Friday, May 23, 2008

Bruin Fab Five

Photo courtesy of Erkki Corpuz


Center J'mison Morgan Headed To UCLA

By Bruin Basketball Report

J'mison Morgan is now officially headed to UCLA. The Dallas South Oak Cliff HS senior announced today UCLA has received his release papers from LSU and that he's headed to attend school and play basketball in Westwood.

"It's UCLA this time around," Morgan said. "It was all about the comfort level with the players and the coaches. There have been so many great centers at UCLA and it's my chance to make my mark there."

Morgan had committed and signed a letter of intent with LSU last year but after head coach John Brady was fired from the school, Morgan and his family began to reconsider their decision to attend LSU.

The 6'10, 265 lb center was released from his national letter of intent from LSU earlier this month, but there was a delay in the paperwork transfer to UCLA.

The five-star recruit should get immediate playing time in the upcoming season. Center Kevin Love opted to enter the NBA draft and appears to be lottery-bound. Love's departure leaves just Alfred Aboya as UCLA's only experienced center. The Bruins also have incoming center/power forward Drew Gordon who has been impressive in postseason play. Look for Gordon to spend time at both low post spots in the incoming season.

Morgan's commitment to UCLA solidifies it's 2008 recruiting class as tops in the nation. He joins Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, and Gordon in Westwood next season.

Morgan averaged 13.5 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots as a senior last season.

Since NCAA rules state a player may only sign one letter of intent per year, Morgan will instead sign a grant-in-aid. It is binding on UCLA but not on Morgan. He will be bound to the school once he enrolls at UCLA. Morgan is expected to enroll and take classes this summer on campus.

(photo credit: Dallas Morning News)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Coach John Wooden Honored at L.A. Coliseum Ceremony

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA Coach John R. Wooden on Tuesday was inducted into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum's Court of Honor.

Wooden, making his first public appearance since he was hospitalized earlier this year, is the first basketball figure ever bestowed the honor.

Though the 97-year-old Wooden arrived in a wheelchair, he was in good humor. "You think I'll be able to fly out of here when I leave?" Wooden joked, referring to all the praise directed his way.

Ben Howland, Dan Guerrero, Chancellor Gene Block, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were among local dignitaries and former UCLA players at the ceremony. Legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully was also present.

Scully called Wooden "a genius in his ability to inspire." Abdul-Jabbar summed up the feelings of those present to honor Wooden: "We love you, Coach."

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said, "Of everyone at UCLA, John Wooden's name is the best known nationwide. He produced not just good players but good people."

Wooden said he was honored that his plaque was being added alongside Scully's and those of athletes who starred in the Coliseum and adjacent Sports Arena. "I can't understand why a basketball guy would be here ... [but] that's fine."

Coliseum Commission president David Israel called it appropriate that Wooden became the first 'basketball guy" in the Court of honor. "He's John Wooden," Israel said. "USC's baseketball team played here from 1959 to '06, but there wasn't an SC basketball coach we would consider."

UCLA played at the Sports Arena from 1959 until 1965 then moved to Pauley Pavilion.

(photo credit: AP)


Monday, May 19, 2008

Brad Holland Joins UCSB Coaching Staff

By Bruin Basketball Report

Former UCLA basketball player and coach, Brad Holland will join the UC Santa Barbara basketball staff as an assistant, head coach Bob Williams announced yesterday.

"I think this is a spectacular addition for us," Williams said. "Having the opportunity to add someone of Coach Holland's credentials and background to our staff is awesome. He is a proven winner at the mid-major level with a gifted eye for assessing talent, and just the mention of his name in basketball circles everywhere makes people stand-up and take notice."

Holland, a former head basketball coach at the University of San Diego from 1994-2007, is San Diego's all-time leader in coaching victories with 200. A two-time West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, he guided the Toreros to nine winning seasons and 11 campaigns with a mark of .500 or better. In 2006-07, Holland's 13th and final season at USD, he led the program to an 18-14 record and into the semifinals of the WCC Tournament.

"I've been looking to get back into coaching, and to get back in with a coach I know well and respect is a great opportunity," commented Holland. "UCSB is a very good program with a winning tradition, and it is also an outstanding university. Those things make this a good fit for me."

Prior to coaching at San Diego, Holland spent two seasons as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton. In his first season, 1992-93, the Titans went 15-12, their first winning season in four years. Prior to his tenure at Fullerton, Holland was an assistant coach at UCLA, from 1988-1992, under Jim Harrick.

While at UCLA as a player, Holland was the last high school player recruited by Coach John Wooden. After a senior year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 4.8 assists, earning him honorable mention All-American recognition, Holland was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 14th pick in the NBA Draft.

As a rookie, he was a member of the Lakers' 1980 NBA Championship team, and scored eight points against Philadelphia in the decisive sixth game of the championship series. He played three seasons in the league before retiring in 1982.

Read BBR's Interview with Coach Brad Holland from June 13, 2006

(photo credit: AP)


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (5/19)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Here are some of the noteworthy local athletes and teams to watch leading up to the state meet at Cerritos College in Norwalk (Los Angeles County) May 30-31...Drew Gordon (Mitty, shot put/discus) - The UCLA basketball recruit made state in both throws each of the past two seasons. SF Chronicle 5/16


This would be like watching a 2005 AAU game matching Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Two bad things happened: Jeremy Tyler wasn't there, or if he was, he was disguised as a folding chair. Second, Renardo Sidney turned out to be an overweight ball-hog who didn't play defense, rarely moved quickly enough to work up a sweat and, when he wasn't pouting or yelling at the refs, scored 16 points against woefully inferior competition. Over the weekend, Sidney made it known that he is strongly considering enrolling at Arizona State. Good for Herb Sendek, although the Sun Devils may have to build a new dorm just to house Sidney's posse. That group includes his coach/father, Renardo Sr., who recently told Sports Illustrated that he was hired as a consultant for Reebok, moved his son from Mississippi to California and has twice switched AAU teams so that Junior "could call his own shots." Arizona Daily Star 5/13

If Tampa Yankees outfielder C.J. Henry comes off the disabled list in time to make his team's road trip here, fans could be in luck. But they had better hurry. Henry, 21, hit just. 181 last season. The former first-round draft pick has been contemplating a switch to college basketball and could try to team with his brother Xavier Henry, the No. 3-ranked incoming senior in the nation, according to Hoop Scoop analyst Clark Francis. Kansas, Memphis and North Carolina are among the schools recruiting Xavier Henry. C.J. Henry verbally committed to Kansas before deciding to try professional baseball. News Press 5/13

Then, of course, there were the players. Several of the 2009 prospects I spoke with said they are not planning to decide until at least later this summer “I’m still open,” said Avery Bradley, a teammate of committed UA recruit Abdul Gaddy who scored 31 points in the Northwest Panthers’ defeat of Jim Harrick’s Pump N’ Run Elite team tonight. Arizona “offered me, but I’m not making a decision now.” That’s good news for the Wildcats, because it is going to take time for the new staff to get up and running, and re-create some inroads with these guys. Arizona Daily Star 5/14

Trent Johnson said that he contacted Morgan’s AAU Coach, Jazzy Hartwell, on Monday to inform him that he would grant the highly touted player a release from the letter of intent he signed with the Tigers in November. J'Mison Morgan is leaning heavily toward seeking a scholarship at UCLA, although Hartwell said Kansas and Alabama also remain options. 2 The Advocate 5/14

UCLA is "99%" of the way to replacing Kevin Love with another highly regarded center. That's the likelihood that J'Mison "Bobo" Morgan, a 6-foot-11 high school star from Dallas, will play for the Bruins next season, his mother, Bianca, said Tuesday. LA Times 5/14

Renardo Sidney, a 6-foot-10 forward from Los Angeles, dropped to No. 4. North Carolina-bound forward John Henson, a Texas native, climbs to No. 5. The basketball rankings have grown from 100 players to 150. Gator Bait 5/14

The Thunder varsity boys took third while the varsity girls were sixth but Rocklin’s junior varsity boys and girls both took first place. Junior Brendan Lane was the only member of Rocklin’s varsity to win a league title (high jump, 6-2) and he led the Thunder into the DII trials at Bella Vista Wednesday. The finals will be at Bella Vista Friday. The top finishers will advance to the Masters Meet. Rocklin View 5/14

A Baton Rouge sports radio program reported earlier this week that Pierre's pending exit was spurred by him steering players away from LSU. When highly touted recruit J'Mison Morgan sought a release from his letter of intent, a theory surfaced Pierre was behind Morgan's change of heart. 2 The Advocate 5/15

Avery Bradley (6-2, 170), Junior, Tacoma, Wash./Bellarmine Prep: Bradley's stock continues to rise with each event. His jump shot was solid throughout the weekend and his relentless play at both ends is peerless. Defensively, he was a menace as he slides his feet as well as any guard in the country -- just ask standout Jordan Hamilton. Bradley is a tad undersized for the 2 at the next level, but his athleticism, tenacity and ever-improving jump shot should make up for his lack of height. ESPN 5/15

Renardo Sidney (6-9, 260), Junior, Los Angeles/ Fairfax: No one will ever question Sidney's overall talent and upside, but his effort and desire to be the best can be questioned with no valid argument attached to it. Sidney was having a very productive spring up until this event. He had spurts where he dominated (Boo Williams game), but overall his effort and attitude were troublesome to say the least. He looked out of shape and rarely played hard at either end. Sidney has the makings of the next Chris Webber, but if he can't keep his weight under control we may be looking at the next Oliver Miller (former Arkansas and NBA player). ESPN 5/15

Jordan Hamilton, a 6-7 junior out of Compton/ Dominguez, continues to exhibit why he is one of the most skilled players in the country. He gets most of his notoriety from his perimeter skills, but his desire to hit the boards has made him a better all-around player. However, quicker defenders can be troublesome to him -- Avery Bradley (NW Panthers) comes immediately to mind. ESPN 5/15

(photo credit: WA News Tribune)


Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Xavier Henry

BBR Home > Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Xavier Henry

Xavier Henry
SF | 6'6 | 215

Status: Prospect
Class: 2009
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
School: Putnam City HS
Position Rank (aggregate): SF #1
Schools of Interest: Kansas, UCLA, Memphis, North Carolina, Texas





(photo credit: ESPN)

Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Avery Bradley

BBR Home > Bruin Basketball Recruiting: Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley
SG | 6'2 | 170

Status: Prospect
Class: 2009
Hometown: Tacoma, WA
School: Bellarmine Prep
Position Rank (aggregate): SG #3
Schools of Interest: UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Washington St., Oregon, California, Kansas St.





(photo credit: WA News Tribune)