Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bruins Outplayed At Home By Trojans

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score | Photo Gallery

Outplayed and outhustled, at home no less, the Bruins lost to the USC Trojans, 72-63, before 12,714.

Despite snagging an astounding 25 offensive rebounds and outrebounding the Trojans, 39-30, in the game, the Bruins were unable to solve the Trojan's defense.

The Bruins were held to just 33.3% shooting from the field by the Trojans who utilized an effective triangle-and-two defense.

With Josh Shipp and Darren Collison each shadowed by a defender and a zone triangle surrounding Kevin Love in the paint, the Trojans dared the other two wide-open Bruins on the floor to beat them, specifically Russell Westbrook, Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Coach Tim Floyd gambled with the defense, and the gamble paid off for the Trojans.

The three players shot a combined 3-22 (13.6%) from the field. Westbrook had his worst shooting game of the season, finishing 2-11 and committing five turnovers.

UCLA's offense appeared out of sync for large parts of the game, uncertain on how to attack the defensive zone and executing poorly in the halfcourt, which led to an inordinate number of three-point shots attempts by the Bruins who finished just 8-26 from beyond the arc.

"We were way too emotional," said coach Ben Howland. "We were so caught up and our emotions took over. We made some bad decisions. I can't remember us ever being like that in the last few years."

Kevin Love finished with a double-double, 18 points and 12 rebounds, but he was just 6-15 from the field. He missed a number of point-blank shots and put-backs and appeared to uncharacteristically hurry his shots - perhaps out of concern it might be blocked by the active interior Trojan defenders - Taj Gibson and Davon Jefferson.

One key juncture in the game was a three-minute period book-ending halftime which resulted in a nine-point turnaround.

With UCLA up 32-29 and 39 seconds remaining, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute stole the ball and unwisely drove to the basket, instead of holding for the last shot, he missed and after a flurry of tips the Trojans rebounded and scored a lay-up on the other end - taking any momentum from the Bruins into their own locker room.

Mayo, held without a field-goal in the first half mainly by the stellar defense of Russell Westbrook, found himself freed of the shackles of Westbrook, who was at his customary spot on the bench to start the second half. Mayo promptly came of a screen for a lay-up and then found himself wide-open for a three-pointer. By the time UCLA Coach Howland inserted Westbrook on Mayo, the Trojans were up 38-33 after just two minutes into the second half.

The Bruins eventually caught the Trojans midway through the half, but down the stretch, it was more poor Bruin defense that led to the team's final demise.

USC spread the floor and then keenly isolated Daniel Hackett on Josh Shipp, who promptly took Shipp off the dribble for two key baskets - his second basket putting the Trojans up 64-61. Then Davon Jefferson went to work on the Bruin defense, scoring the last seven points for the upset victory.

USC shot 60.9% for the game, scoring on a number of backdoor cuts - many of them resulting from slow Bruin rotations on defense. Davon Jefferson was the main recipient, he finished with a game high 25 points.

"They outplayed us," Howland said. "They're a team that will be in the NCAA tournament."

UCLA's Lorenzo Mata-Real and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute both suffered concussions during the game and were not available for most of the second-half.

UCLA falls to 16-2 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-10 race tied for first-place with Washington State and Arizona State. The Bruins will now travel on a two game road trip to Oregon next week.

(photo credit: AP)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

UCLA vs. USC - Game Preview

Arron Afflalo Hits Game Winner Over USC


By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

No.4 ranked UCLA, winners of nine-straight games, hosts crosstown rival USC at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins (16-1, 4-0) are tied for first-place in the Pac-10 with Arizona State. UCLA swept both Washington schools at Pauley last week. Freshman Kevin Love was voted Pac-10 Player of the Week for his contributions in both games.

USC (10-6, 1-3) defeated Washington, 66-51, on Saturday for its first conference win of the season. Sophomore guard Dwight Lewis led all scorers with 17 points.

The 2007-08 season has been one of transition for the Trojans. They lost their top three scorers and veteran leaders from last season, Nick Young (Wizards), Gabe Pruitt (Celtics), and Loderick Stewart.

Trojan head coach Tim Floyd has reloaded with a talented group of freshmen led by one of the top players in the nation, O.J. Mayo. USC is still struggling with consistency and team chemistry, however, the Trojans should improve as the conference season progresses.

Since Floyd's arrival to USC, he has emphasized defense and this season has been no different. Entering this week, the Trojans rank 21st in the nation and lead the Pac-10 in defensive field goal percentage with 38.2%.

They held Washington to just 33.3% shooting in their victory. On the season the Trojans are holding opponents to 61.0 points a game.

The Trojans play both man and zone defenses, however, they are expected to play a lot of zone against the Bruins on Saturday, in particular a 1-3-1 zone. USC used this effectively against UCLA last season, in addition, its certain that Floyd observed how Michigan's 1-3-1 zone bothered the Bruins earlier in the season.

UCLA has executed more effectively against zones at times since the start of conference play, attacking the seams more aggressively and finding players in the high post. It will be interesting how they fare against the Trojans who have long and very athletic players especially on the wings.

Last season, the Trojans had supreme three-point shooters in Young, Pruitt, and Stewart , however, this year's Trojan team has struggled from beyond the arc. While they are shooting 36.6% on three-pointers on the season, the Trojans have struggled in Pac-10 conference play, shooting an anemic 23.6% in four games. Sophomore guard Daniel Hackett, who made 48.1% of his three-pointers in nonconference games, has missed all eight of his attempts in Pac-10 games.

The Trojans are shooting 47% from the field and averaging 68.1 points a game.

On the boards, Washington outrebounded USC by a huge margin, 42-28, on Saturday The Huskies grabbed 22 offensive rebounds in the game. In four conference games, the Trojans are being outrebounded by -9.2 a game, at the same time, the Bruins are a +7.5.

One of the highlights of this rivalry game is the match-up between the top freshmen in the country; UCLA's Kevin Love and USC's O.J. Mayo.

Although the two will not actually guard each other, it will definitely be the only chance to see these two compete in the same game in Trojan and Bruin uniforms since one, and likely both, will be headed to the NBA next season.

Love is averaging a double-double, 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds, and with each week has shown improvement in almost every facet of his game, including the defensive end.

While Mayo (6'5, 200, Fr) is leading the Trojans in scoring with 19.9 a game - second best in the country. However, perhaps the most telling statistic for Mayo is the fact he accounts for more than 30% of his team's shot attempts, moreover, he has almost twice as many shot attempts (264) than the next player on the team.

Mayo has scored more than 30 points in two games this season, but the Trojans lost both games, moreover, in games which Mayo has more than 20 shot attempts the Trojan's record is 2-4.

He is an extremely talented player who can hit from outside and drive to the basket effortlessly in traffic. At the same time, he is prone to taking ill-advised shots or going one-on-one while his teammates stand and watch him try to create his own shot.

In perhaps the best match-up to watch on the floor on Saturday, UCLA's Russell Westbrook will get the call against Mayo. Although Westbrook will come off the bench, expect him to get his usual 32-35 minutes of playing time. Westbrook knows Mayo will get his shot attempts but he will try to make them as tough as possible while not letting Mayo take him off the dribble.

At the other guard spot, the Trojans will either start Daniel Hackett (6'5, 205, So) or Angelo Johnson (5'11, 180, Fr). Floyd started Johnson against Washington due to the match-up against speedy Venoy Overton and it wouldn't be a surprise if Johnson got the nod against UCLA's Darren Collison for defensive purposes.

Hackett has struggled with his outside shooting of late although he's still averaging 10.7 points a game and leads the team in assists at 3.7. Johnson is a quick guard who is averaging 4.4 points on 41.4% shooting and 35.7% on three-pointers.

Davon Jefferson (6'8, 215, Fr) is a very athletic player but has been inconsistent in his play all season. He's averaging 11.8 points on 53.8% field goal shooting and 5.5 rebounds a game. Jefferson has also dealt with team disciplinary issues, having missed four games for various reasons this season.

A tough match-up when he's focused, Jefferson can attack the basket, in addition, his size and length can cause problems on defense. Alfred Aboya will get the initial start against Jefferson but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will likely get the most minutes against him, especially if he has healed from a groin pull injury he suffered at practice on Monday. If Mbah a Moute is unable to contribute significant minutes, then sophomore James Keefe will log major minutes.

At the wing spot is Dwight Lewis (6'5, 215, So), a returning starter from last season, he has been solid this season, averaging 11.1 points on 49.6% shooting and 34.2% from three point distance. Lewis is constantly moving and cutting, usually finding himself around the ball. He is good defender and perhaps the most consistent player on the team, providing stability on a young club. Lewis and Josh Shipp will likely lock horns for most of the contest.

While center Taj Gibson (6'9, 225, So) has been effective, all his numbers are down from his standout freshman season. Gibson's point production is down from 12.2 to 9.4 points and his rebounds down from 8.7 to 8.0. He was a key low post presence on the team last season, and if the Trojans are to improve they'll need to do a better job to involve him in the offense.

Gibson is a good shot-blocker (2.1) with quick jumping ability, however at 225 lb, he may have difficulty handling Love in the low post, especially the way Love has been operating in the low post of late. In addition, Gibson is very foul-prone, having already fouled out of four games this season.

The Trojans do have size off the bench, and it wouldn't be surprising if Floyd uses a rotation of Keith Wilkinson (6'10, 225, Jr), Rouseau Cromwell 6'11, 225, Jr), and Mamadou Diarra (7'0, 230, Fr) to expend all their fouls on Love during the course of the game to wear out the freshman.

UCLA has been playing their best ball of the season since the start of Pac-10 conference play, in particular freshman Kevin Love has stepped it up a notch over the last four games.

While the Trojans have already lost three conference games, their defense, athleticism and potential explosiveness on offense makes them a dangerous club on any given night.

This same USC team, which lost their season opener to lowly Mercer, also had the ability take No.2 ranked Memphis and No.3 ranked Kansas down to the wire, losing by just four points to both team.

Date: Jan. 19
Time: 12:30 PM PT
Place: Pauley Pavilion
Radio: AM 570

(photo credit: USC athletics)


Mbah a Moute Injury Update

By Bruin Basketball Report

(courtesy of UCLA Athletic Department)

UCLA Junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has a strained right groin and will be held out of practice today (Jan. 17). Apparently, it happened late in Monday's practice, but Mbah a Moute said he practiced through the pain and again on Tuesday. It continued to bother him Wednesday (UCLA's day off), so he finally told Carrie Rubertino (athletic trainer) it was bothering him. He has now had two days of treatment and he told me this afternoon, "It feels much better today than it did yesterday. I'll be fine."

He is not expected to miss Saturday's game vs. USC at 12:37 p.m. on CBS.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Collison On The Mend, No More Wooden Autographs At Pauley

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Point-guard Darren Collison, who suffered a hip pointer injury against Washington, still feels soreness in the area but his condition is improving.

"As of right now, it feels a lot better than it did yesterday. I came in and got treatment this afternoon. At the time, it was really sore and it was sore during the Saturday game," Collison said. "It’s just something I have to get through. Coach [Ben] Howland said that I’m going to have a lot of injuries throughout my career and as long as I push through it, I’ll be fine." (see below for complete telephone interview transcript with Collison)

Collison had one of his finest games of the season against Washington State, scoring 18 points including a key driving lay-up late in the game to help UCLA hold of the Cougars.

Back-up senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real played just seven minutes against Washington State.  Howland was asked about Mata-Real's status on the team at his weekly pressor.  "He's averaging about 19 minutes a game, our second (actually third) leading rebounder, and leads us in blocked shots," Howland said. "He had a great practice yesterday. He has a significant role on the team.

Mata-Real is averaging 3.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game in his final season at UCLA.  He provides the Bruins depth at the center spot, and his experience and defensive prowess will play dividends for the team sometime down the line, especially during tournament time.

The UCLA Athletic department announced Coach John Wooden would no longer sign autographs during games.  The request is for fans to respect his privacy and to allow Coach Wooden to watch and enjoy the game.

Wooden, 97 years old, has been missing at recent Pauley Pavilion games but it does not have to do with this particular issue, instead Wooden has been feeling under the weather lately.

Current Head Coach Ben Howland said he thought the move was long overdue and actually suggested it awhile ago.  "When he comes to a game it would be nice to respect the fact that he’s there to enjoy the game," Howland said. "Everyone is so excited to see him, and you understand it - he's a living legend."

UCLA Men’s Basketball

Teleconference Quotes

January 16, 2008

Junior Point Guard Darren Collison


on his hip injury

“As of right now, it feels a lot better than it did yesterday. I came in and got treatment this afternoon. At the time, it was really sore and it was sore during the Saturday game. It’s just something I have to get through. Coach [Ben] Howland said that I’m going to have a lot of injuries throughout my career and as long as I push through it, I’ll be fine.”


on his offense improving

“I think the more games you have under your belt, the more comfortable you are in the game. I’m getting. I’m getting back to playing, but I’m also getting more rest during the games. It’s just about me getting more games under my belt. I thought I was really coming along in the


game, until I got hurt in the second half, and I really got to prove against



that I was ready.”





’s finish with seven consecutive three-pointers in the final


“I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’m just thankful we came on in the first half and put it on them. In the second half, they hit a barrage of threes and we were lucky to hold on with our free throw shooting.”


on whether or not he saw Russell Westbrook and O.J. Mayo play against each other this summer

“We all played against him. Russell [Westbrook] was on my team during the time we played him. O.J. [Mayo] is a good player. We understand what he can do. It is going to be a fun matchup. But we aren’t thinking about guarding him individually, we are looking at it more as team play.”

on going against Russell Westbrook every day in practice

“You just have to play your hardest in practice and give it your all. Russell [Westbrook] is going to do the same thing. It’s just like my freshman year against Jordan [Farmar], all you can do is try to get each other better by playing your hardest in practice. All we are trying to do is push each other and get each other better and get ready for the games.”


on the key to guarding O.J. Mayo

“I think the most important thing is to take away easy shots and try to make it hard for him. He’s going to shoot the ball and he’s going to score, but if we can limit his shooting percentage, we should be alright. We are not going to be able to stop his scoring entirely, but if we can make him take tough shots and contest every shot he takes throughout the game, then we should be cool.”

on both games with USC being very tough and close wins

“I thought last year’s SC team was very mature. With Nick Young, Gabe Pruitt and Lodrick Stewart, those are guys that had a lot more experience than in previous years. This year, they are a lot younger than last year and we are the team with the veterans. We know what to expect. It should be a close game.”


on how this year’s team has improved over last year’s

“I think we have a better inside presence. Our inside presence last year wasn’t nearly as good as this year. Lorenzo [Mata-Real] and Alfred [Aboya] really worked on their game during the offseason and along with Kevin [Love], we have a better inside presence. That presence on the inside opens up our outside for me, Josh [Shipp] and Russell [Westbrook]. I think the inside presence is a key for the season and a key for this game coming up.”

on USC’s foul tactics on Lorenzo Mata-Real last year at




“I didn’t realize what they were trying to do. After I saw Alfred [Aboya] running across the court, I figured it out. Tim Floyd is a smart coach and he’s going to try and do whatever it takes to win a game. It should be real fun and interesting to see what they are going to bring at us on Saturday.”


on how an emotional win against




helps the team

“It gives us a lot of confidence. Beating a team that was undefeated and beating them at home, it gives us a lot of confidence. We played the best game we’ve played all year against



. We had to play that way to beat a team like



. As you know,



is not a bad team. The way we played last Saturday is the way we need to play against any caliber team. We are trying to win a championship and we know we have to work hard and put effort into it like we did against




on how realistic it would be for a team to go undefeated in the Pac-10

“It’s definitely realistic, but it’s not our number one focus. Our number one focus is to beat USC. We are going to do this one game at a time. That’s how we approached it last year and that’s how we are going to approach it this year. We can’t look ahead because we know that every team in the Pac-10 is good and they can beat you on any given night. So we are going to take it one step at a time and try and give it our best against SC.”

on playing one game a week like this week and like football

“That would be great. That would be so great if we only had one game a week, but unfortunately, this is basketball and we have two or three games a week. It would make it a lot better because if we only had one game a week, we would have more time to prepare for that team and we would have more days to rest. But with two or three games a week, you don’t have a lot of preparation time and with the injuries you have, there’s not much time to rest.”

(photo credit: J Rosenfeld)


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UCLA Superlative Statistics

By Bruin Basketball Report

College basketball fans are familiar with published statistics such
as rebounds, assists, points scored, and field goal and free throw
percentage as a marker of a player's performance and contribution to
his team.

who follow UCLA Bruins basketball and know the value Head Coach Ben Howland
places on hustle, toughness, and performance under pressure will
appreciate a separate set of statistics kept by the Bruin coaching staff, a set of numbers
referred to as "Superlative Statistics".

Charges Taken
1. Alfred Aboya - 8
2. Lorenzo Mata-Real - 5
3. Kevin Love - 2
3. Darren Collison  - 2
4. Four tied with - 1
UCLA 21, Opponents 16

Dives For Loose Balls
1. Russell Westbrook - 9
2. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 8
3. Kevin Love - 6
4. Four tied with - 5
UCLA 46, Opponents 31

Second Chance Points
1. Kevin Love - 70
2. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 47
3. Lorenzo Mata-Real - 29
4. Darren Collison - 17
5. Josh Shipp  - 15
UCLA 208, Opponents 141

Points in the Paint
1. Kevin Love - 134
2. Russell Westbrook- 82
3. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 78
4. Josh Shipp  - 74
5. Darren Collison - 48
UCLA 516 Opponents 342

3-PT Plays Attempted/Made (the "old" fashion way)
1. Kevin Love - 16/13
2. Russell Westbrook - 8/5
3. Josh Shipp - 5/4
3. Darren Collison - 5/4
3. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 5/4
UCLA 39/30, Opponents 14/11

FT% Last Four Minutes in Game (more than 4 attempts)
1. Josh Shipp - 8 of 8 (1.000)
2. Russell Westbrook - 9 of 10 (.900)
3. Kevin Love - 10 of 13 (.769)
4  Darren Collison - 5 of 7 (.714)
5. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute 3 of 6 (.500)
5. Lorenzo Mata-Real 3 of 6 (.500)
UCLA 40 of 54 (.741), Opponents 19 of 23 (.826)

Control the Tip
1. Kevin Love - 4 of 5 (.800)
2. Alfred Aboya - 7 of 10 (.700)
3. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute 0 of 1 (.000)
UCLA 11 of 16 (.688), Opponents 5 of 16 (.312)

Source: UCLA Athletic Department (through 1/12/07)

(photo credit: J Rosenfeld)


No Love Lost For UCLA, No Thanks To NCAA

By Bill Dwyre
Los Angeles Times

[reprinted with permission]

UCLA was required to investigate legal contact between Wooden and Kevin Love, the latest example of NCAA's lack of common sense.

This is about a tempest in a teapot, a condition found frequently in the silly bureaucracy of the NCAA.

Just before the start of this college basketball season, UCLA received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA, seeking information about possible illegal contact between a recruit and a person representing the interests of the university.

The recruit was Kevin Love, now the Bruins' star freshman center.

The person representing the interests of the university was John Wooden.

The NCAA has not disclosed who made the complaint.

Love and his family visited Wooden during his recruiting trip. They had a nice chat, Wooden teased the Loves' young daughter, Emily, for being so quiet, and a nice time was had by all.

Recently, Stan Love, Kevin's father, said that Kevin was so impressed when he had a chance to talk to Wooden that he considers him "the smartest man I've ever met."

That puts Kevin in a group of several million of us who know Wooden, have met him or had a chance to hear him speak.

The Kevin Love-Wooden connection got a little play in some publications, including this one, and that apparently prompted either a fan or an official of another school to send some sort of complaint to the NCAA.

Here's where it really gets fun. The NCAA, apparently shrugging off common sense and going with protocol, procedures and robot-ism, actually wrote a letter of inquiry to UCLA, requiring the school to investigate.

Conjure up images here of an empty room, a single table and three chairs, one good cop and one bad cop, each dressed in a blue suit and comfortable shoes, hovering over an aging man as he squints into a hot overhead spotlight.

"Awright, buddy," says Bad Cop, "we know you promised the kid weekly poem readings. Fess up."

Followed by Good Cop, turning down the spotlight and saying, "John, John. Ignore him. We know how these things happen. It's so easy to have those poem readings turn into promises to get him into that special psychology class. We know you can't help yourself."

UCLA's investigation, under the guidance of compliance director Rich Herczog, clearly didn't need to be that severe. Matter of fact, it was easy. Wooden, as a paid consultant to the school, is permitted to meet with recruits.

But let's say he had no official status with UCLA, other than being its greatest living example of humanity. Then the NCAA could have agreed that he was a person illegally representing the interests of the school in the recruitment of Love and actually penalize the Bruins.

Think about this.

Even though we know better every time we read about big bowl money and the latest zillion-dollar TV network basketball tournament contract, does not the NCAA purport to exist for the betterment of the educational experience? What better educational opportunity anywhere than to meet and talk to John Wooden?

Another thing. If Wooden had the time, health and youth to do so, he would spend just as much time imparting his wisdom to a tuba player from Occidental as he would to a 6-foot-10 center. If Wooden talked to Love and didn't think UCLA would be a good fit, he would have told him not to come, to go somewhere else, to join a rock band. Whatever.

Wooden is 97 years old. He loves UCLA, but he is driven by only three things: family, truth and integrity. Bruins loyalty would be a distant fourth.

Even if Wooden hadn't been official and legal when he chatted with Kevin Love and his family, who cares? It's John Wooden, for Pete's sake. Is there nobody at the NCAA who can think and reason and insert logic into their 14,434-page rule book?

Right now, confusion remains, which is grossly unfair for a freshman trying to lead his team back to the NCAA Final Four. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero and Coach Ben Howland think it is OK for Love to have any contact he wants with Wooden. Others at the school may not be so sure. Herczog's final e-mail to the NCAA, sent a week ago with answers to all questions, has not received a response. It is a situation in limbo.

The school, which wasn't the source for this column, just wanted all this to slip under the radar. Columnists don't care if the NCAA gets mad at them. Schools do.

Stan Love is under the impression, hopefully incorrect, that his son can't talk to Wooden right now. His son, who played the kind of game against Washington State on Saturday that could move him up several notches in the next NBA draft, used the occasion to tell Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Daily News that "Coach Wooden says to be your best when your best is needed. And I think we did that when we were needed today."

Two calls to the NCAA on Monday, both specifying the nature of the inquiry, went unreturned. They were busy making new rules, presumably.

The thought occurred to call Wooden and see if he even knew about all this, but logic says you don't bother a 97-year-old man with foolishness.

When Wooden attends games at Pauley Pavilion -- sadly fewer and fewer these days -- Lorenzo Mata-Real, Love's backup center, likes to go over to his seat and greet him.

Expect an NCAA investigation soon.

Bill Dwyre can be reached at


Monday, January 14, 2008

UCLA Moves Up To No.4 In Rankings

By Bruin Basketball Report

See weekly changes in UCLA rankings

With victories over both Washington and Washington State at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins (16-1, 4-0) took a step up to No.4 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls this week.

The Cougars dropped from their perch at No.4 down to No.8 in the polls.

The top three teams above UCLA are all undefeated at this time; North Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas, respectively.

Arizona State (13-2, 3-0) moved into the top 25 for the first time since the 1994-95 season. Coach Herb Sendek's young team is one-half game behind UCLA in the Pac-10 race. The Sun Devils beat intrastate rival Arizona last week, 64-59.

Freshman James Harden has sparked Arizona State in the early going. The former Artesia high school phenom is averaging 18.2 points on 54.9% field goal shooting.

No other Pac-10 teams are ranked, both Arizona and Stanford fall out of the polls after suffering setbacks last week.

UCLA has been steadily climbing the RPI ladder since beginning Pac-10 play. The Bruins are No.6 in the RPI ranking and currently possess the No.25 top strength of schedule (SOS) in the nation.

BBR Notes: Center Kevin Love was named the U.S. Bank Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 7 - 13.

For the week, Love shot 12-18 (.667) from the field, 3-of-5 (.600) from three-point range, 11-of-14 (.786) from the free throw line and averaged 19.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. This is the second weekly honor for Love and UCLA's 47th Player of the Week all-time.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (1/14)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Drew Gordon, the 6-foot-9 UCLA recruit, learned Tuesday the extent of a foot injury that has hindered him for two weeks. An MRI exam revealed significant trauma to the second metatarsal in his right foot. Too much strain could cause a fracture. The injury should keep Gordon out of action for two weeks - at least six games - Mitty Coach Brian Eagleson said. He described Gordon as "very disappointed." Eagleson said Mitty has consulted with UCLA's medical staff and both sides agree that Mitty's season takes precedence, meaning UCLA is not dictating treatment with next season in mind or putting pressure on Gordon or Eagleson to limit playing time. Gordon couldn't recall a specific moment when he suffered the injury. However, he did get up Dec. 27, the morning after the first game of the Les Schwab Invitational in Hillsboro, Ore., and fell to the floor. "I thought, 'Oh boy, it's a good thing I signed,' " Gordon said. X-rays failed to find a stress fracture and Gordon was cleared to play by doctors, who thought the injury might have been a deep bone bruise. The only limitation, they said, was how much pain Gordon was willing to bear. Mercury News 1/9

The 2008 Pangos Dream Classic will be held on Saturday January 19, 2008 at UCLA Pauley Pavilion (Los Angeles CA). This 14th annual high school basketball event (hosted by Dominguez HS) will showcase six of California's and the nation's top boys high school squads, including the nation's #1 junior Derrick Favors and Top 10 all-americans like seniors DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday and junior Jordan Hamilton. Full Court Press 1/9

MODESTO CHRISTIAN 76, HUGHSON 44, at Modesto Christian -- Reeves Nelson followed his 52-point, 28-rebound performance Saturday night with 25 points and 22 rebounds for the Crusaders (8-3, 3-0 TVL) in their blowout victory over the Huskies (6-3, 0-2). Modesto Bee 1/9

2009 recruit Reeves Nelson of Modesto Christian High School verbally committed to UCLA last evening, as reported by Rise Magazine and confirmed today by multiple recruiting services. The junior 6'7, 220 lb forward is ranked as one of the top 30 players nationally in his recruiting class. Nelson had multiple offers from elite programs including, North Carolina, Duke, and Kentucky, but he decided on Westwood due to the coaching staff, team's history of success, and proximity to home. Bruin Basketball Report 1/10

Alta Loma High School couldn't face-guard Kendall Williams while he was shooting free throws. With more than a little help from his friends, the Los Osos guard committed to UCLA won the battle of the sophomores, scoring 13 of his 21 points from the free throw line in the Grizzlies' 69-62 victory over the Braves on Friday night at Los Osos High.Williams hit five free throws down the stretch to ice the game for Los Osos, the only miss out of his 14 attempts coming with 21 seconds to play and a seven-point lead. "Kendall (Williams) got a little frustrated against Etiwanda, but he didn't let them get to him tonight with the face-guarding and trying to keep the ball out of his hands," Smith said. "He has to deal with the pressure of taking everybody's best shot every night. With all the publicity he's gotten, people are trying to make their name against him." San Bernardino County Sun 1/11

Like many 17-year-olds, Jrue Holiday does not answer his cell phone. "You can ask my friends," he said. "I don't talk on the phone." But send him a text message, and he will reply within seconds. So when college coaches wanted to catch the attention of Holiday, one of the best basketball players in the Class of 2008, they did not bother calling. "They'd text me," said Holiday, a senior at Campbell Hall in North Hollywood, Calif., who is planning to attend UCLA. "Like, 'How you doing? How you been playing?'"It showed me that they wanted me." Still, all that attention came with a price. After coaches inundated him, Holiday had to change his cell phone plan to one that offered unlimited text messaging. CNET 1/12

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC 59, MODESTO CHRISTIAN 57, at Lexington, Ky. -- Reeves Nelson scored 23 points, but the Crusaders blew a 37-26 halftime lead and fell to the Flying Knights in the Nissan on Nicholasville Shootout. Modesto Bee 1/13


Once San Diego got rolling, it was nearly unstoppable, racing to a 52-36 victory in the Eastern League basketball opener for both clubs. “We were excited to play at home – maybe too excited,” said 6-foot-11¾ sophomore post Jeremy Tyler, whose 15 points shared the scoring lead with Tacoma, Wash., transfer Patrick McCollum. Union Tribune 1/9

Dons pull out a 67-63 victory over Gahr in each team's San Gabriel Valley League opener Wednesday night at Dominguez High.... Jordan Hamilton added 22 points, 16 rebounds and five assists for the Dons (12-2, 1-0). Press Telegram 1/10

At this moment, Renardo Sidney is a much better player than Jeremy Tyler. Other than explosiveness off the floor, Sidney is better in every aspect of the game. He is a better shooter, ball handler, passer, rebounder and even defender. In terms of upside, Tyler might have a higher ceiling because of his explosiveness. Sidney looked an inch, if not two inches, taller and has a higher level of body control at this point. Both are elite talents with room to grow emotionally, mentally and skill-wise. For Tyler to become a better player than Sidney, he has a lot of ground to make up in these three areas, the most being skill level. Rivals 1/10

Stephan Van Treese added 11 points in a spirited but abbreviated effort to pace Lawrence North (10-2), which advanced to the tournament final at 7:30 tonight at Southport against 4A No. 5 Warren Central (11-1). The Warriors defeated North Central 54-47 in Friday's opener. "We played great team defense in the second half, and that meant everything," said Jones, crediting Van Treese -- who converted two free throws, a crowd-inciting rebound dunk and a fast-break three-point play in the first 1:12 of the fourth quarter -- with jump-starting the decisive blitz. "When Stephan plays like that, that fires everybody up, including the fans," Jones said. "It turned the whole game around." Indy Star 1/12

What the Irish did have, though, was a steady performance that gave McGuinness the tournament championship with a 58-42 win over Class 6A's No. 4-ranked Edmond Santa Fe....Daniel Orton just missed a triple-double, with 18 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks. Oklahoman 1/13

Renardo Sidney isn't ready to choose a college yet, but he did offer UCLA fans some hope. As he sat courtside at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday waiting for the UCLA-Washington State game to begin, the coveted Los Angeles Fairfax High junior said he does not intend to go anywhere outside California. "That's a hint for you," Sidney said. "I love it here too much to leave." UCLA is one of dozens of schools recruiting Sidney, but the Bruins have not offered the 6-foot-10 big man a scholarship yet even though many recruiting services rank him as the nation's top prospect in the class of 2009. Questions about Sidney's attitude, work ethic and conditioning have dogged him even after leading Artesia High to a state title last year before transferring to Fairfax this fall. "People say I'm lazy or whatever, but how can you be lazy scoring 30 points a game?" Sidney said. "Right now my conditioning is where I want it to be, and I'm working hard to keep it that way." Sidney, a Mississippi native, is also being recruited by Ohio State, Florida and Texas, among others. A group of UCLA students made it clear they hope Sidney dons a Bruins uniform one day by chanting his name before tip-off. Sidney acknowledged the cheer with a pump of his right fist. Then he spoke glowingly about the UCLA program. "I really like UCLA," he said. "I like the way they're an up-tempo team. They get the ball inside well and they play defense well. It's definitely a great program." Press Enterprise 1/12

Christ School 68, Providence Day: Four Christ School players scored in double figures, and the Greenies moved to 17-1 Friday. Miles Plumlee led the attack with 16 points. Lakeem Jackson added 13 points, and Mason Plumlee had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Citizen Times 1/12

(photo credit Modesto Bee)