Friday, April 18, 2008

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)



At Apr 18, 2008, 1:11:00 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Don't you have to be able to shoot to play in the NBA?

At Apr 18, 2008, 1:29:00 PM, Anonymous JonW said...

Dennis Rodman was an allstar and he couldn't shoot a lick!

At Apr 18, 2008, 2:11:00 PM, Anonymous 1&done said...

NBA, are you kiddin me Moute? This is laughable! You must have stopped going to class the last semester and you're flunking out! Howland you are a tremendous coach but come on now? I understand your support for your superstar players but fully supporting Mbah Moute exploring the NBA is simply ludicrous!!! Your comments are starting to remind me of Steve Lavin's politically correct statements! You have achieved greatness by reaching the final 4 three straight years and are one of the top coaches in America Ben. You are now highly qualified to speak the truth! Would coach Wooden publicly agree with a mediocre player wanting to leave early for the NBA? Hell no! How can you fully support Luc's decision Ben? Are you kiddin me? If you don't want to hurt Luc's ego by telling him the truth, just say "no comment"! Are you kiddin me!

At Apr 18, 2008, 5:22:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

the comment above irritates me, after the first final 4 LMCC was projected as a top 10 draft pick because of him being able to rebound and defend multiple positions... i think howland's system limitied him as almost no plays is every run through him except for that little high post thing... he has an excellent stroke (look at his FT) just a little slow... yes he will be a classic tweener in NBA who is too weak for PF and can't shoot for SF... but if he really add some muscles, i can see him as a excellent defensive stopper in the next step... long arms, quick feet... someone who will frustrate the heck out of opposing SF... like a poor man's bruce bowen at this time without the dirtiness and strength but add rebounding instincts... if he comes back he will take a bigger role down low with keefe... but i'm afraid howland might revere back to the faramar days, when hollins and faye are never used... seriously! UCLA get an offensive assistant coach! and quit dissing LMCC... without him we would lose alot more games the past 3 years... don't forget he shut down james harden who scored at will against any team... and he was crucial in our game against michigan st earlier this year hitting the 3pt, shut down devon jefferson on the 2nd SC game... give him props... he's a good player... just raw and not used to his best ability on the offensive end

At Apr 18, 2008, 6:03:00 PM, Anonymous bruinfan said...

mbah and shipp...see u next year at UCLA
...nuff said about that one.,... sh**

At Apr 18, 2008, 7:46:00 PM, Anonymous randy said...

1&done - don't be afraid to overreact.
You worried an NBA team will promise Luc a 1st round pick? I'm not and I doubt Howland is either. This process is basically an ego check for a player like Luc. A college player can do it only one time so let him go get humbled and come back motivated. Having NBA people tell him his skills need major work, might sink in more than hearing it from his coaches, whom he sees almost everyday. Remember when Thompson and Afflalo tested the waters and everyone laughed at them too? They both came back and said the process was a positive experience for them. That's why Howland supports it. It's a win/win for the player and Howland cares about his players' futures. Please don't compare him to Coach L, who only cared about saving his own ass.

At Apr 19, 2008, 2:25:00 AM, Anonymous 1&done said...

Maybe I did overreact a little Randy but I still think Moute won't make an NBA roster because of his shooting weakness. He's not big or tall enough to be a Dennis Rodman like player so he needs one more year to really develop an outside shot and work on his footwork. The traveling calls on Luc were getting ridiculous. I still believe Howland is being a little too politically correct by fully supporting Moute's decision. It's ok for us to disagree sometimes or it would get very boring here! I'm sure BBR enjoys seeing us debate a little. Now I'm heading to costco to buy some brews! Go Bruins!

At Apr 19, 2008, 4:35:00 AM, Anonymous dee said...

last time i checked rodman is 6'7, LRMM is 6'8 BAM! LRMM can shoot..but howland does'nt give him the go which hurts his the dragovic effect

At Apr 19, 2008, 4:49:00 AM, Anonymous DB said...

Hehe I said for months now that Luc is not ready. Sure his freshman year was awesome statstically and while NBA projected him high after the first year, it was mostly based on future potential.
Truth is, Luc hasnt really improved much after his first year. The difference between Luc and Rodman? Well Rodman is a very good defender for his size and is extremely active and plays with extreme high energy. Rodman is also stronger.
With more and more underclassman across the nation declaring for the draft, UCLA will continue to slip.
There is just not enough talent here to draft him in the first round. He most likely will play Small forward in NBA at this point which he is not able to. He lacks too much of an offensive game and is too short and weak for powerfoward.
He is in the same position as Klove minus the publicity.

At Apr 19, 2008, 5:17:00 AM, Anonymous NYC said...

Comment above is correct. Howland will let Mbah a Moute get schooled by NBA talent evaluators, and return to UCLA motivated to improve. Why is this "politically correct" - a concept that is meaningless because it is so often misused, a concept that didn't amount to much to begin with?
Howland must appear to be open to and supportive of talent leaving early, so he can recruit the "one and dones. "
Remember, Mbah a Moute has only been playing for a few years. It takes years to develop a stroke, and then years of repetition to improve speed of release. He has a deceptively and very quick first step, because his body catches up to his feet, although his footwork IS terrible. With dedication he could be a poor man's Rodman, NOT Bowen, who does not rebound.

At Apr 19, 2008, 9:14:00 AM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Dee, to correct your comment, Howland gave plenty of chances for LRMM to shoot...and he just about missed everyone of them. Unlike Dragovic, as soon as he would miss one Coach H would yank him.
I know it is because of defense you say, but I'll bet Dragy can hit the mid range jumpers with his opposite hand better than LRMM if you let him shoot a few. LRMM caused me quite a few gray hairs this past season with his off shooting.
I'd like to see Dragy stay. I think both he and Roll can give enuf minutes between them to knock down some meaningful buckets next year.
If DC doesn't return, Roll and Dragy are the only proven deep shooters (can't count on Shipp no more). Not sure of the Freshmen classes shooting abilities from downtown but guess we will see.

At Apr 19, 2008, 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Grrr said...

Like NYC said, Luc has the option of coming back. Good for him if he's able to get the interest of a few NBA teams. Whether or not he becomes the next Rodman, or Brandon Bass for that matter, Luc will be set for life if he makes it on a roster.
Who cares if these kids don't become all-stars? What's wrong with playing a few years of basketball to support your family and live a comfortable life? Do you want to make a few million now or take the chance of playing another year at UCLA and severely injuring your knee? We all know that nothing is guaranteed in life. Go Luc for putting his name in the draft.
Go Bruins!

At Apr 20, 2008, 1:27:00 PM, Anonymous jake said...

Some of the comments here are brutal and some folks just don't grasp the situation.
I see nothing wrong here with LRMM testing the waters and exploring his options.
By going through the nba type evaluations he can get professional feedback on where he is right now skill wise. Considering his physical health past/issues it makes a lot of sense. If his nba potential is worthy of a first round pick then then I would think he needs to consider that route.
I've enjoyed his contributions to UCLA basketball both on and off the court. Three years is a great run at UCLA so no matter what he decides I'm 100% behind him. If he comes back I will be thrilled. Definite quality guy to have.

At Apr 20, 2008, 5:05:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

how bout watching Tayshuan Prince play reminds me of LRMM... long arms, quick for their size, not very good shooter, value because of their intangibles

At Apr 21, 2008, 7:45:00 AM, Anonymous Hawaiianfan said...

Reading the comments regarding Dragovic I am wondering what happened to Stanback. He seemed as heralded as Jrue Holliday now is. Still, he rarely played. How is he supposed to be ready for this year with the paltry minutes he had during games, during some of which he could easily have seen more time. Can't criticize the coach but either you didn't play this young man enough or you made a bad recruiting mistake.

At Apr 21, 2008, 9:40:00 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

BBR said that if LRMM and Love leave, Howland may pursue a JC transfer...thought UCLA didn't sign junior college transfers.

At Apr 21, 2008, 8:12:00 PM, Anonymous randy said...

Hawaiianfan - Holiday is rated top-5 nationally and won the Gatorade National POY. Previous winner was Kevin Love. Stanback was rated top-65 nationally and not even a McDonald's AA. Howland was reluctant to play Stanback because he struggled defensively staying in front of his man on the ball, and fighting through screens due to his lack of strength. Westbrook had the same problem as a freshman, which is why he only played 9 minutes a game. We saw how Westbrook's game improved as a sophomore. Stanback's offensive game is already solid, he just needs to get stronger and improve defensively and Howland will play him.

At Apr 22, 2008, 6:11:00 AM, Anonymous jake said...

Right ... Howland tends to narrow down his rotation to 8 players ... and those guys get the minutes. Bottom line is fit his mold and you'll get your playing time. I like Stanbacks game and I think a year of dedicated lifting will do him wonders as it did Keefe/Westbrook.

At Apr 22, 2008, 6:41:00 PM, Anonymous DB said...

On a side note, the more underclassman from other colleges declare early for the draft, the better it is for Bruins. This way more Bruins will most likely not fit the mid to high first round draft position and realize the realities of things and come back to get better unless they just want a short term contract.

At Jun 26, 2008, 11:31:00 AM, Anonymous Paul Bange said...

Looks like Westbrook and Love went in the top 5 like I had predicted. I'm afraid without the ability to shoot the basketball in this day and age one is very unlikely to get an NBA contract. I hope Luc has good luck.


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