UCLA vs. Cal Baptist - Exhibition Game Preview
By Bruin Basketball Report
UCLA plays its first of two exhibition games of the 2008-09 season when it faces Cal Baptist University tonight at Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins fresh off a third consecutive trip to the Final Four begin the year ranked No.4 in the AP preseason poll. The team returns three seniors and welcomes five impact freshmen this year.
Veterans Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, and Alfred Aboya give UCLA three seniors and an abundance of leadership in the starting line-up, however, the team's fortunes this season may hinge on the development of the fabulous five incoming freshmen of Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon, and J'mison Morgan.
While Holiday, Lee, and Anderson will help to fortify UCLA on the perimeter, with the departures of Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to the NBA over the summer, the Bruins will need considerable contributions from both Gordon and Morgan inside the paint.
On the injury front, center Alfred Aboya and guard Malcom Lee are both probable for tonight's game. Aboya is still recovering from a sprained right ankle and Lee is nursing a strained right groin muscle. Returning junior forward Nikola Dragovic will miss the game with an injured left foot.
UCLA's probable starting five for tonight's game will be Alfred Aboya, James Keefe, Josh Shipp, Jrue Holiday, and Darren Collison
Trekking in from Riverside to serve as sacrificial lambs for the Bruins tonight are the Lancers of Cal Baptist.
Cal Baptist hails from NAIA Division I and plays in the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Lancers reached the Sweet 16 of the NAIA tournament last season and were picked to finish first in their conference this season. They are ranked No.5 overall in the Coaches NAIA preseason poll.
The Lancers are tutored by veteran head coach Tim Collins who starts his seventh season at the helm. The team is 2-0 in early season play leading up to tonight's exhibition game against UCLA.
Cal Baptist is led by returning Golden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year Mark Roussin (Sr, 6'7, 220). He averaged 17.5 points and 8.1 rebounds last season. Roussin is a tenacious player who has the ability to score inside and out and should give the Bruin interior defense a good test.
The Lancers also have a fine senior point guard in Omar Krayem (6'1, 180). Krayem has averaged 22.5 points and 7.5 assists in the team's first two victories.
UCLA plays its second exhibition game on Friday November 7 against Biola before opening regular season play on November 12 against Prairie View A&M in the opening round of the 2K Sports Class Tournament.
UCLA vs. Cal Baptist
Time: 7:30PM PT
Place: Pauley Pavilion
(photo credit: Cal Baptist Athletic Department)