Wednesday, June 04, 2008

NBA Draft Deadline Looms for UCLA Players

By Bruin Basketball Report

Much has transpired since Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Josh Shipp declared for the NBA draft last month. Let's catch up on some of the activity.

Declared players have up until June 16 to remove their names from the NBA draft in order to retain their college playing eligibility. The draft is scheduled for June 26.

Already one player has pulled out of the draft. Josh Shipp will play his senior season in Westwood. Shipp, the team's third-leading scorer last season at 12.7 points per game, will join Darren Collison to give UCLA some returning veteran offensive firepower. Collison announced last month he was foregoing the NBA draft to return to UCLA for his final campaign.

The Bruin players still with their names in the draft are Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Draft Express lists the following measurements and performance numbers for these three players from the NBA draft camp held in Orlando:

Kevin Love
No shoes - 6'7.75"
With shoes - 6'9.5"
Wingspan - 6'11.25"
Body fat - 12.9%
Standing jump - 29.5"
Vertical jump - 35.0"
3/4 court sprint - 3.22 sec

Russell Westbrook
No shoes - 6'2.25"
With shoes - 6'3.5"
Wingspan - 6'7.75"
Body fat - 4.8%
Standing jump - 30.0"
Vertical jump - 36.5"
3/4 court sprint - 3.08 sec

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
No shoes - 6'5.75"
With shoes - 6'7.5"
Wingspan - 7'0.5"
Body fat - 7.0%
Standing jump - 32.0"
Vertical jump - 38.5"
3/4 court sprint - 3.17 sec

Of the three players, only Mbah a Moute participated in the games at the NBA camp in Orlando, while both Love and Westbrook were only present for the physical measurements and skills tests. All three players will audition for individual NBA teams over the next few weeks.

Kevin Love is gone. He signed with a sports agent last week and there is no coming back to UCLA, at least as a basketball player. His stock has risen since he declared for the draft. Love has been projected as high as a top five pick to no lower than a top ten.

The freshman center has worked hard over the last few months to improve his skills and shed some weight. He has been working out with a trainer regularly at the Home Depot training center. Love has already lost 15-20 and has improved his quickness and agility as evidenced by his camp performance.

Love should become UCLA's first lottery pick since Jerome Moiso in 2000 and Baron Davis in 1999. Minnesota, the Clippers, and Milwaukee have been mentioned as possible destinations for Love.

Drafted not too far behind Love will be sophomore guard Russell Westbrook. Although he has not yet hired an agent, Westbrook will almost assuredly stay in the draft. He has impressed teams at individual workouts and may sneak in as a lottery pick. Teams have noted his athleticism, aggressiveness, and court acumen.

Lottery teams such as the Clippers, Indiana, and Sacramento have shown deep interest in the services of Westbrook.

Although Mbah a Moute is only a borderline first-round to a second-round pick, he may still elect to stay in the draft. Mbah a Moute is very close to graduating from UCLA and has reportedly indicated he may jump to the NBA if he can get at least a second-round draft guarantee from a team. Only first-round choices earn a guaranteed two-year contract.

If Mbah a Moute does not make it to the NBA, he still has the option of playing overseas; however, its likely an NBA team will take a chance on the 6'8 forward.

At the NBA camp in Orlando and during individual team workouts, Mbah a Moute has shown the type of tenacious defense and rebounding that made him invaluable in Coach Ben Howland's defensive scheme. He has shown scouts he can guard quick point guards and big post men. Despite not shooting well or displaying good offensive skills at tryouts, teams such as the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks still have shown interest in him.

At this juncture, Mbah a Moute is still undecided and may still return to UCLA. He has until June 16 and has a number of indiviual team tryouts still scheduled, including one with the Boston Celtics.

UCLA's chances for a fourth consecutive Final Four and a NCAA championship would definitely improve if Mbah a Moute decided to return. His defense and rebounding would help to solidify a talented yet inexperienced front line.

Although the Bruins will likely have Alfred Aboya returning for his senior season, the only other depth up front would be junior James Keefe, and freshmen J'mison Morgan and Drew Gordon.

(photo credit: AP)


At Jun 4, 2008, 5:46:00 PM, Anonymous jake said...

Thanks for the update on things ...

At Jun 4, 2008, 5:50:00 PM, Anonymous Hank said...

What about Stefenson?

At Jun 4, 2008, 5:52:00 PM, Anonymous Larry said...

Who's Stefenson? Think you mean Stepheson... and if so, good question!

At Jun 4, 2008, 6:08:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

read an article from on the combine evluation and other sources that say that LRMM is most likely gone... how sad... it used to be that players will stay in the draft if they get a 1st rd gurentee... but now players are will to do it for a 2nd rd gurantee... hopefully LRMM does not sign with a agent... that way if he is undrafted, he can actually come back to play next year... i think a kentucky kid named randolph did it 2 years ago, and was able to sign for an nba team during the middle of ncaa season

At Jun 4, 2008, 6:08:00 PM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

No word on Stepheson yet. He won't make a decision until the NCAA rules on whether it will waive the transfer requirement for him to sit out a year.

At Jun 4, 2008, 6:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just read in LAT that Luc's brother says Luc still doesnt know what he wants who knows????

At Jun 4, 2008, 10:50:00 PM, Anonymous atrojanedbruin said...

BBR, your assessment of Luc seems overly positive. From what I've read, he has not been impressive in Orlando at all. Whatever stock he had going into the pre-NBA Draft camp might have eroded at this point. Come back to Westwood, Luc!

At Jun 5, 2008, 1:28:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Pro scout expectations of Luc at the start of workouts were lukewarm at best, and not sure if their impressions are better or worse at this point. However in this case, you have to factor in the player's own motivation, and Luc seems bent on joining the League even if it means non-guaranteed money. If any team flashes an a-ok sign at him we think he is gone.
If Luc is indeed drafted it will be due to his defense and it wouldn't be a surprise if a team took a chance on him in the second round.
We want him back in the blue and gold as well but not sure if Luc feels the same way. We'll all find out by the 16th.

At Jun 5, 2008, 2:03:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Luc, come back and improve your stock...
One more year and another Final Four run will improve your NBA paycheck by MILLIONS...c u in a UCLA uniform next year...let's hang a banner...

At Jun 5, 2008, 3:13:00 AM, Anonymous jake said...

I just wonder if Luc/Alfred are a package deal ? Came here together ... leave together. If so ... that really will put us behind the eight ball for the power forward / center position.
Keefe/Morgan/Gordon ... that's it. Not a lot of depth. Two are freshmen that aren't exactly polished the way Love was out of the box.

At Jun 5, 2008, 4:22:00 AM, Anonymous J said...

nbadraftnet is just reporting that Westbrook will sign with an agent...I guess he really is gone. I'm going to miss him more than Love. Liked Love, but Westbrook was like Bo and just waited for that "special" thing to happen every time he touched the ball on offense.
Good luck Russ!

At Jun 5, 2008, 4:22:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Jake you are making me nautious...they will stay together...fingers crossed

At Jun 5, 2008, 5:06:00 AM, Anonymous bruins100 said...

personally i'd prefer Luc to leave for the NBA since he'd be happier there, plus that would give gordon and morgan more play time, not to mention keefe and aboya too. same with collison, i wish he woulda opted for NBA, since we're loaded with new guards, who end up sitting the bench most of the time which i think deter future recruits since most big name recruits would rather go to a place where they get to start right away. we lost stanback already, i hope we dont lose any more good players

At Jun 5, 2008, 4:37:00 PM, Anonymous dee said...

dude what's wrong with u, with collison back we have an all american pg, don't forget how he single handedly kept us winning the last few season games and during the pac-10 tournament.. with him leading the freshies, their growth will be faster, just like how farmar led collison and collison led westbrook

At Nov 8, 2010, 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Basketball Equipment said...

UCLA are such a good team, wish I went to that university, although I lack the basketball skills required to make the team lol.


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