Mbah a Moute Decides To Enter NBA Draft
By Bruin Basketball Report
In a teleconference with the media this afternoon, junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute announced he would make himself eligible for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent at this time. By not immediately signing with an agent, Mbah a Moute can still pull his name out of the draft up to ten days prior and still retain his collegiate eligibility. This year's draft takes place June 26.
"After speaking with my family and with Coach Howland, I feel that it is in my best interest to see what the NBA has to offer," Mbah a Moute said. "I'm not hiring an agent, so the opportunity still exists for me to return to UCLA."
Although he battled multiple injuries this season, Mbah a Moute averaged 8.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection as well as an honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic team member.
"I have had a wonderful experience at UCLA," Mbah a Moute added. "I have had a chance to play in three Final Fours and that is very special to me and I'll never forget it."
In 2008, Mbah a Moute became the first Bruin since Keith Wilkes, Bill Walton and Greg Lee (1972-74) to start in three straight Final Four games. His 775 career rebounds currently rank him No. 15 on the UCLA career charts.
"Luc is a great rebounder and is an outstanding defender," Howland said. "He’s the most versatile defensive player I’ve ever coached. He has been an integral part of the success that our program has achieved over the last three seasons. I fully support him exploring his opportunities to play in the NBA."
Unlike Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, its unclear whether Mbah a Moute would be drafted in the first round which carries a two-year guarenteed contract. Current mock drafts put Mbah a Moute as a low first round to high second round draft selection. Although its quite possible he can improve his stock by performing well at upcoming camp tryouts.
Mbah a Moute has the size, length, and motor to contribute at the next level, however, his skill level on the offensive end could use additional refinement at the collegeiate level.
Losing both Love and Mbah a Moute would create an enormous hole in UCLA's front court. Only sophomore James Keefe and junior Alfred Aboya would be returning from this year's front court, although its been mentioned Aboya may also leave the program after this school year. Aboya is scheduled to graduate this June and is considering graduate school. UCLA does have 6'9 post Drew Gordon from Archbishop Mitty entering next season.
If the Bruins lose Love and Mbah a Moute, look for Coach Howland to aggressively puruse an unsigned 2008 high school senior, junior college transfer, or perhaps even an international post player.
(photo by Bruin Basketball Report)
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