Saturday, December 13, 2008

UCLA Gets Defensive With DePaul For Win In Wooden Classic

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

At the 15th Annual John R. Wooden Classic on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins turned to what has gotten them to three consecutive Final Fours under Coach Ben Howland - defense!

UCLA held DePaul to just 19 points on 38.1% shooting in the first half on its way to an easy 72-54 victory.

The Bruins used their overall speed and talent advantage to pressure the Blue Demons into bad and hurried shots and turnovers.

UCLA went on a 22-8 run to end the opening half to take a commanding 35-19 lead into the locker room and the game never got any closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

Josh Shipp and Jrue Holiday each had 14 points while Nikola Dragovic tacked on 10 off the bench to pace the Bruin offensive attack.

With DePaul playing a rather soft zone defense most of the time, UCLA did a good job moving the ball around and attacking the zone for easy baskets throughout the game.

The team had 19 assists in the contest led by Darren Collison's 6 assists and Holiday's 5 hand-outs.

The Bruins shot 55.2% for the game despite only hitting on 3 of 17 from beyond the arc.

UCLA dominated the boards by outrebounding the Blue Demons 35-25 including 12 offensive boards leading to extra scoring opportunities. They had 12 more shot attempts than DePaul.

The Blue Demons started the game with their top scorer on the bench. Dar Tucker was benched as a result of disciplinary action by the coaching staff. He ended up playing 25 minutes and shot a horrific 3 of 13 from the field.

The win was UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland's 300th career victory which included years at Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh. His career mark now stands at 300-146.

Former UCLA Coach John Wooden watched the game from a private box and was recognized by the crowd with a long heart-felt standing ovation. He later appeared on the court to present UCLA with a trophy from the tournament.

Freshman walk-on Tyler Trepani, Wooden's great-grandson, played his first minutes of the season when he was inserted late in the game. He missed his only shot attempt, a three-pointer.

No. 14/16 ranked UCLA improved its overall record to 6-2. They return to Pauley Pavilion to play Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night.

(photo credit: AP)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UCLA vs. DePaul - Game Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

UCLA heads to Anaheim this Saturday for the John R. Wooden Classic to take on the Blue Demons of DePaul.

The Bruins are coming off a 85-67 victory over Cal State Northridge last Sunday. Although it was a sloppy game in general for both teams, UCLA easily handled the Matadors, dominating them at every facet of the game with superior athletes at every spot on the floor.

While DePaul comes in from the venerated Big East conference and the program possesses some impressive pedigree, it is not in the same shape that former Hall Fame Head Coach Ray Meyer left it when he retired a few decades ago.

The Blue Demons' (4-3) three losses this season were against California, 77-67, Northwestern,and on Wednesday against Morgan State. California is a second tier Pac-10 team this year and neither Northwestern nor Morgan State are premiere teams.

DePaul has struggled mightily on the offensive end. The team is averaging just 66.6 points on 37.8% field goal shooting and knocking down a mere 28% on three-pointers.

Despite a big starting frontline, which includes two 6'10 players, the Blue Demons are getting outrebounded by a margin of 3.1 rebounds a game.

Defensively, DePaul is allowing opponents to shoot 42.1% and score 68.3 point per game. The team plays both a man-to-man and zone defense. With some of the struggles UCLA has had against the zone, they should expect to see plenty of zone defense from the Blue Demons.

DePaul is led on offense by forward Dar Tucker (6'4, 210, So). The sophomore is averaging 20.3 points a game but hasn't been efficient, hitting on just 36.9% from the floor and a poor 28.6% on three-pointers. He's also the team's second best rebounder at 7.0 a game.

A quick and muscular player who can shoot and drive effectively to the basket, Tucker can be a tough player to stop. He takes over 25% of the team's shot attempts. Stop Tucker and you stop the Blue Demon offense.

UCLA's Jrue Holiday will likely get the initial assignment against Tucker. Holiday has typically been defending the opponent's best offensive player for the Bruins this season. Tucker will be a good, physical test for Holiday.

Along the frontline, DePaul starts twin towers, Mac Koshwal (6'10, 240, So) and Matija Poscic (6'10, 235, Sr).

Koshwal is an effective low post scorer and the team's best rebounder. He's averaging 12.8 points on 55.6% shooting and 10.8 rebounds. Koshwal is a wide body and needs to be kept off the boards. Alfred Aboya will get the starting defensive assignment.

Poscic is a solid player inside who is averaging 6.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 24.9 minutes a game.

At point guard the Blue Demons start Will Walker (6'0, 180, Jr). Although not a dynamic floor leader, he does take very good care of the ball, averaging just over one turnover a game in 32.1 minutes. He's averaging 10.3 points on a measly 35.2% shooting and a poor 18.2% from beyond the arc while dishing out just 2.4 assists a game.

Senior Jabari Currie (6'4, 215, Sr) is at the other guard spot. He has struggled shooting from the field, hitting on just 31.4% on field goals and 31.6% on three-pointers. The senior guard is averaging 4.9 points and 1.1 assists a game.

Off the bench, one-time UCLA recruiting target, Krys Faber from Los Angeles is averaging 7.3 mintes a game.

With their superiority in athleticism and talent, UCLA should easily take this victory at the Wooden Classic. The Blue Demons are a young squad that can't match-up with the Bruins, and moreover the team is struggling to generate any consistent offense.

The contest should provide the Bruins another opportunity to improve upon their game.

Freshman post players Drew Gordon and J'mison Morgan are averaging just 10.7 and 7.0 minutes per game, respectively. Look for both players to see more time especially against the tall DePaul frontline.

Game Information

UCLA vs. DePaul

Date: December 13, 2008

Time: 4:00 PM

Place: Honda Center


Radio: AM 570

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (12/8)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Rocklin High’s varsity boys basketball team returns three starters this season and coach Steve Taylor says he has eight of his top 10 players back from that championship squad. One of those starters is 6-foot-10 senior center Brendan Lane who has accepted a scholarship to UCLA....Lane led the way with 40 points against Burbank despite dealing with double and triple teams while Stover scored 12 points. Lane is happy to no longer have to worry about deciding on a college like he did last season. “I can just focus on the high school season,” said Lane, who didn’t let Burbank’s physical play bother him. “The whole game they were pounding me.” Taylor says that Lane will have to deal with this treatment all season. “He is so much more physically strong and more mature (then last year) and the big challenge for him is knowing people will come at him every game,” Taylor said. “But he’s so level headed and mature that I think he can handle that. It will motivate him. But guys just body check him all the time and they will target Brendan and they shouldn’t be allowed to do that.” Rocklin View 12/3

UCLA-bound Mike Moser scored 25 points, and third-ranked Grant got double-figure scoring from two others in a 62-57 victory over visiting Clackamas in Northeast Portland. Oregonian 12/6

It may be hard to imagine now, but there was a time when Sylmar High senior Tyler Honeycutt wasn't considered one of the best players in the nation, much less Southern California. Honeycutt has a scholarship to UCLA awaiting him after this season, and is ranked among the best 30 players in the nation. But that wasn't the case just a few years ago. As a freshman, he played on the junior varsity. When he made it to varsity the next year he was overshadowed by older players. Though he averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds as a junior last year for the Spartans, the 6-foot-9 didn't get noticed until he began playing travel ball for Pump and Run a little over a year ago. "I wasn't rated before that summer, I didn't have any offers before the spring started," said Honeycutt, who had 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots as Spartans lost to Etiwanda 79-48 in the championship game of the Pasadena Tournament. "They called me like the biggest sleeper because nobody knew who I was. My coach was trying to tell people about me, but they weren't paying me any attention. Then I started getting exposure, and people started noticing me." Daily News 12/6


De'Andre Daniels, a 6-foot-8 transfer from La Canada Renaissance Academy, has been denied a hardship waiver by the City Section after transferring to Taft, according to Athletic Director Mark Drucker. Daniels played as a sophomore last season at Renaissance, which made it to the state Division V championship game. He can appeal to an appeal panel. LA Times 12/1

But it’s Mychal Parker, and the hype that’s been building around the junior that may be the key. As teams collapse on the front line, his ability on the perimeter will come into play more and more. He’ll also have to defend a number of athletic players with the Mavericks’ difficult schedule. Parker’s ability to mesh well will certainly help him learn when to take over games. “He doesn’t need a lot, he’s a kid that blends in very easily, he kind of naturally fits in,” Wawner said. “But we need to sometimes use his offensive talents on the perimeter and sometimes we need to push him to do a little more.” Daily Progress 12/3

But what was so impressive about the Comets was that they kept sending wave after wave of junior standouts at the Wildcats, and Windward had no response. Junior guard Jordin Mayes is a future college player. He scored 16 points and never took a bad shot all night. He's smooth, consistent and precise. LA Times 12/3

Ames' Harrison Barnes scored 16 points and Bubu Palo added 13 and the Little Cyclones rolled to a 43-10 halftime lead before a crowd of more than 1,000....Barnes, a first-team all-stater, set the tone for Ames with a 3-point shot from the top of the key. A junior, Barnes was under the eye of a cluster of college scouts. He's rated as one of the nation's top prospects. Des Moines Register 12/4

Kentwood’s Josh Smith entered some prestigious territory this past summer. Smith, a 6-foot-10, 285-pound center, took part in the Third Annual Elite 24, a game that brings together the top prep basketball players in the nation.
Played outside on Aug. 22 at famed Holcomb Rucker Park in Harlem, N.Y., Smith held his own, registering one of just two double-doubles in the game. Kentwood’s big man scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping his team “Skip to my Lou” upend “The Goat,” 135-121. “It was really, really different,” said Smith, a 16-year-old junior. “I am just so used to playing in gyms and college arenas. That was my first game outside. When they told me it was being televised on ESPN2, on national television, that was pretty exciting.” Maple Valley Reporter 12/5

Do you think Renardo Sidney is Derrick Caracter all over again, or do you think this "can't-miss recruit" is actually going to pan out in college - let alone the NBA?...I certainly hope not, but this is not the first time that this comparison has come up. Both are big men who got a lot of notoriety early in their careers. Controlling their weight has been an issue with both players. And they both have struggled with emotional maturity issues. Despite these similarities, I do think Sidney's career will follow a more successful path than Caracter's has followed. I just have the feeling that Sidney will be more receptive to coaching than Caracter. And physically there are differences in the two players. Sidney has lighter and quicker feet compared to the plodding, heavy-footed Caracter. Despite Caracter's skill with the ball, he was always behind the play and in foul trouble in college. With all his talent, as long as Sidney keeps his weight in check and is responsive to his coach, he is going to have a successful career. Rivals 12/5

The Vikings ultimately had no answer for Allen Crabbe, who burned the nets for a game-high 37 points to lead Price to a 74-61 victory in the championship game Saturday night at Mira Costa High. Crabbe scored the Knights' first 10 points of the final period and had 16 of their 18. A large part of his big night came at the free-throw line, where he canned all 13 of his attempts. The slender forward for the CIF Southern Section small-school power was expected to take on more of the scoring lost with the graduation of 6-foot-7 center Tyrese Bresheres. Daily Breeze 12/7

(photo credit: Des Moines Register)


UCLA Easily Dominates Cal State Northridge

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Josh Shipp and Jrue Holiday each scored 14 points to lead UCLA to an easy 85-67 romp over Cal State Northridge (CSUN) at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday night.

In a game that wasn't as close as even the final margin, the Bruins dominated the game when they needed to and were never in danger despite some momentary lapses and sloppy play.

UCLA committed 19 turnovers in the game although they were outdone by CSUN who committed 23 themselves.

The Bruins got out quickly taking a 22 point lead midway through the first half after outscoring the Matadors 24-6 to take a 37-15 lead.

CSUN did manage to fight back to trail 41-27 at halftime but it would be futile. UCLA put the game out of reach for the final time with another run to stretch the lead in the second half back to 23 points. The run was completed with consecutive three-pointers by Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday.

Collison finished with 13 points and 6 assists. Shipp also added a season-high 6 assists in the game.

Power forward James Keefe had one of his best games of the year, scoring 9 points and grabbing a game-high 7 rebounds in just 22 minutes of play.

Lately Keefe has been looking more comfortable on the offensive end. In this game he hit his first three midrange shots within the flow of the offense. Defensively he has been more disruptive in the paint and has been more aggressive on the boards. The Bruins will need Keefe to continue to improve and be consistent if they expect to go far this season.

All the heralded freshmen played extensively in the game, however, Drew Gordon perhaps shined the most. The San Jose native had 9 points on 4 of 4 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds, but most impressive was the energy he brought onto the court. His level of intensity and activity was contagious. His jumper from the high post helped to ignite the Bruins second half run.

UCLA's defense sparkled in the first half holding CSUN to a miserable 33.3%. The Bruins' overall quickness and athleticism was too overwhelming for the Matadors to overcome. The Bruins had 13 steals in the game - Jrue Holiday led the team with 6.

In the second half, play got more sloppy and the intensity level fall off the table for the Bruins as they allowed the Matadors to shoot over 60% in the half and score 40 points.

UCLA's next game will be at the John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim on December 13. The Bruins will take on DePaul in their match-up.

(photo credit: AP)