Saturday, April 12, 2008

Incoming Bruin Frosh Help USA To Win Over World

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Incoming Bruin big man, Drew Gordon scored 15 and grabbed 7 rebounds to help lead the USA Select basketball team to a 98-78 victory over the World Select team at the 11th Annual Nike Hoop Summit held at the Rose Garden in Portland.

Gordon demonstrated the type of athleticism and hustle he will bring to Westwood next season. Gordon added four blocks and seemingly was always around the action in his 18 minutes of play.

The USA roster included four players who are committed to play at UCLA next fall. The group included Gordon and guards Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson. Three of the Bruins, Gordon, Holiday, and Lee were in USA's starting line-up.

The World team managed to stay close for more than a half, thanks largely to an inside presence that featured 7'1 Alexis Ajinca of France and 7'4 Boban Marjanovic of Serbia. They helped to force the Americans to alter a number off inside shots and USA led only 43-42 early in the third quarter.

But the USA team had a quicker group of perimeter players, led by Holiday, Lee, and Anderson, and the Americans used it to their advantage by forcing the internationals into 10 third-quarter turnovers. That defensive play sparked an 11-0 run that gave USA a 54-42 lead with 6:10 left in the third. Holiday led the spurt with a three-pointer and an ally-oop dunk on a lob pass from Tyreke Evans.

"Our big men weren't quite as big as the other team," Drew Gordon said. "We battled hard in the post but the guards definitely stepped it up on offense and on defense to stop their pressure and set up our offense."

"I think our defense was the key to pulling away in the second half, especially our guards," Jrue Holiday said. "We picked up full-court, and applied a lot of pressure up top, trying to distract them and disrupt them."

Holiday finished with 11 points although he missed a number of lay-up opportunities in the first half. Teammate Malcolm Lee scored 3 points in 12 minutes action but his playing time was somewhat limited due to early foul trouble.

Although Jerime Anderson came off the bench for Team USA, he was clearly the best floor general in the game. The offense flowed better when he was at the point, in addition, his defense on the World team guards was stellar. Anderson finished with 4 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 15 minutes of action.

"When we play for the USA, it's all about the team," Andreson said. "It's all about playing and trying to get the win. Nobody is trying to get theirs; we're playing as a team. I felt that we did that really well today."


UCLA's 2008 Freshmen In Action Saturday At Nike Hoop Summit

By Bruin Basketball Report

All four members of UCLA's top-ranked 2008 men's basketball recruiting class are scheduled to participate in Saturday's 2008 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland at the Rose Garden.

Incoming Bruin freshmen Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon, Jrue Holiday, and Malcolm Lee are all scheduled to play for the USA Select team against the World Select team.

The game is scheduled to tip at 1:00 PM PT and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net and webcast on

"I think this team's particular strength is in its guard play.", said Don Showalter,
USA Basketball Committee Chair, " Jrue Holiday and Jerime Anderson, for example, are guards the committee felt will be able to control the game and keep the pace in the USA's favor."

2008 USA Select Team Basketball Roster:
Al-Farouq Aminu (Norcross HS); Jerime Anderson (Canyon HS); Ed Davis (Benedictine HS; Demar DeRozan (Compton HS); Tyreke Evans (American Christian); Drew Gordon (Archbishop Mitty HS); Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall HS); Scotty Hopson (University Heights Academy); Malcolm Lee (JW. North HS); and Greg Monroe (Helen Cox HS)

(photo credit: USA Basketball)


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Howland Clarifies His Players Status Next Season

By Bruin Basketball Report

In a press conference on Wednesday UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland attempted to clarify reports and rumors of Bruin players leaving UCLA early for other pursuits.

Howland stated freshman Kevin Love and junior Darren Collison have not yet decided whether they will make themselves available for the NBA draft despite numerous rumors.

"It's an erroneous report," Howland said," Kevin left Wednesday afternoon to go home. He's going to sit with his parents over the weekend and try to formulate some decision as to what he wants to do."

"I never met with Darren on Monday. I never spoke to Darren on Monday. I did not see him. I did not email him. I did not text him," Howland reiterated.

Sophomore guard Russell Westbrook, who had a break-out season and impressed NBA scouts, is reportedly contemplating whether to enter the draft but he has not made a decision. However, Howland stated that if Westbrook returned next season that he'd be the team's starting point-guard.

If both Collison and Westbrook leave this summer, it would leave Howland with inexperience at the point guard spot - perhaps the most important position in a Howland run-offense.

College players have until April 27 to declare for the June draft.

Two other Bruins, Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, may potentially test out their NBA stock this summer, but most likely they will both return next season.  Both players are not expected to be first-round draft picks in this year's draft.

Howland said junior forward Alfred Aboya, who is graduating with a degree from UCLA this June, is currently considering his options for next season.  He may return to the team or he may focus entirely on his graduate school studies.  Howland thinks Aboya will likely return next season.

Some reports indicate sophomore forward Nikola Dragovic is considering a return to Serbia to play professionally rather than return to UCLA next season.

"I think Dragovic wants to come back," Howland said. "My thing for him is to become more committed as a basketball player."

UCLA has the top rated recruiting class arriving in Westwood next season in Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, and Drew Gooden.  Coach Howland may still add to this class, however, his moves are complicated by the fact he is uncertain who is staying or leaving the team this summer.

"It's too early to say how many guys we're going to have here next year from this current team," Howland said. "We'll see about Alfred, Josh and Luc. There's a good chance they could be here. There's also a chance they would go. So there is a lot of uncertainty, which doesn't make my job fun at this time of year."

(photo credit: AP)


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (4/7)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Up until Jrue Holiday's arrival at Campbell Hall, the private North Hollywood school had the reputation of a one-room schoolhouse -- an ideal setting for an intimate education, but hardly the place to develop an elite boys' basketball player, much less an entire team. Nearly four years later, Holiday has made a name for himself among the best players in the nation and, in turn, helped the Vikings become one of the Southland's most successful basketball programs. When he graduates this spring, Holiday will take with him three state championships, an appearance in the McDonald's All-American game and the distinction of being selected Gatorade's national player of the year. He can now add one more award, as he has been selected The Times' boys' basketball player of the year. Holiday said playing for a small school provided him with just the right mix -- he benefited from the school's academic environment while building a name for himself on the travel-ball circuit. LA Times 4/2

Best in the West selections on the Parade Magazine All-America team are Demar DeRozan (Compton) and Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall), first team; Luke Babbitt (Reno Galena), second team; Larry Drew (Taft), third team; and Malcolm Lee (J.W. North), fourth team. Fairfax junior center Renardo Sidney was a fourth-team selection. If those putting the Parade team together had been a bit more thorough in their research, two more Best in the West selections, Jerime Anderson (Anaheim Canyon) and Klay Thompson (Santa Margarita), as well as Jordan Hamilton of Dominguez, would also have been chosen. Press-Telegram 4/2

Jrue Holiday has received several impressive awards during his four-year career at Campbell Hall of North Hollywood, but his latest honor might be the most impressive of all. The UCLA-bound Holiday became the first area player in nearly three decades to be selected as Cal-Hi Sports' Mr. Basketball, recognizing the state player of the year for the 2007-08 season. Holiday joins Kennedy of Granada Hills graduate and former UCLA and Boston Celtics talent Darren Daye, who received the award in 1979, a year after Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta standout Greg Goorjian was honored. Daily News 4/2

North Carolina coach Roy Williams can swoop in and get nearly whoever he wants — whenever he wants. Kansas coach Bill Self is one of the nation's elite recruiters and has stockpiled McDonald's All-Americans. For a program knee-deep in rich tradition, UCLA coach Ben Howland has done it primarily the old-fashioned way: Evaluating talent and developing players...."Ben Howland is so comfortable in his own skin and what he likes," national recruiting director Dave Telep said. "He doesn't have to go out and get a list of the top 100 kids and start at No. 1. He's a feel guy. If it feels right, he goes for it." Howland's approach hasn't changed, although he will bring in a pair of McDonald's All-Americans next season: guards Jrue Holiday and Malcolm Lee. Fox Sports 4/4


Will power and manpower problems consigned the U.S. to an 87-67 defeat in Saturday’s bronze-medal game of the 24th Albert Schweitzer tournament for players aged 18 and younger....“We wanted to make a name for the U.S. and get us back on top,” said Anthony Stover of La Canada, Calif., who snared six rebounds. “But last night’s game really took it out of us. We’re all really sore, really worn out.” Stars and Stripes 4/1

Putnam City junior Xavier Henry was named to the Parade All-America Basketball second team. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward is one of 30 high school players honored by the magazine, which will be included in Sunday's editions of The Oklahoman. Henry was on The Oklahoman's Super Five team after averaging 25.8 points and 6.4 rebounds while leading the Pirates to the Class 6A state tournament. Oklahoman 4/1

Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 31-3 (12): A 63-60 head-to-head win over Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA championship was the key for the Dons to stay high in the final rankings. They also won the CIF Division I Southern California title. The team's top player, 6-7 junior Jordan Hamilton, may not be eligible next season and if that happens he could be playing at a prep school back East. CaliHiSports 4/2

The top prospect in the state for the 2009 class, 6-8 Milton Jennings of Pinewood Prep, probably is too far down the road with his decision for Horn to have an impact. "Time is of the essence with Milton," said his AAU coach and mentor Rufus McDonald Tuesday. "It's very possible next Wednesday. or some point next week after the Final Four, an announcement will be made. He's been pretty firm on four different places for about seven or eight months...Clemson, UCLA, Georgetown and Florida." All indications point towards Jennings picking Clemson. Palmetto Sports 4/2

t appears as if the recruiting process is picking up, at an alarming rate, for Anthony Stover since we last heard from him. Stanford and USC have offered scholarships, as well as Washington and Washington St. Other programs that have expressed interest include: UConn, Texas and UCLA, just to name a few. Stover has been on unofficial visits to Arizona St., Cal and San Diego and plans on making several other trips over the next couple of months. A decision about his future could come as early as November. LA Times 4/2

Los Angeles Ribet Academy center Krys Faber has received a scholarship offer from USC, according to The Palmdale resident is expected to make an unofficial visit to the Trojans' campus this weekend and is scheduled to make an official recruiting visit to DePaul on April 10. Faber, who averaged 15.8 points and 17.5 rebounds this season, is considered one of the state's top unsigned seniors. South Florida, Minnesota and Northern Illinois are also in the running for his services. LA Times 4/3

(photo credit: LA Times)