Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Collison On The Mend, No More Wooden Autographs At Pauley

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report


Point-guard Darren Collison, who suffered a hip pointer injury against Washington, still feels soreness in the area but his condition is improving.


"As of right now, it feels a lot better than it did yesterday. I came in and got treatment this afternoon. At the time, it was really sore and it was sore during the Saturday game," Collison said. "It’s just something I have to get through. Coach [Ben] Howland said that I’m going to have a lot of injuries throughout my career and as long as I push through it, I’ll be fine." (see below for complete telephone interview transcript with Collison)


Collison had one of his finest games of the season against Washington State, scoring 18 points including a key driving lay-up late in the game to help UCLA hold of the Cougars.


Back-up senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real played just seven minutes against Washington State.  Howland was asked about Mata-Real's status on the team at his weekly pressor.  "He's averaging about 19 minutes a game, our second (actually third) leading rebounder, and leads us in blocked shots," Howland said. "He had a great practice yesterday. He has a significant role on the team.


Mata-Real is averaging 3.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game in his final season at UCLA.  He provides the Bruins depth at the center spot, and his experience and defensive prowess will play dividends for the team sometime down the line, especially during tournament time.


The UCLA Athletic department announced Coach John Wooden would no longer sign autographs during games.  The request is for fans to respect his privacy and to allow Coach Wooden to watch and enjoy the game.


Wooden, 97 years old, has been missing at recent Pauley Pavilion games but it does not have to do with this particular issue, instead Wooden has been feeling under the weather lately.


Current Head Coach Ben Howland said he thought the move was long overdue and actually suggested it awhile ago.  "When he comes to a game it would be nice to respect the fact that he’s there to enjoy the game," Howland said. "Everyone is so excited to see him, and you understand it - he's a living legend."



UCLA Men’s Basketball


Teleconference Quotes


January 16, 2008


Junior Point Guard Darren Collison


                                                                                                                      


on his hip injury



“As of right now, it feels a lot better than it did yesterday. I came in and got treatment this afternoon. At the time, it was really sore and it was sore during the Saturday game. It’s just something I have to get through. Coach [Ben] Howland said that I’m going to have a lot of injuries throughout my career and as long as I push through it, I’ll be fine.”


                                             


on his offense improving



“I think the more games you have under your belt, the more comfortable you are in the game. I’m getting. I’m getting back to playing, but I’m also getting more rest during the games. It’s just about me getting more games under my belt. I thought I was really coming along in the

Washington

game, until I got hurt in the second half, and I really got to prove against

Washington

State

that I was ready.”



on

Washington

 

State

’s finish with seven consecutive three-pointers in the final

1:22



“I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’m just thankful we came on in the first half and put it on them. In the second half, they hit a barrage of threes and we were lucky to hold on with our free throw shooting.”


                                                                  


on whether or not he saw Russell Westbrook and O.J. Mayo play against each other this summer



“We all played against him. Russell [Westbrook] was on my team during the time we played him. O.J. [Mayo] is a good player. We understand what he can do. It is going to be a fun matchup. But we aren’t thinking about guarding him individually, we are looking at it more as team play.”



on going against Russell Westbrook every day in practice



“You just have to play your hardest in practice and give it your all. Russell [Westbrook] is going to do the same thing. It’s just like my freshman year against Jordan [Farmar], all you can do is try to get each other better by playing your hardest in practice. All we are trying to do is push each other and get each other better and get ready for the games.”


                                                                                                                                          


on the key to guarding O.J. Mayo



“I think the most important thing is to take away easy shots and try to make it hard for him. He’s going to shoot the ball and he’s going to score, but if we can limit his shooting percentage, we should be alright. We are not going to be able to stop his scoring entirely, but if we can make him take tough shots and contest every shot he takes throughout the game, then we should be cool.”



on both games with USC being very tough and close wins



“I thought last year’s SC team was very mature. With Nick Young, Gabe Pruitt and Lodrick Stewart, those are guys that had a lot more experience than in previous years. This year, they are a lot younger than last year and we are the team with the veterans. We know what to expect. It should be a close game.”


                                                                              


on how this year’s team has improved over last year’s



“I think we have a better inside presence. Our inside presence last year wasn’t nearly as good as this year. Lorenzo [Mata-Real] and Alfred [Aboya] really worked on their game during the offseason and along with Kevin [Love], we have a better inside presence. That presence on the inside opens up our outside for me, Josh [Shipp] and Russell [Westbrook]. I think the inside presence is a key for the season and a key for this game coming up.”



on USC’s foul tactics on Lorenzo Mata-Real last year at

Galen

 

Center



“I didn’t realize what they were trying to do. After I saw Alfred [Aboya] running across the court, I figured it out. Tim Floyd is a smart coach and he’s going to try and do whatever it takes to win a game. It should be real fun and interesting to see what they are going to bring at us on Saturday.”


                                          


on how an emotional win against

Washington

 

State

helps the team



“It gives us a lot of confidence. Beating a team that was undefeated and beating them at home, it gives us a lot of confidence. We played the best game we’ve played all year against

Washington

State

. We had to play that way to beat a team like

Washington

State

. As you know,

Washington

State

is not a bad team. The way we played last Saturday is the way we need to play against any caliber team. We are trying to win a championship and we know we have to work hard and put effort into it like we did against

Washington

State

.”



on how realistic it would be for a team to go undefeated in the Pac-10



“It’s definitely realistic, but it’s not our number one focus. Our number one focus is to beat USC. We are going to do this one game at a time. That’s how we approached it last year and that’s how we are going to approach it this year. We can’t look ahead because we know that every team in the Pac-10 is good and they can beat you on any given night. So we are going to take it one step at a time and try and give it our best against SC.”



on playing one game a week like this week and like football



“That would be great. That would be so great if we only had one game a week, but unfortunately, this is basketball and we have two or three games a week. It would make it a lot better because if we only had one game a week, we would have more time to prepare for that team and we would have more days to rest. But with two or three games a week, you don’t have a lot of preparation time and with the injuries you have, there’s not much time to rest.”


(photo credit: J Rosenfeld)

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4 Comments:

At Jan 16, 2008, 5:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UCLA over u$c by 25. Love will have a dunk-fest. Hold the Mayo as he will score his 15+ points, but have a big DONUT for assists. Great team player they have there. Can't wait to see the "Rapper" play next year. If anything, it is a colorful team (and I'm not talking about the red and gold). GO BRUINS!

 
At Jan 17, 2008, 1:15:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

UCLA by 15....
One game at a time until we play UNC in the Finals...we play defense...that's why we will win it all...
Thanks BBR...this gets me all fired up in the morning....

 
At Jan 17, 2008, 7:57:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

I live in Sacramento and it is noteworthy how this Saturday's UCLA-SUC game is totally under the radar screen in locations outside of LA. The TV networks don't even have it listed as a game worth special note or attention. I think with UCLA's strong play as of late and SUC's 1-3 Pac-10 start that SUC is almost a forgotten entity. It is apparent to me that Mayo and Hackett both need the bal to be effective and that Hackett wants the ball more than Floyd should let him have it. At some point during this season the Mayo and Hackett ego conflict will be much more apparent and SUC will be lucky to win 16 games as a result.

 
At Jan 17, 2008, 8:00:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

I live in Sacramento and it is noteworthy how this Saturday's UCLA-SUC game is totally under the radar screen in locations outside of LA. The TV networks don't even have it listed as a game worth special note or attention. I think with UCLA's strong play as of late and SUC's 1-3 Pac-10 start that SUC is almost a forgotten entity. It is apparent to me that Mayo and Hackett both need the bal to be effective and that Hackett wants the ball more than Floyd should let him have it. At some point during this season the Mayo and Hackett ego conflict will be much more apparent and SUC will be lucky to win 16 games as a result.

 

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