Saturday, April 26, 2008

Collison Announces Return To UCLA For Senior Season

By Bruin Basketball Report

Junior Darren Collison has decided to remain at UCLA for his senior season, he announced during a teleconference this afternoon.

The UCLA point-guard averaged 14.5 points and 3.8 assists while shooting 48.1% from the field including 52.5% from beyond the arc in 33 games. Collison also led the team in free-throw shooting at 87.2%.

"Its my chance to do something special in my senior year", Collison said. "It wasn't until this last week that I made the decision to return."

He had considered entering the draft after last season but decided instead to remain at UCLA. At the time, some scouts had projected Collison to be a middle to late first-round draft choice

"I'm in a good financial situation thanks to my parent," Collison said. "It helped make my decision easier."

Collison battled back from an early knee injury in the season this year to be named a third-team All-American as well as second-team All-Pac-10 player. However, Collison struggled mightily during the NCAA postseason tournament and may have hurt his draft stock in the meantime.

"I want to improve my medium range jump shot," Collison said. "Fill all the holes in my game."

Mock drafts had Collison going somewhere in the late first-round, although some felt he might slip further in the draft especially with so many quality underclassmen declaring early.

"I have no doubt Darren would have been a first-round draft choice this season," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "It tears me up thinking about his loyalty to the program and it will be very special with him returning next year."

While UCLA has a stellar freshmen class, with three highly-rated backcourt players in Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson arriving next season, the team would certainly benefit with the return of experienced players.

"We have a good class coming in and I'm excited about the players who are returning," Collison said.

Howland feels Collison could improve his strength and put additional weight. He thinks Collison could get up to 175 pounds this summer.

"It gives us an All-American at the starting point," Howland said. "We have arguably the best point-guard in the nation next season."

(photo by Bruin Basketball Report)



At Apr 26, 2008, 7:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC! Nice.
Now, for UCLA to maintain its current level of success, Mbah a Moute must return, and Howland probably needs to land at least one more bigman recruit. Hopefully Aboya will return or the frontcourt will be ultra-thin. I think Westbrook stays in the draft with Love.

At Apr 26, 2008, 8:48:00 AM, Anonymous asiansportsfanatic said...

Its obvious, Collison lacks the offensive skills to make it in the NBA. He will be a great backup to Jrue Holiday next season.

At Apr 26, 2008, 9:26:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

Agree with the above. The three guard offense should give everyone playing time. We are going to need to get more easy buckets in transition because we won't be getting the tip backs and easy buckets from Love. We do need one more big, hopefully one that can run the floor. This is going to be a very different team, but a more exciting one.

At Apr 26, 2008, 9:52:00 AM, Anonymous I_am_Bruin said...

DC will not be Jrue's backup next season. DC will play the 1 and Jrue will play the 2. Jrue will fill the role Westbrook played this past season.
Assuming Westbrook stays in the draft, there is no way DC is coming off the bench.

At Apr 26, 2008, 9:56:00 AM, Anonymous I_am_Bruin said...

Aslo, see Howland's quote in this very article:
"It gives us an All-American at the STARTING point," Howland said. "We have arguably the best point-guard in the nation next season."

At Apr 26, 2008, 11:42:00 AM, Anonymous jake said...

It's all good. Glad to have somebody returning with solid experience. Sounds like he will beef up a bit - excellent. Also - work on the holes in his game - also excellent. That's what I want to hear. I do get frustrated with his ball control dribbling and would think that would likely change with the incoming players coming in.
In the same vane ... I would hope that Shipp dedicates himself to the offseason weight lifting program and comes back with something to prove. Whatever he needs to do to get over the mental issues he struggled with in regards to his shot. I would also like to see a bit more leadership.
Be interesting to have so many seniors on the team next year. I'm all for that. A bit of urgency etc. Would like to see mbah a moute rejoin the bunch. And what the heck - Love reconsiders and adds a little drama.

At Apr 26, 2008, 2:49:00 PM, Anonymous 1&done said...

This is great news! Darren, Jrue Holiday, and Malcom Lee playing together will be "show time". Lee is has been looking tremendous! without Love and Mata we're forced to play "small ball". We can still play D but now we can run people into the ground in the 2nd half! I see more full court pressing and creating easy baskets off turnovers. "Small Ball" may work with these incoming studs!

At Apr 26, 2008, 4:12:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Hmmm.....Lee has the wingspan to be to the defensive stopper...DC and Holiday starting is nice....Anderson, Roll will have to fight for minutes....
BruinFan is indecisive on DC's return....he does bring leadership but hit the weights boy....
Love, u see this...come back man...
Mbah, Howland is allowing you to enter but you will get slapped in the face and will have no choice but to return next year....
I truly enjoy BBR and what Howland is doing with this program.....It's gotta be hard with one and done players....

At Apr 26, 2008, 6:00:00 PM, Anonymous alan said...

i agree DC coming back is nothing but good news. I'm as high on the incoming class as anybody else, but how can you argue against an All-American point guard coming back to play his senior year? This is the leader of the last two Final Four runs. Love is great, but people seem to forget that these Bruins made it to the Final Four for two seasons BEFORE Love even showed up. Kevin Love did not bring winning to UCLA, it's been here since Howland arrived.

At Apr 26, 2008, 6:35:00 PM, Anonymous jake said...

Well said - Alan. Let's give a bunch of credit where it is due - with Howland.
I've seen the incoming class play ... and personally I only see Holiday being ready out of the box. And I really like him as the two guard - a definite joy to watch. Lee/Anderson I believe will contribute over time but will need to hit the weights and graduate to the next level where there is a bit of a learning curve. Gordon I'm guessing will play the second most minutes of the incoming freshmen - and it may depend a bit on Mbah a Moute returning or not.
Holiday / Roll
Shipp / Roll
Mbah a Moute
Howland tends to lock in on his 8 ... and with Roll likely earning that 6th man position spelling minutes at the 2/3 spots. Two spots seem to be open. I would think Stanback will have something to say about one of those tweener spots and certainly Gordon rotating in with the bigs.
Kinda need to see how it will play out but could be interesting. Inside presense seems to suffer a bit w/o Love but the outside presence will only be better with Holiday/Roll and Shipp can only be better, right ?

At Apr 26, 2008, 6:46:00 PM, Anonymous randy said...

You know, I'm a bit disturbed at the ambivalence some UCLA fans (especially on other boards) are showing toward Darren Collison's return. People are whining about his struggles vs. Memphis and WKU, his "dribbling too much", but ignoring all his heroics.
Go watch game tapes of UCLA's most important wins the past couple seasons, and then tell me how UCLA would be better off in '09 without him. Just watch the Texas A&M game from '08 and realize that UCLA would have been toast without his first-half shooting and late-game drives.
Do you realize that Collison is UCLA's best shooter (53% 3-point, 87% FTs) and that nobody else is even close, including the incoming freshmen? Yeah, I guess UCLA would be better off without that, and just a bunch of 30% 3-point shooters.

At Apr 26, 2008, 7:55:00 PM, Anonymous DB said...

I doubt Ben Howland will be able to stay with 8 man rotation if Love and Luc doesnt come back. If also Aboya doesnt come back as well, you will see stanback play much more.
Reason being that will leave Keefe and Gordon only at the front which is too think and short. I would think at times you will have both of them and Stanback in there for more rebounding purposes.
Said it before UCLA will have to rely on full court pressure and a faster pace of game. Their game style at least offensively would be to try and run, run, and more run. DC will be a starter with Jrue at the 2 and Lee sometimes at the 3. Anderson will back up both Guard spots and Shipp will have to step up as there are now so many shooter competing for spots.
Most likely though is that Luc will come back and I am not surprised if Love does as well. Love need to be smart and just do the workout for teams and avoid scimmage games to try and maintain a high draft position.
This year's draft is full of high potential solid players that are underclassman.
I think Roll and Shipp are on the icy spot in terms of playing time as the incoming players are looking to be better defensive players and just as good, if not better, offensive players. It is hard to keep Lee behind Shipp and Roll if he plays decent since defensively he can be a stopper.
However next year UCLA may be like this year's Duke team but with better defense. That is we will be short at the front and have to rely on the backcourt more to win it.

At Apr 27, 2008, 2:46:00 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

Collison did what he had to. His game is not NBA ready and probably won't be next season. He can't create his own shot nor can he create scoring opportunities for the bigs. He should play great defense and pass. If the shot is there take it. Other than that he's not an elite player. I think Love will return. He's projected to go to Portland. Oden and Aldridge land.Need I say more. Plus Love didn't look great against Memphis either. Needs to work on his game as well. Mbah is bluffing. He will return for sure. He has know idea how to play against the elite talent. Aboya, good luck with your life outside of basketball. Lets hope he moves on and make way for Keefe. By the way, Rose exposed Collison but the outcome wasn't because of this mis match.Howland failed to see the problem and didn't react in time to offset it.
Westbrooke good luck. One more year in school would make your stock sky rocket

At Apr 27, 2008, 3:20:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

All of this conjecture is premature. There is much water to go under the bridge before June 16 when players have to withdraw their names from the NBA draft if they want to stay in school. Word is that Aboya is coming back. It's likely that of Luc Richard, Love, and Westbrook that 2 of the 3 will come back. Howland will have to encouage Dargovic to move on like he did Ryan Wright to open up another scholarship. Roll might not fit into future plans either.

At Apr 27, 2008, 3:21:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

randy: I agree. Collison has been a terrific Bruin and a class guy. I blame Howland for the loss against Memphis, not Collison. Rose is a great player who will be on an NBA all-star team one day. Another 10 or 15 lbs. of muscle and Collison will be a solid NBA PG.

At Apr 27, 2008, 3:56:00 AM, Anonymous Moses said...

randy, I agree with you 100%. Collison has been nothing but a winner to this program.

At Apr 27, 2008, 6:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I blame Memphis. Why do you have to blame either Howland or Collison?

At Apr 27, 2008, 11:23:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Whatcha talking bout Willis??
Where do u get your insight..."2 of the 3 will come back"
fill me in....u a student? Coach Willis

At Apr 27, 2008, 11:32:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

I credit Memphis. I blame Howland for sticking with really stupid defensive assignments for the entire game. Howland knows a million times what I do about coaching and his team, but this was a glaring mistake that I was yelling at my T.V. about after only five minutes. Either he needs to throw in a little zone, or cut it out with the macho "you go shut down your guy" crap. In baseball, there's no dishonor in an intentional walk. We need to play to win, not uphold a least not in a final four game.

At Apr 27, 2008, 2:33:00 PM, Anonymous willis said...

Well Bruin Fan......I feel pretty certain that Luc Richard will be back and I just have a hunch that Love or Westbrook will be too. I have no doubt Shipp will be back. I don't have any inside information. I have a hunch that Love will realize that if he rejoins Collison, Shipp, Mbah a Moute, Aboya, Stanback, Keefe, Roll and the recruiting class, that the only thing that will stand between him and an NCAA championship is UNC. The 2009 draft is the draft to be a part of if you want to get to the lottery. This one is too impacted by so many great young players coming out.

At Apr 28, 2008, 7:37:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Good job DC. You made the right move. Become one of the few players EVER to go to 4 straight Final Fours!!!


Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home