardo Sidney, a transfer from Artesia. Sidney is a 6-11 junior power forward who makes Fairfax the City favorite. He led Artesia to a state title last year. Daily Breeze 12/5

Dominguez 85, Van Nuys 29: Junior guard Jordan Hamilton scored 28 points and senior guard Bryce Cartright had 10 to lead the Dons (1-0) to a win in the first round of the Westchester Tip-Off Classic. Press Telegram 12/5

Bulldogs fall to Renaissance Academy for second straight year in own tournament, 63-40....Anthony Stover anchored that unit Saturday with 10 blocks, including one which sparked a fast break, finished by Yader Combs (six points, three assists) for an 8-2 lead at the 5:00 mark. “We wanted to make them put it on the floor, and then we can cover and help out,” Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke said. “We’re trying to do a better job of that.” Burbank Leader 12/5

“Mater Dei,” DeBusk said, “is clearly above the rest of us.” Mater Dei does not have Taylor King and Kamyron Brown, two All-County first-team player of last year who are at Duke and Oregon, respectively. But the Monarchs have three starters returning – 6-foot-11 twins David and Travis Wear, and 6-8 Andy Brown. Brown and the Wears are juniors, but if they were seniors they likely would have signed letters of intent with prestigious college programs by now. OC Register 12/5

Travis Wear and David Wear, teammates of Jrue Holiday and Jerime Anderson on their Pump N Run squad, have the Bruins on their lists. North Carolina and Arizona are in the hunt as well for the Wear twins, but it will not be easy to get them out of Los Angeles - especially with the strong ties between the Bruins and the Pump N Run club. The Wears shoot the ball well from behind the arc and certainly have the potential to extend their range out to the NBA 3-point line. Whatever school they chose to attend will have to wait one more year, however, since both are five-star prospects in the 2009 class. Rivals 12/6

Junior center Daniel Orton, 6-9, had a lot to do with Har-Ber’s reluctance to stray inside. Orton, who is rated as one of the top college prospects for 2009, had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. He played only 19 minutes as he continues to recover from a recent knee injury. “Daniel hurt his knee in a scrimmage and we have to be careful with him,” Durham said. “We’re monitoring his progress, and we don’t need him to pick up any careless injuries and hurt himself worse.” NWA News 12/7

The Tigers led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter and owned a 24-12 advantage after the opening 8 minutes. Fremont slowed the game down in the second half as it battled foul trouble. Senior forward James Albright had 20 points and five blocked shots for Fremont, and also helped limit Crusaders standout Reeves Nelson on the offensive end, as the 6-7 junior finished with just six points. Inside Bay Area 12/7

DaShonte Riley, 6-11, junior, Birmingham Detroit Country Day. The state's top junior, averaged 12 points and seven rebounds after transferring from Detroit Cass Tech. The confidence he gained from helping Country Day win the Class B state title should make him even more offensive-minded. He already was a terrific shot blocker and his rebounding has improved. Detroit Free Press 12/7

And, although the Taft High Toreadors were well short of "acing" their exam, they were still able to cruise past the Dominguez Dons, 70-54....Jordan Hamilton, who was just five of 18 from the field and finished with 13 points and a half-dozen turnovers, scored to cut the Dons' deficit to 41-36 with 2:31 to go in the third quarter. Press Telegram 12/7

Bishop McGuinness (2-2 ), from Oklahoma City, lost Daniel Orton early in the game. The 6-9 junior injured his knee with 11: 35 to play in the first half and did not return. Rivals. com has rated Orton as the 2009 class' top overall center prospect. He was injured coming into the tournament, having twisted his right knee during a scrimmage last week. NWA News 12/7

For the first time in the tournament, Bishop McGuinness of Oklahoma City, Okla., got the big man going and defeated Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton 63-52 to take third place Junior center Daniel Orton finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (3-2). His performance came after he was shut out Friday and was held to eight points and five rebounds on Thursday. "I wish we would have had him yesterday," Bishop McGuinness coach Tondrell Durham said. "He played well tonight. He got up and down the floor."NWA Morning News 12/8

Stephan Van Treese, a 6' 9" junior, had 22 points and 17 rebounds to lead Class 4A No. 4 Lawrence North past unbeaten Lafayette Jeff 79-71. Indy Star 12/8

Christ School 92, Community Partners 78 - Miles and Mason Plumlee had double-doubles to lead Christ School (6-0), which scored 27 points in the third quarter to take control. Miles Plumlee had 22 points and grabbed 17 boards while Mason Plumlee had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Tavares Speakes poured in 38 to lead Community Partners. Citizen Times 12/8

(photo credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)


Bruin Basketball Recruiting: DaShonte Riley

BBR Home > Bruin Basketball Recruiting: DaShonte Riley

DaShonte Riley
C | 6'11 | 225

Status: Prospect
Class: 2009
Hometown: Beverly Hills, MI
School: Detroit Country Day School
Position Rank (aggregate): C #NR
Schools of Interest: Ohio State, Xavier, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Minnesota, UCLA and Southern California





Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Anthony Stover

BBR Home > Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Anthony Stover

Anthony Stover
C | 6'10 | 210

Status: Signed National Letter of Intent on 11/12/08
Class: 2009
Hometown: La Canada, CA
School: Windward High in Los Angeles
Position Rank (aggregate): C #10
Schools of Interest: UCLA, Arizona, Arizona St., USC, Washington, Connecticut


UCLA Adds Center Anthony Stover to 2009 Class (10/3/08)

Four Prep Stars From 2009 Class Sign With UCLA (11/12/08)



(photo credit: Pasadena Star News/Mancini)

Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Brendan Lane

BBR Home > Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Brendan Lane

Brendan Lane
PF | 6'10 | 205 

Status: Signed National Letter of Intent 11/12/08
Class: 2009 
Hometown: Rocklin, CA 
School: Rocklin High School 
Position Rank (aggregate): PF #15 
Schools of Interest: UCLA, Stanford, California



(photo credit: SacBee)