Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bruins Survive RedHawk Scare, Advance to Semis

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

UCLA faced an early season challenge Thursday night facing a veteran Miami (OH) team in the second round of the 2K Sports Classic. In a defensive battle, the Bruins outlasted the RedHawks, 64-59, before 7,802 concerned fans at Pauley Pavilion.

A senior-laden team, Miami was confident, well coached and played a strong hard-nosed game. Guard Michael Bramos scored 22 points and almost single-handedly led an upset but the Bruins superior talent and homecourt were just too much to overcome.

Darren Collison scored 16 points including 8 points down the stretch to lead the Bruins. Josh Shipp also chipped in 16 as UCLA improved to 2-0 on the season.

Freshman Jrue Holiday picked up two early fouls and was never able to get in gear and was not a factor in the game. He was removed with five minutes remaining in the game after committing two turnovers. Holiday finished with just 5 points.

Michael Roll helped pick up the slack by hitting 3 of 5 three-pointers and finishing with 9 points in 22 minutes. Roll shot with confidence and appears to be fully recovered from his foot injury.

Miami did a good job in the second half spreading the floor and negating UCLA's help defense. RedHawk guards Kenny Haynes and Michael Bramos took the Bruin guards off the dribble and found open teammates on the wing. Miami shot 50% in the second half and 48.8% for the game.

Offensively, UCLA struggled again with its inside game.

James Keefe played another subpar game, finishing with 3 points on 1 of 3 shooting and missing another easy layup. The junior is playing with a lack of confidence and its showing on both ends of the court. Keefe had just 3 rebounds in 24 minutes. He'll need to step forward soon as the Bruins lack veteran depth up front.

Senior center Alfred Aboya did another yeoman's job in the paint, sitting picks and disrupting offenses with his activity, but his 6 points and 6 rebounds paired with Keefe's minute contributions will not be enough production for UCLA when it faces teams with even more talent than they've faced.

Its not time to panic in Westwood yet, but a clear warning bell has been sounded.

With an unproductive inside game and five freshmen playing major roles, UCLA will be vulnerable in the early going.

The freshmen are extremely talented but they will be inconsistent as they learn how to play at the Division I level.

Post men Drew Gordon and J'mison Morgan played just a combined 10 minutes against Miami. UCLA will need these two to gain more playing time and experience especially before Pac-10 play starts much less NCAA tournament time.

While Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson have shown glimpses of brilliance over the past few games it has been matched equally by evidence of uncertain play and inconsistency.

There will be growing pains. UCLA fans will need to be patient.

Next week the Bruins will face Michigan at New York's Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the tournament. Wolverine coach John Beilein always plays Ben Howland teams tough. If UCLA advances past Michigan it will face either No. 8 Duke or Southern Illinois in the championship game.

(photo credit: AP)


UCLA vs. Miami (Ohio) - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

No.4 ranked UCLA (1-0) faces Miami (Ohio) (1-0) in the second round of the 2K Sports Classic at Pauley Pavilion tonight.

Darren Collison posted 19 points to lead UCLA to a 82-58 win over Prairie View A&M on Wednesday. Miami (Ohio) advanced to the second round game by edging Weber State, 70-66, on a last second winner by guard Kenny Hayes.

The RedHawks return a deep and experienced roster from last year's team. Miami (Ohio) beat Xavier last season, a team that reached the Elite 8 against UCLA in the NCAA tournament.

Miami (Ohio) finished 17-16 overall and 9-7 in MAC East conference play last year.

The RedHawks are patient and willing to grind it out on both ends of the court, the game will be UCLA's first real test of the season.

"They're going to be happy to play it in the 40s," Bruin Head Coach Ben Howland said of Miami. "We're going to need our legs because there are going to be long periods of defense."

Top scorer, senior wingman Michael Bramos (6'5, 220) averaged 16.3 points and 3.9 rebounds last season. Bramos is a bomber from outside, although he hit on just 36.3% of his shots from beyond the arc last year. Nevertheless, he will provide a good defensive test for UCLA's freshman Jrue Holiday.

Perhaps the key offensive player for the RedHawks is point-guard Kenny Hayes (6'2, 175) Hayes averaged 12.1 last year and improved his game dramatically over the summer. He has an excellent three-point shot and good off dribble-penetration. Hayes scored a team-high 24 points in the win over Weber State on Wednesday including 7 of 7 from three-point distance. Collison has spent the last three games (two exhibitions) chasing around quick smaller guards but he will have his hands full with Hayes.

Forward Tyler Dierkers (Sr, 6'8, 235) had 13 points and 7 rebounds against Weber State. Last season the 4-year senior averaged 6.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. A rugged inside player, he shot 55.9% from the field. It will be interesting to watch UCLA's James Keefe to see how he responds after a subpar opening game against Prairie View A&M. Keefe has lacked confidence on both ends of the floor.

At the other forward position is Nick Winbush (So, 6'7, 200) a player who does a lot of the dirty work and will hit an occasional long distance shot.

Adam Fletcher (Jr, 6'8, 230) will start at center, although the RedHawks will likely play most of the game with a three-guard line-up which may include either Antonio Ballard (So, 6'4, 19) or Eric Pollitz (Sr, 6'6, 208)

Nikola Dragovic was officially suspended for Wednesday's game against Prairie View A&M due to his arrest for misdemeanor battery over the weekend, however, Dragovic is expected to return for tonight's game against the RedHawks.

This is the first meeting between the two schools. The winner of this second round game will advance to the semifinals in New York at Madison Square Gardens arena next week.

Game Information
UCLA vs. Miami (Ohio)
Date: Thursday, Nov. 13
Time: 8:00 PM
Place: Pauley Pavilion
Radio: AM 570

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Collison Leads Bruins To Victory In Season Opener

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Senior Darren Collison scored a team-high 19 points to lead No.4 ranked UCLA to an 82-58 win over Prairie View A&M in the team's home opener and first round of the 2K Sports Classic.

Collison, a preseason All-American selection, did most of his damage in the second-half finishing 6 of 9 from the field including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. The senior point-guard also finished with a team-high 4 assists.

Freshmen Jrue Holiday and Malcolm Lee also impressed on offense. Holiday did most of his damage from outside and finished with 11 points. Malcolm Lee demonstrated his open court prowess and ball handling skills by dashing through the court for 12 points. Lee also continued to show his ability to rebound by finishing with 6 rebounds.

Another frosh, Drew Gordon, was instant energy whenever he was inserted in the line-up. Gordon was a perfect 3 of 3 from the field including a couple of electrifying dunks and a game-high 8 rebounds. He helped to control the paint using his speed and activity to disrupt the Panther's offensive flow.

UCLA was in control for the entire contest. The Bruins closed the first half on a 31-11 run to take a 38-19 lead into the locker room. UCLA also played stellar defense holding the Panthers to just 22.7% field goal shooting

The Bruin second-team of freshmen J'mison Morgan, Gordon, Lee, Jerime Anderson, and junior Michael Roll played with energy and helped to extend the lead in the first half.

UCLA came out strong to start the second half and built a 27-point midway through with the scoring of Darren Collison who led the run with 7 points to open the half.

With the game seemingly in hand, UCLA Coach Ben Howland inserted the second team again - except this time with mixed results as the Panthers made a run and cut the lead to just 14 points with 4:53 left in the game.

The Bruin second unit started committing turnovers, much of it the result of not being able to break the Panthers full-court press. Jerime Anderson did not play well during this stretch, committing 6 turnovers.

But then Howland went back to Collison who was put back into the game after another Anderson turnover. The senior scored 7 points and made two steals to help push the lead back to 20 and seal the victory.

The Bruins won this game with superior talent and a huge advantage on the boards, outrebounding Prairie View A&M 42-22 that resulted in 10 more field goal attempts by the Bruins.

UCLA was a bit sloppy, likely a symptom of early season action, committing 23 turnovers. However, they also forced 27 turnovers.

The Bruins used its size advantage to work the boards, but their low-post offensive options were still just limited to freshman J'mison Morgan.

Although Morgan was just 2 of 2 from the field, he was the only Bruin to score off the low blocks on set plays. All other inside scoring was off drives from the perimeter or rebound put backs. UCLA's inside scoring continues to be a problem and something the team will need to address quickly.

Forward James Keefe did not play a particularly strong game. Although he grabbed 6 rebounds and scored 7 points, considering he was playing against an undersized Panthers team, Keefe did not provide the team with toughness and defensive presence the Bruins need from his power forward spot.

Moreover, Alfred Aboya still resembles more of a good role player rather than a starter for a top 5 basketball program. Again, the Bruins will need to address their low post needs either through improved play by their returning players or more minutes from their blossoming low-post freshmen.

Senior Josh Shipp played just 23 minutes, 10 minutes in the second-half, as a result of a tweaked ankle he suffered earlier at practice on Tuesday. Shipp still finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals.

Nikola Dragovic was officially suspended for Wednesday's game against Prairie View A&M due to his arrest for misdemeanor battery over the weekend. Dragovic is expected to return for the team's next game.

With the win on Wednesday, the Bruins will face Miami (Ohio) on Thursday, a 70-66 victor over Weber State in the other first-round match-up. Miami (Ohio) won its game on a last second 3-point shot by guard Kenny Hayes.

(photo credit: AP)


Four Prep Stars From 2009 Class Sign With UCLA

By Bruin Basketball Report

Four 2009 high school seniors signed national letters of intent to play next fall at UCLA, Head Coach Ben Howland announced today.

The heralded recruiting class, ranked in the top 10 nationally, consists of Reeves Nelson, Brendan Lane, Tyler Honeycutt, and Anthony Stover. All four student athletes are from California high schools.

UCLA is likely not done with their recruiting of the 2009 class. The Bruins may sign at least one more to the class. Mike Moser, who recently withdrew his verbal commitment to Arizona, has UCLA high on his list but he may not sign until the spring signing period.

“We are very excited about this recruiting class,” Howland said. “I think the four players that we signed help fulfill the needs that we have and as a class, they are all great kids that are going to be great players. They are all outstanding young men.”

Reeves Nelson (6'7, 220lb) was the first to verbally commit to UCLA. He averaged 26.0 points and 14.0 rebounds last season at Modesto Christian HS. A great competitor and excellent athlete, Nelson is ranked in the top 30 for forwards in his class. He played football earlier this fall and tore a knee ligament; however, he is expected to recover fully in time for the high school basketball season.

“Reeves Nelson is very physical and is a very strong and athletic young man,” Howland said. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed player who is a good rebounder and he’s going to be an outstanding player.”

Brendan Lane (6'10, 205lb) averaged 20.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.2 blocks in his junior year at Rocklin HS. A highly skilled and very good shooting big man, Lane is also ranked in the top 30 for forwards in 2009.

“Brendan Lane is a long and very skilled athlete,” Howland said. “He has an exciting upside because as he gets bigger and stronger, his game will really improve.”

Tyler Honeycutt is the most heralded recruit from this Bruin class. He is rated the No.1 forward in the West and a top 25 ranked player overall in 2009. Honeycutt averaged 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game last year at Sylmar HS. Honeycutt improved his stock dramatically over the summer with his play on the AAU circuit.

“Tyler Honeycutt is a very versatile athlete,” Howland said. “He is a good shooter, he’s good at scoring off the dribble and is a good passer. He is also an outstanding rebounder and has a lot of potential.”

Center Anthony Stover (6'10, 210lb) averaged 10.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.4 blocks at Renaissance Academy as a junior. He will play at Windward HS in Los Angeles this year. He is rated a top 20 center nationally.

“Anthony Stover is very long and his upside is that he has a 7-foot-5-inch wingspan,” Howland said. “He’s an excellent shot blocker and we are excited about his future.”

Today is the first day of the early signing period that extends until November 19.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

UCLA vs. Prairie View A&M - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA opens the 2008-09 season on Wednesday night against the Prairie View A&M (PVAM) Panthers in a first round game of the 2K Sports Classic: Coaches Against Cancer.

The winner of this game faces the winner of Weber State/Miami Ohio in a second round match-up on Thursday night. The winner of the second round contest advances to Madison Square Garden for a chance to play for the championship. Teams in other parts of the tournament bracket include Michigan, Southern Illinois, and Duke. See complete tournament bracket: HERE

PVAM, located near Houston Texas, plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The team finished the conference in 8th place last season finishing a disappointing 6-12 in conference action and 8-22 overall.

This is also the Panther's first game of the regular season. The Panthers have never faced the Bruins in basketball.

PVAM averaged 65.9 points while allowing 76.2 points to opponents last season. Not a threat from outside, the Panthers shots just 30.9% from beyond the three-point arc.

The Panthers lost their top two scorers to graduation over the summer but they return three starters from last year's squad.

Senior guard Derek Johnson (6'1, 190) is the leader on the squad. He was the team's third leading scorer, averaging 11.0 points and led the team in assists with 3.8.

Forward Dorian McDaniel (6'6, 210, Jr) averaged 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Seven-footer Blake Thompson (7'0, 240, Sr) takes up vertical space but does not contribute much more than that, finishing last season with just 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14.3 minutes of action per game.

The Panthers will likely give the Bruins as much trouble as their two prior NAIA exhibition opponents, Cal Baptist and Biola, were able to muster.

This game will only be as challenging and close as UCLA allows it. It all depends on how much effort and intensity the Bruin players come out with to start the game.

Junior forward Nikola Dragovic was back at practice with the team this week. He posted bail after being arrested for misdemeanor battery against his ex-girl friend. UCLA Coach Ben Howland said at his weekly pressor that the situation with Dragovic would be handled internally. Its unknown at this time whether Dragovic will play against PVAM on Wednesday night.

Game Information
UCLA vs. Prairie View A&M
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 12
Time: 7:05 PM
Place: Pauley Pavilion
Radio: AM 1150


Monday, November 10, 2008

BBR: UCLA Bruins 2008-09 Basketball Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA reached the NCAA Final Four for a third consecutive time last season, an accomplishment celebrated by most any other program except for the one in Westwood. Fair or unfair, its the expectation put upon a program that has won 11 national championships, the last one 13 years ago.

Do the 2008-09 Bruins have the mixture of talent and size to hang a 12th championship banner from the rafters in Pauley Pavilion?

Head Coach Ben Howland returns for his sixth season at UCLA where he has compiled an impressive 126-45, .737 record including three 30+ wins the past three seasons.

While Howland and UCLA have experienced unparalleled success the past three years by reaching the Final Four each time, he understands the burden his Bruin teams carry due to the program's past success.

Last season, the Bruins were able to ride on the broad shoulders of freshman Kevin Love through the Pac-10 and deep into the NCAA tournament. Love gave Howland an inside presence he'd never had at UCLA, unfortunately, the team was plagued by inconsistent play on the perimeter, losing to Memphis in the semifinal game of the tournament.

Love along with stars Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Russell Westbrook opted to leave for the NBA early this summer, and UCLA lost Lorenzo Mata-Real to graduation. In addition to losing three of five of it top scorers, the team also lost 65% of its rebounding with this quartet.

The Pac-10 was loaded with talent last season. Seven players were drafted in the first round of the NBA draft with five more players going in the second round. With the purge of so much talent, the conference looks less formidable than in the past.

Arizona State, USC, and Washington will provide UCLA with the stiffest challenge in conference action. The Sun Devils return all their starters led by James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph. Although USC lost O.J Mayo and DaVon Jefferson they return top conference player Taj Gibson and have added freshman stud Demar DeRozan who will challenge for top freshman honors. Big Jon Brockman is joined by a solid freshman group that will keep things interesting in Washington.

The cupboard isn't bare in Westwood either and Ben Howland and his staff have brought in arguably one of the top freshmen classes in the nation in guards Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson, and posts Drew Gordon, and J'mison Morgan.

UCLA also returns a cadre of experienced seniors with preseason All-American Darren Collison, fifth-year senior Josh Shipp, and post man Alfred Aboya. They'll be joined by juniors James Keefe, Michael Roll, and Nikola Dragovic.

While the seniors and returning players will provide stability and leadership, how far this UCLA team goes in the tournament will depend on how much members of it's heralded freshmen class develop and progress by season's end.

With a plethora of talented guards and wings, UCLA will definitely be more of a perimeter-centric team this season and one would expect this team to run more often. However, this is still a Ben Howland team, and while the coach will encourage his team to push the ball up the court more often, he will still insist on smart passing, good shot selection, and most of all, demand a solid defensive effort.

Incoming Freshmen

Gatorade High School Basketball Player of the Year and McDonald All-American Jrue Holiday is the best of the freshmen group. The combo guard out of Campbell Hall is silky smooth and has the talent and athleticism to take over a game from both sides of the court.

On offense Holiday can get to the basket with ease and finish with the best and has a good stroke out to the three, but he also has the court-vision and unselfishness to make the great pass to a teammate. Holiday will start games as the two-guard but look for him to play the point often even when Darren Collison is on the floor.

Holiday has the combination of size, athleticism, and passion to play lock-defense, however, he still has some room for fundamental improvement to defend even better at the collegiate level.

It would not be a surprise if Holiday turns out to be the best player on this team by year end. And yes, it would mean another one-and-done star in Westwood.

Malcolm Lee also has McDonald All-American on his resume. He has the skills and quickness to breakdown defenses and possesses a solid three-point stroke.

The 6'5 wing has the quickness and length to be a menace with his on-ball defense. While Lee still needs to add bulk to his slight 180 lb frame, his blazing speed and fervor for the game will make him a Bruin favorite in a short time. Lee will start the season off the bench likely behind junior Michael Roll in the rotation but may move-up with continued maturation.

Jerime Anderson will provide back-up minutes for Collison and Holiday at the point. Anderson is a steady player and a very good defender who understands how to run an offense and involve his teammates in the game.

Anderson needs to develop consistency with his outside shot and has the propensity to jump in the air and force passes, a Howland pet-peeve, but the UCLA coach already feels comfortable enough to insert him into tight situations of a game.

Forward/center Drew Gordon has impressed the staff so far with his athleticism. On defense, he can jump up to the rafters and gives the Bruins a much needed shot blocker. He is still learning the UCLA offense and defense and gets lost at times on the court, but he is extremely active on defense and a potent disruptor in the paint.

Gordon is relatively raw on offense and needs to continue to work on his footwork and develop an offensive repertoire before he reaches his full potential. Gordon has been the first big man off the bench during the preseason because of the energy he injects into the game, specifically with his defense and rebounding. It would not be a surprise to see his minutes increase as he learns the game at the collegiate level.

J'mison "Bobo" Morgan is the team's best low-post presence. Morgan's 6'10, 250 lb frame and strong lower body allows him to muscle down and establish good position on the blocks. He is most comfortable on offense with his back to the basket although his overall offensive skills need refinement.

Morgan gives the Bruins their best chance at a consistent low-post scorer. If he can develop his offensive game and produce down low, Morgan has the chance to earn major minutes. On defense, he is still slow on his rotations and hedges and needs to continue to work on his conditioning and stamina.

Returning Players

UCLA begins the regular season with three seniors in the starting line-up; Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, and Alfred Aboya.

Darren Collison made the right decision to return for his senior season at UCLA. After being dominated by a bigger and stronger Derrick Rose of Memphis in the semifinal tournament game, the Wooden Award candidate and preseason All-American worked hard over the summer to bulk up his thin frame, and as a result, he gained over ten pounds of muscle.

Collison was second on the team in scoring last season, averaging 14.5 and he also had 3.8 assists per game. Collison shot an efficient 52.5% from beyond the three-point arc. Paired with Holiday, the two form one of the most formidable starting backcourts in the nation.

This is Collison's team, a rare senior who will be a top first-round NBA choice. Collison needs to lead with his actions but he also needs to let the precocious freshmen guards around him develop their game - he'll need their help come tournament time.

Senior Josh Shipp slimmed down over the summer and lost up to 15 pounds in hopes of improving his quickness.

Shipp averaged 12.2 points last season but shot just 43% from the field and 32.4% on three-pointers. Shipp needs to make more of an effort this season to take the ball inside and take advanage of his strength and uncanny ability to finish around the basket. With the lack of offensive firepower in the post this season, Shipp may very well be the team's best inside scorer.

Despite already earning his undergraduate degree, Alfred Aboya decided to return for his final year. A bench player in his first three seasons at UCLA, Aboya will begin as the starting center this year. He averaged 2.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game last season.

In order for Aboya to be an effective starter, he'll need to curtail his fouls. Last season, he averaged 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes played. Coach Howland has already stated that he needs Aboya on the floor for at least 25 minutes in a game.

If Aboya is unable to play effectively while reducing his propensity to foul, one of the freshmen, either Gordon or Morgan, will need to step up to fill the void.

This may be a make or break season for junior forward James Keefe. In his first two years at UCLA, Keefe has been inconsistent at best. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 25 games last season.

In a some games, including the tournament game against Western Kentucky last season, Keefe has shown flashes of what made him a McDonald's All-American. Whether it be due to the lack of playing time or perhaps lack of confidence on the part of Keefe, the Bruins need him to step up this season and provide stability along the team's front line.

Keefe has the potential to be the team's top rebounder this season and has shown flashes of his potential during early practices. His length and athleticism allows him, especially when he's aggressive, to be a good defender. But now he needs to assert himself on the court and demonstrate he can be a consistent contributor.

Michael Roll comes back this season from a medical redshirt, the result of surgery to repair torn ligaments in his foot.

He is slated to be the team's top sixth man, backing up at either the two or three spot. With teams sagging their defenses inside as a result of the longer three-point line, the Bruins need Roll to hit consistently from outside.

Roll started the preseason with discomfort in his foot but he has played well in practices and exhibitions.

Junior Nikola Dragovic suffered another setback when he was arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor battery against an ex-girlfriend. He was recently released from jail but his status on the team is unknown at this point.

The team was expecting Dragovic to back-up at the four-spot this season, and like Michael Roll, need his outside shooting to help open things up inside. Last season, Dragovic averaged 2.5 points in 25 games.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (11/10)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Andy Brown, a 6-foot-8 senior forward at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, became the first player to give an oral commitment to Stanford since Johnny Dawkins became head coach. Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight confirmed Brown chose Stanford over Arizona and is expected to sign with the Cardinal in the fall signing period next week. All five starters on the Mater Dei team have now committed to major programs - twins Davis and Travis Wear to North Carolina, Tyler Lamb to UCLA and Gary Franklin to USC. SF Chronicle 11/6

Six-foot-three Abdul Gaddy of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash., edged Renardo Sidney of L.A. Fairfax and Avery Bradley (a former prep teammate of Gaddy's) of Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., to be the top vote-getter in the 2008-09 version of the Press-Telegram's annual survey used to determine the top senior high school players in the western portion of the country....The 6-9 Sidney, who became a nationally known prospect as an eighth-grader in Mississippi, received 313 points to the 6-3 Bradley's 311. Michael Snaer (Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif.) was just a point (with 299) ahead of Tyler Honeycutt (Sylmar High in Southern California). Press Telegram 11/8


Arizona has refused to grant freshman Jeff Withey's request to transfer, leaving his status -- and the Wildcats' frontcourt -- unsettled. Withey, a 6-foot-10 center, asked for his release last week. In a meeting Monday night with Withey and his parents, Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood denied the request. "My very simple reason is I firmly believe, as the letter of intent states, that he needs to stay a full academic year," Livengood said to the Arizona Daily Star. "At the end of [the year] -- as I told him last night -- I would gladly release him if he wanted." The Wildcats have been in a state of flux ever since Lute Olson announced his retirement as the men's basketball coach Oct. 23. Three players who had committed to Arizona for 2009 -- Abdul Gaddy, Mike Moser, and Solomon Hill -- withdrew their commitments within days. ESPN 11/5

The Southern Section has denied a hardship waiver to Compton Dominguez basketball standout Jordan Hamilton, ending his high school career unless he wins an appeal to the state CIF. Hamilton, who has committed to Texas, was seeking a fifth year of athletic eligibility. "He didn't meet criteria for a hardship," Southern Section commissioner Jim Staunton said. LA Times 11/5

There’s a good chance that South Atlanta’s Derrick Favors, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 basketball prospect by Scout, will not sign next Wednesday. The 6-foot-9 Favors is deciding between Georgia Tech, Georgia and North Carolina State. “Right now, I don’t see Derrick signing on [the first day of the signing period],” South Atlanta coach Michael Reddick said. “But he could commit to a school sometime next week and sign before the end of the early period [Nov. 19], or he could wait.” AJC 11/6

It is going to be fun watching Duke and North Carolina fans spar over this elite recruit. The 2010 small forward takes an unofficial visit to Duke and days later receives North Carolina's lone 2010 offer. There is no doubt that Harrison Barnes is going to break a lot of hearts with his college decision because he will play it close to the vest and draw it out in a similar way that Brandan Wright (North Carolina) and Ryan Kelly (Duke) handled their recruitment. But this is not just a Duke-North Carolina battle for Barnes, and no one can predict with any type of certainty where he will end up. Here is what we know. Practically every school in the country has offered Barnes, from Florida to Texas to UCLA. He has unofficially visited Kansas and Duke. Barnes said he will likely visit North Carolina, among other schools, in the spring. He lives in Ames, Iowa, and his mother works in the Iowa State music department. Rivals 11/6

Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 senior guard from Putnam City (Okla.) High, who had surgery Thursday to repair a broken cheekbone, told he will not choose a school until the spring signing period. Henry’s dad, Carl, on Thursday said his son — who ultimately will choose between Kansas and Memphis — will be on medication and not be able to practice basketball the next four to six weeks. It’s possible he will announce his decision on ESPNU shortly after returning to action. “He likes both schools. He wasn’t ready to pick a school yet,” Carl Henry told Lawrence Journal World 11/7

Mike Moser visited UCLA over this weekend but may wait until the spring before signing, as could the 6-5 Solomon Hill. Both players would be among the most heavily recruited prospects remaining in the spring if they go unsigned before the fall period expires. Press Telegram 11/7

Blue-chip basketball recruit Michael Snaer, who last week said he’d wait until the spring to pick a college, has had a change of heart.’s No. 11-rated prospect said Sunday he’ll choose between Kansas University, Florida State and Marquette at a yet-to-be-determined time Wednesday at Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif. “I want to get it out of the way. I think it’s that time,” Snaer said of finalizing his college choice. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard said he eliminated two schools Sunday — UCLA and Missouri.“It was tough cutting Missouri. I know a lot of the players there,” Snaer said. LJ World 11/9

(photo credit: LA Times)