Saturday, March 01, 2008

Coach Wooden Resting Comfortably In Hospital

By Bruin Basketball Report

Coach John Wooden, is doing well on his second day in a local hospital. The name of the hospital is being withheld at the request of the family.

Coach Wooden, 97, was hospitalized on Friday with a hairline fracture of his left wrist and a fractured left collarbone he sustained in a fall in his condo on Thursday night. His wrist is in a cast and his arm will have to be in a sling when he leaves the hospital.

Nan Muehlhausen, Coach Wooden’s daughter, said her father was in good spirits and doing well on Saturday afternoon. He has had visits from numerous family members, including son Jim, who saw his father this morning.

“Dad is doing well. He had a good night, his vital signs are good and his spirits are good. He has been joking around with the family,” said Muehlhausen.

“We anticipate he will in the hospital until Monday. Dad has had a couple of blood transfusions because the doctors found he was anemic, but the transfusions will take care of that and Dad will be fine. We expect him to make a full recovery.”

Muehlhausen again requested that people not attempt to call or visit the hospital so that Coach Wooden can rest.


Friday, February 29, 2008

UCLA vs. Arizona - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

No.4 ranked UCLA looks for a series sweep against Arizona when it takes on the Wildcats in a Sunday afternoon contest at McKale Center in Tucson.

The Bruins (25-3, 13-2) sit atop the Pac-10 conference one game ahead of Stanford. They have won four straight, including a rout of Arizona State on Thursday night, 70-49. UCLA shot 50% on three-pointers against the Sun Devils. Junior Shipp snapped out of an 0 for 20 shooting slump from long distance, hitting 4 of 8 from beyond the arc in the win.

Fighting for a No.1 or No.2 seed in the West, UCLA needs to continue its winning ways down the stretch and beyond into the Pac-10 tournament.

In the last game between the two teams in early February, UCLA handed Arizona its worst loss of the season, 82-60. The Bruins dominated inside, scoring 52 of their points in the paint. UCLA out-rebounded Arizona by 14 rebounds.

A perennial winner over the past two decades under Coach Lute Olson, Arizona (17-11, 7-8) has struggled this season. Coach Olson decided to take a leave of absence prior to the start of the season and assistant Kevin O'Neill was named interim coach in his place.

The Wildcats are fighting for a berth in the NCAA postseason tournament and needs to do well in the final two weeks of the regular season and Pac-10 tournament to ensure an invitation to the big dance. Arizona was dealt a major setback when it lost to USC on Thursday night at McKale Center, 70-58

One problem this year for Arizona has been its lack of depth on the roster. The Wildcats lack depth at every position on the floor, including at point-guard with Nic Wise out six weeks with a knee injury.

Four Wildcat players average 30 minutes of playing time per game with three of them averaging over 35 minutes.

Arizona likes to open up the floor on offense and score in transition. In the halfcourt set they are best when they penetrate and kick out to the open shooter. The Wildcats are an excellent three-point shooting team, leading the Pac-10 in three-point shooting percentage at almost 40%.

The Wildcats average 71.8 points per game on 48.1% shooting while allowing opponents 67.1 points on 44.7% field goal shooting.

On defense, Coach Kevin O'Neil has tried to transition his team to a tougher brand of man-to-man defense, but often times this season the Wildcats have reverted back to a zone defense as they did against UCLA in the first meeting.

Freshman sensation Jarryd Bayless (6'3, 199, Fr) leads the team in scoring with 20.6 points per game. Bayless has the ability to take his defender off the dribble with his quickness or hit from long distance. He's shooting 42.6% on three-pointers.

In a key match-up UCLA's Russell Westbrook will take on Bayless. He did a good job checking Bayless in the first meeting, denying him the ball and holding him to just 13 points.

Sophomore forward Chase Budinger (6'7, 203, So) is averaging 17.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. More of a catch-and-shoot offensive player, he has had difficulty when defenders force him to put the ball on the floor daring him to beat them off the dribble.

Budinger will be shadowed most of the game by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute has the speed and size to bother a player like Budinger. Budinger was just 4 of 12 for 9 points against UCLA in the previous game.

At center for the Wildcats is Jordan Hill (6'10, 226, So) who has been one of the most improved players in the conference this season. A tough and solid player down low on both ends of the court, Hill is averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds a game.

Hill has developed an array of short range shots, shooting almost 60% from the field. In the last meeting, Hill did not guard Kevin Love for most of the game, instead he served as a weakside-help defender to take advantage of his shot-blocking abilities. The Wildcats opted to guard Love with 6'6, 235 lb forward Fendi Onobun.

At the other guard spot is Jawann McClellan (6'4, 204, Sr). The senior guard is averaging 9.0 points and 40.0% from beyond the arc.

McClellan is a very physical backcourt player who can also take the ball to the hoop. This will be a good match-up for UCLA's Josh Shipp who has the speed and physicality to guard McClellan.

Freshman Jamelle Horne and senior Daniel Dillon combine to primarily play the final wing spot on the floor.

It hasn't been a stellar season for the "other freshman" on the team - Jamelle Horne. He's averaging just 3.1 points on 42.9% shooting. Dillon is more of a defensive specialist than a scorer, he's averaging 2.4 points on an anemic 37% shooting.

UCLA broke out of its mini-shooting slump against Arizona State on Thursday night and look to continue the positive trend into the tournament.

In what used to be a marquee match-up between UCLA and Arizona, the game between these two teams has lost some of its luster, mainly due to UCLA's domination over the Wildcats the past three seasons.

The Bruins are building momentum as they head into March and beyond while the Wildcats are still looking for some consistency.

UCLA looks like overwhelming favorites to win the game in Tucson, but the Wildcats will be playing in front of a large home crowd, and one just needs to look to the Washington contest in Seattle to realize how far home court advantage can take a team.

UCLA vs Arizona
Date: Sunday, March 2
Time: 1:00 PM PT
Place: Tucson, AZ
Radio: AM 1150

(photo credit: UA Athletics)


Wooden Hospitalized After Fall At Home

By the Associated Press

John Wooden broke his left wrist and collarbone in a fall, leaving the former UCLA basketball coach hospitalized Friday.

Daughter Nan Muehlhausen said the 97-year-old Wooden fell in his condominium Thursday night. She said Wooden was resting comfortably in a hospital and visited with family members throughout the day.

"Dad's spirits are good," Muehlhausen said in a statement. "He is up and joking around with the family. He will probably be in the hospital for a couple of more days before he goes home."

John Wooden, 97, fell in his condo Thursday night, breaking his wrist and collarbone.

Wooden has a hairline fracture in his wrist and a fractured collarbone. He also hit his head, but a CT scan of his head and neck were negative.

The family didn't release the name of the hospital.

"We appreciate everyone's concern, but we are requesting that people do not call the hospital and do not try to visit Dad at this time," Muehlhausen said.

Wooden coached the Bruins to an unsurpassed 10 NCAA championships in the 1960s and '70s, including consecutive titles from 1967-73. His teams also had an 88-game winning streak.

"The entire UCLA community wishes Coach Wooden a speedy recovery," current Bruins coach Ben Howland said Friday night in Tucson, Ariz. "We are glad that his injuries are not more serious, and we look forward to seeing him when we return to Los Angeles."

Wooden, still an active presence around UCLA, gets around using a cane and Muehlhausen usually accompanies him. School officials last month asked fans not to bother him at games, because autograph-seekers had been lining up near his seat behind the Bruins' bench.

He was hospitalized for several days last April after having symptoms similar to those he had a year earlier, when he had to spend time in the hospital with diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets in the colon. But doctors decided that his problem last year was a reaction to a combination of medications, including one for arthritis.

Wooden retired with a 620-147 record in 27 years at UCLA, where his stars included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich.

He announced during the 1975 NCAA Tournament that he would retire after the championship game. The Bruins gave him a going-away present; they won the title game against Kentucky.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bruins Shoot Down Sun Devils For 25th Win

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

UCLA spent the first fifteen minutes of its game in Tempe figuring out how to score against Arizona State's 3-2 zone, while the Sun Devils just seemed satisfied to be hanging close with the No.4 team in the nation.

At the end, the Bruins (25-3, 13-2) pulled away for their 25th victory of the season and Arizona State (17-10, 7-8) was left to ponder whether they had let their chance for a big upset slip away from them.

Josh Shipp broke out of his prolonged shooting slump in a big way, playing perhaps his best all-around offensive game of the season. The red-shirt junior scored 17 points on 4 of 8 shooting from beyond the arc - breaking a 0 for 20 three-point shooting slump. Shipp also dished out a game-high 8 assists.

Guard Darren Collison was 5 of 6 from long distance and added 17 points, and freshman Kevin Love finished with his 17th double-double of the season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

The Bruins came out flat to start the game and struggled to score against the Sun Devils' aggressive match-up zone scheme. However, Arizona State matched the Bruins' offensive futility by missing numerous open shots from the perimeter.

By the time the game clock had ticked down to the five minute mark in the first half, the score was tied at a Coors Field baseball score of 11-11, but then Darren Collison hit a three-pointer to start a 10-2 UCLA run and the team surged ahead, 21-13.

Collison scored 12 points in the first-half to pace the Bruins, including a three-point buzzer-beating shot to give UCLA a 29-18 halftime lead. Collison had stumbled while receiving a length of the court pass but was able to regain his balance to hit the long distance shot.

The late basket by Collison seemed to deflate the Sun Devils' confidence going into the locker room as the players and coaches all seemed to realize they had squandered away their chance to upset the nationally ranked Bruins.

UCLA looked to put the Sun Devils away quickly in the second half, going on a 8-2 run to go ahead by 17 points in the opening minutes of the half.

But then the Bruins started getting sloppy in the open court, wasting two easy transition baskets with blown slam dunk opportunities - of the hot dog variety. Coupled with some hot three-point shooting from Sun Devil Latvian guard Rihards Kuksiks , the Sun Devils narrowed the lead to 14 and began to gather some momentum as the home crowd began sensing a rally.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland wasn't about to let the game get any closer.

After a quick timeout and some icy stares from their coach, the Bruins came back onto the court and turned up the defensive pressure on the young Sun Devils, forcing turnovers and pushing the lead back to as large as 22 points. UCLA never looked back again.

Russell Westbrook added 14 points to the Bruins' final total and helped spark the second half defense with 4 steals. Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute blanketed Arizona State's leading scorer, James Harden, limiting the freshman to only 11 points on 4 of 10 shooting.

UCLA shot 49% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc, while holding Arizona State to just 40.9% field goal shooting. The Bruins also shot 12 of 13 from the foul line for 92.3%.

Led by Kevin Love, UCLA dominated Arizona State on the boards, 33 to 19.

The Bruins look for their fifth straight victory when they take on the Arizona Wildcats in a Sunday afternoon affair in Tucson. Arizona (17-11, 7-8) lost its Thursday night home game to USC, 70-58.

BBR Notes: UCLA will honor the Men's Basketball 1968 NCAA Champions at halftime of the California game on March 8. The 40th anniversary celebration of the title will include a ceremony honoring former players and legendary head coach John Wooden.

(photo credit: AP)


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

UCLA vs. Arizona State - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

No.4 ranked UCLA travels to Tempe on Thursday night to face the Arizona State Sun Devils to start its last road trip of the regular season.

Going into this week the Bruins (24-3, 12-2) lead the Pac-10 by a full game over the Stanford Cardinal. UCLA swept both Oregon schools at Pauley Pavilion last week.

The Sun Devils (17-9, 7-7) are tied for fifth with Arizona in the conference race and are vying for an invitation to the NCAA postseason tournament. No doubt Coach Herb Sendek and his team realize a signature win over a top-ranked team like UCLA would go far in the selection committee's decision.

In the two team's first meeting at Pauley Pavilion in January, UCLA routed the Sun Devils, 84-51. The Bruins picked apart Arizona State's zone, making the extra pass to an open teammate for easy scores. The Sun Devils were slow in their rotations and the Bruins made them pay, shooting a deadly 8 of 12 for 67% on three-pointers.

Arizona State lost on the road to Washington State, 59-47, last Thursday but then rebounded to beat Washington, 77-63, on Saturday in Seattle.

Since the arrival of Coach Sendek, Arizona State has blossomed into a solid defensive squad. They utilize an aggressive 3-2 match-up zone and play the passing lanes aggressively.

The Sun Devils allow just over 61 points a game on a stingy 40.9% shooting. They force teams to shoot over their zone or make them take tough low percentage shots against their aggressive interior defense.

Arizona State fields a young squad with three freshmen in the starting line-up.

James Harden (6'5, 210, Fr) is leading the team in scoring with 18.0 points per game. A crafty player with a quick first step, Harden can take an opponent off the dribble or beat him from outside, he is shooting 52.6% from the field and 41.3% from beyond the arc.

The left-handed freshman guard leads the team with 50 steals and is second on the team in assists and rebounds.

In the first match-up against UCLA, Russell Westbrook held Harden to just 9 points on 2 of 6 shooting, and he'll try to keep the wraps on Harden again in Tempe.

Freshman Ty Abbott (6'4, 195, Fr) starts at one wing. He struggled a bit midseason, perhaps hitting the proverbial freshman wall, but he's come on strong lately. Against California two weeks ago, Abbott scored a career-high 30 points including 8 of 13 on three-pointers.

If the Sun Devils expect to have any chance against the Bruins on Thursday, Abbott will need to have a similar performance. He is averaging 10.4 points a game on 41% field goal shooting and over 37% on three-pointers.

Abbott will be matched up against UCLA's Josh Shipp who needs to do a good job closing out on the young Sun Devil sharpshooter.

At another wing is native Latvian, Rihards Kuksiks (6'6, 205, Fr). Kuksiks stepped into the the starting line-up in place of Jerren Shipp (6'3, 214, So) a few games ago. He has an excellent feel for the game and gives the Sun Devils another solid three-point threat and a little more size on the floor.

Kuksiks is shooting almost 40% from the three-point line. Over the last four games, he is averaging 11.0 points including ten three-point field goals made.

Junior center Jeff Pendergraph (6'10, 230, Jr) is second on the team in scoring with 12.7 per game and is the leading rebounder at 6.7. Pendergraph is a good low post scorer at possesses a solid midrange jumper.

Pendergraph has the ability to be an impact player on both ends of the court, but at times, as a result of his unselfishness, he can disappear on the court.

In the loss against UCLA, Pendergraph only recorded 6 points and 1 rebound matched-up against Kevin Love, while Love went for 20 and 10 against Arizona State.

At point guard for the Sun Devils is steady Derek Glasser (6'1, 180, So) who is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 assists a game. Freshman Jamelle McMillan (6'2, 180) had started most of the season at point but has struggled of late and now is the back-up.

The Sun Devils have a solid bench. In addition to McMillan and Shipp, they also have transfer Eric Boateng (6'10, 245, So) and Antwi Atuahene (6'3, 205, Sr) in reserve.

While Arizona State is fighting hard for a spot in the tournament, the Bruins are looking for more consistency in preparation for the postseason. Josh Shipp is looking to end his slump from the three-point area where he has missed his last 20 attempts.

Sophomore reserve forward Nikola Dragovic is questionable for the game, he strained his groin muscle in practice earlier this week.

(photo credit: ASU Athletics)


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Repetition Key to Shipp's Shooting Improvement

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

At UCLA's weekly media conference, Coach Ben Howland commented on junior Josh Shipp's recent shooting woes and took some responsibility for it.

"I'm really confident Josh is going to get it going again," Howland said. "Some of his shooting problems is due to my poor coaching. He wasn't doing enough repetitions and shooting is all about repetition. I had him come in this morning and today he made 200 out of 285 shots."

Coach Howland stated part of the reason he doesn't normally work on shooting more often at practices, especially late in the season, is out of concern of wearing player's legs out, especially for starters who have logged major minutes this season.

"We didn’t practice yesterday. Our guys lifted and did some biking and that’s always good to try and get two days off, especially this time of year," Howland said.

Moreover, he felt perhaps Luc Richard Mbah a Moute may had inadvertently benefited from the rest he got from being injured the past two weeks.

"The long season takes a lot out of you and your body takes a physical pounding," Howland said. "I thought Luc benefited from being out 13 days with his injury, he seems to have gotten his legs back."

Howland was unhappy with the team's foul shooting performance against Oregon over the weekend, the Bruins made only 9 of 18 from the line for 50% - although he did state this year's team has been one of his best foul shooting teams. In conference play, the Bruins are making 76.2% of their foul shots. Howland said free throw shooting would certainly be a focus in practice.

Earlier this week, Nikola Dragovic strained a groin muscle and did not practice yesterday. Coach Howland was uncertain if Dragovic would practice tomorrow. His status for Thursday's game against Arizona State is unknown.

Coach Howland was impressed with the play of Lorenzo Mata-Real last week against both Oregon schools, and definitely forsees playing Mata-Real and Love together on the floor for some minutes, especially against bigger lineups such as in upcoming games against California and Stanford.

(photo credit: AP)


Monday, February 25, 2008

UCLA Rises To No.4 In Latest Polls

By Bruin Basketball Report

A sweep over both Oregon schools coupled with key losses by Duke and Kansas last week helped propel UCLA to a No.4 ranking in both national polls this week.  Both the Blue Devils and Jayhawks fell out of the Top 5.

The Bruins (24-3, 12-2)routed Oregon State, 84-49, and followed it up with a tough 75-65 win over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.   

This week's polls crowned a new No.1 after the Tennessee Volunteers upset previously undefeated Memphis over the weekend, 66-62, in an epic battle between No.1 and No.2.

Besides UCLA, the Pac-10 was represented in both polls by Stanford (22-4, 11-3) at No.8 and Washington State (21-6, 9-6) at No.22.

UCLA's RPI ranking dropped this week despite two wins to No.9 fom No.7.  Its SOS, strength of schedule, also took a hit as a result of playing lowly Oregon State at home, dropping to No.38 from No.21.

The Bruins travel to the desert this week to face Arizona State on Thursday and the Wildcats of Arizona on Saturday.

Complete Associated Press Poll (AP)
Complete Coaches ESPN/USA Today Poll
Complete Ken Pomeroy RPI Ranking
2007-08 UCLA Rankings Weekly Changes


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (2/25)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


While Central Catholic is king in football, the basketball court has been ruled by MC for years. Neither Central Catholic nor anyone else in D-IV has an answer for 6-foot-7-inch junior Reeves Nelson and 6-2 senior guard D.J. Seeley. They combine for 46 points a game and said they're going to UCLA (Nelson) and Cal (Seeley). Modesto Bee 2/20

Two members from UCLA's 2008 elite freshmen class, Jrue Holiday and Malcolm Lee, have been named to the McDonald's All-American team. BBR 2/20

The Crusaders' quickness overwhelmed Central's backcourt, as the Raiders often struggled to get the ball upcourt and had 10 turnovers in the first quarter. Central played physical inside, putting a body on 6-7 Reeves Nelson every time he entered the key, and it worked for a while. But Nelson (15 points) blossomed in the second half, throwing down three rim-rattling dunks. Modesto Bee 2/21

Canyon senior guard Jerime Anderson went to the bench early in the second period after he picked up his second foul. It occurred at the 7:31 mark and came after he had scored 12 points in the first period. The UCLA-bound Anderson was reinserted into the game with 1:23 remaining in the second period and quickly made up for lost time as he scored seven of his game-high 24 points in less than a minute, and Canyon coasted from there to a 79-48 victory over Peninsula of Palos Verdes on Tuesday night in the second round of the CIF-SS Division I-A playoffs. OC Register 2/21

Two days after the selections were unveiled for the McDonald's All-American Game, the rosters for the seventh annual Jordan  Classic were announced live on ESPNU Thursday night. And for anyone who's seen the McDonald's rosters, there will be a lot of familiar names in this one....Two players who likely would have made the McDonald's cut had they not battled injuries all year were selected for the Jordan Classic: Delvon Roe of St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), who has been out for the year with microfracture surgery, and Drew Gordon of Archbishop Mitty, who has missed more than half the season with a broken bone in his foot. Even if they can't play, they'll be able to enjoy the honor of being chosen. Plenty of those great players reside in the backcourt, led by Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) playmaker Brandon Jennings. Joining him at the point will be New York native Kemba Walker of Rice (New York, N.Y.) and Malcolm Lee of J.W. North (Riverside, Calif.). Shooting guards include Tyreke Evans of American Christian (Aston, Pa.), Jrue Holiday of Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.) Rise Magazine 2/21

Campbell Hall's Jrue Holiday scored 17 in the first half and was 10-of-10 at the free throw line. The 6-4 senior came into the game as the leading scorer for the Vikings and they leaned on him in the first half as the Knight zone defense gave Campbell Hall trouble. Santa Maria Times 2/23

Senior forward Dominic Tiger-Cortes, noted for his scoring ability, forced McDonald's All-American and UCLA recruit Malcolm Lee to travel with 2.8 seconds left and Glendora withstood a furious fourth-quarter Huskies rally for a 58-56 victory and a spot in the divisional semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons. SGV Tribune 2/23

MC, which has regularly pounded lesser foes in the playoffs over the last decade, did it again with a 90-41 win over Argonaut in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinals. Reeves Nelson scored 26 points and Daniel Lemburg had 24, including four 3-pointers, to lead MC (25-4) to a 16th consecutive win and a trip to Wednesday's semifinal at Tokay High. Modesto Bee 2/23


Renaissance scored the first 21 points of the quarter and pulled away for a 70-48 victory over host Notre Dame....Center Anthony Stover and guard Justin Cook then took over for Thomas. The pair scored the next 16 points and the Wildcats had breathing room and a spot in the division semifinals for the second consecutive year. Pasadena Star News 2/20

Led by junior Brendan Lane, listed at 6-foot-10, the Thunder rolled in every quarter, just failing to hit 20 in every period with its 19-point bench-heavy effort in the fourth quarter. The hosts also showed why the DDM system works for them, because when the drive was made and the ball inevitably kicked out to a shooter, a good shooter was found. The Thunder knocked home 10 3-pointers, including a pair by the big man Lane, who poured in 34 dominating points. Times Herald 2/21

Some of the top talents from across the country will be on hand for the action as well as a few international prospects. The tournament boasts one of the most highly sought after international prospects in the 2008 class Ater Majok who will play with Heat Academy out of Virginia. The 6-10, 220-pound forward has been attending American International School in Carlingsford, Australia, but recently joined the Heat Academy squad. Over the last year Majok has become a hot commodity with offers pouring in from Baylor, Uconn, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA, and West Virginia. He committed to Baylor following an August visit but backed off that commitment and is now favoring UConn along with the Baylor Bears.  Scarlet Nation 2/21

Milton Jennings of Pinewood Prep is at the head of the class for 2009 basketball prospects in South Carolina. Jennings, who averages 21 points and 11 rebounds per game this season, has an offer list that includes Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown, UCLA and Connecticut. “He’s strongly considering Clemson,” said Rufus McDonald, Jennings’ guardian, mentor and AAU coach. “They have a good shot. He also likes Georgetown a great deal, and UCLA. South Carolina is not totally ruled out, but they are working from behind.”  The State 2/21

Jordan Hamilton scored 26 points and Myron Green added 13 to lead No. 1 Dominguez (25-2) to a 65-60 victory over La Mirada in the second round of the Southern Section I-AA playoffs. The Dons now face JSerra, a 63-54 winner over Thousand Oaks, Friday in the quarters. LA Wave 2/21

Renardo Sidney picked a good time to play like the player he says he is, a top-shelf national talent capable of carrying a team at the high school level and ruining the ambitions of opponents....Sidney's jumper from the top of the key with two seconds to play handed Fairfax a 55-53 victory in an L.A. City Section boys basketball semifinal Friday night at the Galen Center, capping a spree in which he scored 12 of his 32 points in the final two minutes.  Daily Breeze 2/23

ROCKLIN 66, PITMAN 50, at Rocklin -- The top-seeded Thunder (27-2) hit nine 3-pointers and 6-10 Brendan Lane scored 18 points to run past the Pride (18-9). Pitman shocked the Thunder out of the gate, leading 16-4 after a quarter, but Rocklin was up 49-42 after three quarters. Modesto Bee 2/23

Last week, the father of the nation's top-ranked high school junior, power forward Renardo Sidney of Los Angeles, said WSU is one of six schools his son is considering. And DeAngelo Casto, a senior post player for unbeaten Ferris of Spokane, said the Cougars, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington continue to show interest. Seattle PI 2/24

(photo credit: Santa Maria Times)


UCLA Needs Shipp To Keep Shooting

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

One doesn't need to look at box scores of the past games to figure out whether Josh Shipp is in a shooting slump.

Just look at his body language on the court.

The swagger Shipp normally carries onto the floor is missing.

Against Oregon, Shipp attempted just a single three-point shot, and even then, one could see the slight hesitation before he cocked to let the ball go.

Anyone watching the shot's trajectory knew the ball was going wayward, but the problem for Josh Shipp is that he knew the shot was going to miss before he even took it.

Confidence is everything in shooting, especially if you're a rhythm shooter like Shipp.

In his last six games, Shipp is 0 for 20 from beyond the arc. Before his recent shooting woes, he was making almost 40% of his three-point shot attempts.

Moreover, Shipp's 154 three-point attempts are almost three times more than the next Bruin.

But before UCLA fans start to, yeah I'll say it, jump Shipp, they have to realize this team will not go very far in the NCAA tournament without him.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland obviously knows this better than anyone else, and is allowing Shipp to work through his recent shooting woes. Despite struggling with his shot, Shipp played 35 minutes against the Ducks on Saturday.

Howland realizes, come tourney time, the play gets rougher inside and the paint gets smaller.

The Bruins are a talented bunch. Freshman Kevin Love is a beast inside and tough to stop, Russell Westbrook has NBA-crazy athleticism to get to the basket, and Darren Collison is the quickest in the land, but without Shipp's outside shooting, the Bruins are vulnerable to teams packing it inside on them.

The good news about Shipp's shooting slump is that it is old news too. It has happened before, a matter of fact it did just last season.

Shipp went through a similar slump last season, going 2 of 17 over a seven game span, but he regrouped and found his shot at the end of the season and tournament time. As a result, Shipp was a major factor in UCLA's Final Four run last season.

No doubt Shipp is mired in a horrific shooting slump, but the only way he'll break out of it is by shooting himself out of it.

He needs to regain his swagger.

With four regular season games remaining, there is still time.

related BBR articles from last season:
Feb 2007 article: Shipp Key To Bruin's Late Season Run
Mar 2007 article: Shipp's Return Key To Bruins' Chances

(photo credit: AP)