Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Howland Clarifies His Players Status Next Season

By Bruin Basketball Report


In a press conference on Wednesday UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland attempted to clarify reports and rumors of Bruin players leaving UCLA early for other pursuits.


Howland stated freshman Kevin Love and junior Darren Collison have not yet decided whether they will make themselves available for the NBA draft despite numerous rumors.


"It's an erroneous report," Howland said," Kevin left Wednesday afternoon to go home. He's going to sit with his parents over the weekend and try to formulate some decision as to what he wants to do."


"I never met with Darren on Monday. I never spoke to Darren on Monday. I did not see him. I did not email him. I did not text him," Howland reiterated.


Sophomore guard Russell Westbrook, who had a break-out season and impressed NBA scouts, is reportedly contemplating whether to enter the draft but he has not made a decision. However, Howland stated that if Westbrook returned next season that he'd be the team's starting point-guard.


If both Collison and Westbrook leave this summer, it would leave Howland with inexperience at the point guard spot - perhaps the most important position in a Howland run-offense.


College players have until April 27 to declare for the June draft.


Two other Bruins, Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, may potentially test out their NBA stock this summer, but most likely they will both return next season.  Both players are not expected to be first-round draft picks in this year's draft.


Howland said junior forward Alfred Aboya, who is graduating with a degree from UCLA this June, is currently considering his options for next season.  He may return to the team or he may focus entirely on his graduate school studies.  Howland thinks Aboya will likely return next season.


Some reports indicate sophomore forward Nikola Dragovic is considering a return to Serbia to play professionally rather than return to UCLA next season.


"I think Dragovic wants to come back," Howland said. "My thing for him is to become more committed as a basketball player."


UCLA has the top rated recruiting class arriving in Westwood next season in Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, and Drew Gooden.  Coach Howland may still add to this class, however, his moves are complicated by the fact he is uncertain who is staying or leaving the team this summer.


"It's too early to say how many guys we're going to have here next year from this current team," Howland said. "We'll see about Alfred, Josh and Luc. There's a good chance they could be here. There's also a chance they would go. So there is a lot of uncertainty, which doesn't make my job fun at this time of year."


(photo credit: AP)

Labels:

29 Comments:

At Apr 9, 2008, 3:37:00 PM, Anonymous geoff said...

Can anyone comment on the number of scholarships allowed for a NCAA D1 mens basketball team? I believe that the team is allowed 13 in a given season, which leads me to a question about next year. What happens if everyone returns? Howland would have 14 players that were given scholarship commitments. What does Howland do in this situation? I know that this is highly improbably, as we have three potential first round draft picks on the team, but I was curious.

 
At Apr 9, 2008, 3:47:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

13 scholarships are allowed per team.
As you mentioned, its highly unlikely a Bruin player does not leave early this year, however, if the team did return 14 committed players next season then one player would be playing without a scholarship.

 
At Apr 9, 2008, 4:56:00 PM, Anonymous Grrr said...

BBR, thanks for posting this.
I agree with both of you. Someone or some people are leaving. The suspense is killing me and I've already condition myself to accept the worst possible scenario (Love, D.C. and Westbrook exiting).
The great thing is that the Bruins will still be a good team. Go Bruins!

 
At Apr 9, 2008, 11:17:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

As strange as this sounds, I feel Love will return and Collison will leave. It has something to do with more Beach Boys family reunions at Pauley, something that was a long time coming for the Love family, but happened this season...

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 1:03:00 AM, Anonymous ASK said...

I love Aboya's hard work but I would be happy if he just worked on studies. He lacks offensively. This season on defense he has more flying into player fouls than defensive stops.
Does anyone know what Howland meant when he says Dragovic needs to make a bigger commitment to basketball? Is he referring to taking charges, playing D, etc. Or is he referring to practice time?
I see Stanback and Roll playing a much bigger roll next year. I can't wait to see who we are bringing back to play with this outstanding recruiting class. I am also very interested if we have any scholarships left to offer after everyone makes their decisions.

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 2:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If every scholarship player currently on the roster returned next year, we would be at 14 (1 over the limit). So we could conceivably have more scholarships to offer for next year if 2 or more of our current players leave.

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 3:00:00 AM, Anonymous bruinfan said...

My hair turned grey this year because of Aboya...I cringe when he plays football on the basketball court....
I, BruinFan, wholeheartedly support all players decisions.
I, BruinFan, suppport Coach BH 110%. Nowadays, one has to look at it this way: Recruit one and done players or not? Soooo many factors go into winning the title....remember 99% of the teams are losers.
In L.A., everyday is a Holiday....
Let DC go...

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 3:17:00 AM, Anonymous gobruins93 said...

"However, Howland stated that if Westbrook returned next season that he'd be the team's starting point-guard."
Doesn't this mean that Collison is gone? Not that I'm shocked, but it contradicts the statement that Collison is undecided. BBR, was that a direct quote from the press conference?

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 4:20:00 AM, Anonymous dee said...

good read gobruin93... i think howland wants westbrook to come back that's why he's using the "starting pg" role to entice him... kinda like how stephen curry decided to stay in davidson to be starting pg because westbrook is a little small for sg in pros... and he leaves our only experienced backcourt will be shipp and abdul hamid?
also "if" everyone comes back, one of them have to give up their scholarship... i think that rochestie kid from wash st gave up his scholarship so they can recruit one more player

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 5:29:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin 2005 said...

good read gobruins93...I think DC has to go with Jrue coming in. His role is would only get smaller. I however do not think he will have the same draft luck Aaron had last year. I think Love is a real toss up at this point. If Westbrook and Jrue are working together we will be looking at the best back court D in the country.

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 7:24:00 AM, Anonymous Dylan said...

Howland made the unusual public statement supporting Westbrook to try to convince Love to stay. Collison is a good point guard, but holds the ball too much, dribbles too much, and can't seem to pass out of double-teams before they develop completely (essential). For some reason Howland wasn't able to reign him in, and his pledge to Westbrook was a signal to Love that next year would be different.
On another point: Those who criticize Howland are fools. The best prospect this year is Westbrook, who wasn't even recruited by other major schools. UCLA is a difficult place to coach. Only Stanford and Duke, among powers, have the academic standards of UCLA (don't mention UNC: joke admissions).

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous Moses said...

The way I see it, if DC and Westbrook both leave, our back court shouldn't suffer too much of a drop off in talent. Holiday and Lee are bona fide talents coming out of HS and we even have Anderson to work on. Shipp will get his act together and Roll - have you guys forgotten about him? He was suppose to be our zone buster.
Where the Bruins will have issues is in the frontline, particularly at center. Keefe/LRMM/Gordon is scary at PF/SF, but without Love or Matta, Aboya (if he stays) will have to man the center. Keefe is too small and so is Gordon.

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 11:19:00 AM, Anonymous DB said...

As stated before, all programs to be successful needs to have overlapping classes with talents to have a shot at winning. One and done players are great BUT only if there is already a core group of players playing together already.
There is no secret why most one and done players cant take their team far unless there are already experienced and consistent play around him. This is why only Love and Rose went far in the tournament.
For UCLA to win the big one, you have to have hope some good players spill over to the next recruiting class that is of talent. Hard working players are great but when lacking talent, 9 out of 10 times you will lose to a more talented one in tournament.
There is nothing wrong with criticizing a coach for anything as long as its valid. No matter how good or bad a coach is, you will always be under the scope of others thats the way it is. Winning shuts people up even teams that win throughout the season will get criticized here and there.
In any case this years Bruins flaws were a year long situation that finally got exposed just like Memphis' freethrow situation that cost them the championship. Ironic the one game that freethrow mattered the most for them was the championships.
UCLA need to have some luck on their side and have people willing to stay. I really feel for Collison though because last year he kept the team flowing and would have had a higher stock if he left last year. His desire to stay another year may cost him a first round draft pick. Others that see his situation may be more inclined to just leave while their stock is high.
I still say no one is ready and all should come back for another year really. Good thing about Jrue and Malcom is they can play some small forward so as I said Bruins should full court press like crazy next year if the whole team comes back. 5 Guards is a good problem to have.

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous Brew In said...

DB, all I can say about your comments is I'll pick up my brewski and toast ya brutha! ALL excellent and valid points! Well said my man!
This BBR is great Mr. Wong! I hope you will continue with your excellent reporting and all these WONDERFUL Bruin fans keep posting very well thought comments and concerns!
Bruins Forever!

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 1:10:00 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

I think Love will stay. I think Westbrook is 50/50. I think Collison knows his stock has dropped and that this is a class full of top-flight point guards (which is why I am suprised he didn't come out last year). I also think Howland wants Collison to go as they have a surplus of guards that he needs to give playing time to. Suggesting that Westbrook would be the starting point guard was a way to entice Westbrook and Love to stay, and give a little nudge to Collison out the door. And don't knock Aboya. He's a big and he knows the system. We need him.

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 1:46:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

collison is still a top 5 pg in the class, don't diss him because of 2 poor games all year... if not of him saving our butts on the last few season games we won't even be in the position to get the #1 seed... collison at worse is a poor man's TJ Ford w/o the injuries which isn't that bad consider Ford was taken top 10 in the draft, out of the pg that are competiting with collison, rose, bayless, mayo, westbrook will be ahead of him and lottery, but looking at the 2nd tier pg, only augustine is in collison's standard... then it drops off to 3rd tier pg like kyle weaver... while this year's draft is stack at the lottery, there's a huge drop off after the top 15-20players, and it's probably good that collison drop to mid to late 1st round, that way he will land in a playoff team, imagine him backing up Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash... i'll take that any given day

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 3:55:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

GoB93, yes it was his direct quote.
Even more confusing, later in the pressor Howland actually said Westbrook would still be the starter even if Collison returned...but I really don't doubt this is what Howland meant, and as a result I did not include it in the story. Really don't think Howland has received a final answer from anyone their status but I'm sure he has his own opinion and perhaps its slipped out during the pressor.
I agree with posters above that Howland is encouraging Westbrook to stay with the quote. As talented as the incoming freshmen guards, Howland would defintely prefer to have an experienced PG running the team next year.
- BBR

 
At Apr 10, 2008, 10:38:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin 2005 said...

I found this quote from the times...maybe it clears things up or is just an attempt to cover them up...
"Later, UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said in an e-mail that what Howland meant was, "The way it was this year, where [Collison and Westbrook] shared the point and shooting guard spots, not that Russell would start at the point no matter what. That's only if Russell comes back and Darren does not."

 
At Apr 11, 2008, 4:11:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin 2005 said...

Anyone else see this on Rivals...
"Now, there is an interesting rumor involving J'Mison Morgan which is gaining legs. Word is circulating that Morgan would like to get out of his Letter of Intent with LSU and is looking at UCLA, which was one of his final schools before picking LSU."
Wow...

 
At Apr 11, 2008, 8:23:00 AM, Anonymous willis said...

Yes, Morgan is looking @ UCLA. Taylor King, formerly of Mater Dei and Duke, is as well. King's list is, (in no particular order), USC, Villanova, Gonzaga, Cal and UCLA. While the other 4 programs have shown interst in King, UCLA has not. The problem with King is his over-involved dad, which is what led to the break in the committment to UCLA in 2005. The big fish is still Renardo Sidney of Fairfax.

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

Sidney seems like a definite one and done. He would be hard to pass up though. Perhaps the new two year rule will kick into effect by then.

 
At Apr 11, 2008, 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin 2005 said...

My not sold on Sidney...I dont think he has the work ethic that we have seen in our current and past classes.

 
At Apr 11, 2008, 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous richard m. said...

I'M PROUD OF OUR BRUINS>>>3 FINAL FOURS IN A ROW...Usc..ZER000000!

 
At Apr 11, 2008, 10:42:00 PM, Anonymous bruinvictory said...

Trent Johnson will an LSU coach next season so i think J'mison Morgan will not let go of his LOI with LSU.

 
At Apr 12, 2008, 1:22:00 AM, Anonymous jake said...

It has little to do with Trent Johnson ... rather a lot to do with the person/coach who recruited him there.

 
At Apr 12, 2008, 2:55:00 AM, Anonymous Don said...

Yes jake, but I think that coach will be retained... Still would be a nice 2 - 3 year player to get... I am sure there are others, but need to clear up player status first and get the signing period here...
BBR, any news on 2009 Xavier Henry? I see he has added ucla to his list

 
At Apr 12, 2008, 10:20:00 AM, Anonymous DB said...

Lance Stephenson will be a huge awesome player if UCLA can get him. Of the four heavy mentioned guards in Jrue, Brandon, Xavier, and Lance, Lance has the biggest potential upside.
He works hard on both sides of the court like Jrue and is a much bigger and stronger player. Course I still love Jrue's attitude and ferocity.

 
At Apr 12, 2008, 12:46:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Don,
Xavier Henry would be great get for the program. Those midwest kids are tough to pry loose. I understand Henry is looking very hard at Kansas right now. A NCAA championship doesn't hurt. Memphis is also a favorite. But don't count out UCLA yet.
-BBR

 
At Apr 15, 2008, 1:50:00 PM, Anonymous Perry guthrie said...

I might sound greedy, please stay at UCLA, Love there prenty time for NBA, we want a National Championship,,,,with all those great players. lets run run and run. then slow it down. your asst. East coast Coach...lol

 

Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home