Friday, March 12, 2010

UCLA Bows To California in Pac-10 Tourney To End Season

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

UCLA's season ended with a whimper after a 85-72 loss to California in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament.

The Bruins competed for most of the game but they were clearly beaten by the better team.

Jerome Randle scored 24 points and Theo Robertson had 15 of his 20 in the second half when California dominated UCLA on its way to the finals of the Pac-10 tourney.

UCLA senior Michael Roll fittingly scored a career-high 27 points to end his Bruin career on a solid individual note.

He also added 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 38 minutes.

Roll's play and leadership this season was a highlight in a year that struggled to find many.

The Bruins (14-18, 8-10) finished with its worst record since Ben Howland's first season at UCLA.

Sophomore guard Jerime Anderson played perhaps his best game ever at UCLA, scoring 15 points on  6 of 8 shooting and handing out 4 assists.

Senior Nikola Dragovic continued his ice-cold shooting finishing just 3 of 12 from the field and 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.  

With UCLA trailing by just 4 points midway through the second, Dragovic bricked two consecutive three-pointer after which the Bears countered with two threes of their own to push the lead to 10.  

The Bears never looked back.

This was a tough and long season for the UCLA team and its fans. 

The loss of Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, Josh Shipp, and Alfred Aboya proved too much for the Bruins to make up.  

The in-season transfer of starting center Drew Gordon further highlighted the dearth of talent on this team.

The returning UCLA players and coaching staff have much work to do between now and next season in evaluating both its physical play and psyche.

Freshman Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson form a solid foundation for the team to build upon. 

The arrival of the 2010 class that includes center Josh Smith and guards Tyler Lamb and Lazeric Jones should help to solidify the rotation next year.  The addition of one or perhaps two additional players would certainly help.  

Ray McCallum and Terrence Jones anyone?

Still the fact remains in Westwood, for the first time in five seasons, UCLA will not be playing in the NCAA tournament.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nelson Returns, Powers Bruins To Pac-10 Tourney Win

By Bruin Basketball Report

Box Score

Freshman Reeves Nelson returned to the line-up and recorded a double-double with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to power UCLA to a 75-69 win over Arizona in its Pac-10 tournament opener.

Nelson had missed four consecutive games including a loss to the Wildcats in Arizona.

The freshman post player sported goggles all game long to protect his right eye.  He had laser surgery weeks earlier to repair a tear in his retina.

While Nelson complained about the ill-fitting protective eye wear, he gave Arizona more to complain about with his punishing play inside as the Wildcats had no answer for the 6'8 Bruin.  He finished 8 of 9 from the field and played 32 minutes.

Seniors Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic helped their own chance to play another collegiate game by each scoring 18 points.  

Roll hit on 3 three-pointers while Dragovic was 10 of 12 from the free throw line.  The Serbian also had 3 blocks and 2 steals.

However, it was Nelson who gave UCLA (14-17, 8-10) an interior scoring threat, something the team had sorely missed the past two weeks. 

In this contest UCLA Coach Ben Howland effectively mixed up the defensive scheme - something he hasn't done often this season - by switching from man-to-man to zone defense which seemed to confuse the Wildcats at times in the halfcourt.

Arizona (16-15. 10-8) shot just 40% from the field.

While the Bruins executed better on offense and got the ball inside to Nelson, the Wildcats did not play well defensively as they gave up a number of easy shots to the Bruins.  

UCLA finished the game hitting on 53.2% from the field after starting off 64% in the first half.

With the tournament win, the Bruins will face California tomorrow at the Staples Center in the next round.  The Bears beat the Oregon Ducks 90-74 in the other tournament game.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Roll, Nelson, and Honeycutt Garner All-Pac-10 Honors

By Bruin Basketball Report

Senior guard Michael Roll was named to the All-Pac 10 First Team, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today.

Roll led his team in scoring with 13.5 points per game while shooting 46% from the field and 42% on three-pointers.

A fifth-year red-shirt senior, Roll had been primarily a role player at UCLA until this year when he was thrust into a leadership role on a very young Bruin squad.

Two UCLA newcomers were also named to the All- Pac 10 Freshmen Team.

Forwards Reeves Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt were honored as top frosh players in the league.

Nelson, who sat out the last four games of the season due to an eye injury, was a nice surprise for the Bruins by displaying a combination of grit and aggressiveness which was sorely lacking on the team.

Nelson averaged 11.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game this season.

Fellow frosh Tyler Honeycutt came back from a bevy of summer injuries to average 7.3 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds a game.  

The all-purpose forward also led the team in number of steals and blocked shots this season.

Nelson and Honeycutt are solid building blocks next year for a rebuilding UCLA basketball program.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (3/8)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.  


Incoming freshmen Josh Smith and Tyler Lamb (Mater Dei) are expected to enroll early at UCLA and be part of summer workouts. OC Register 3/2

Joshua Smith doesn't want to end his senior season with any regrets. So, in his final trip to the state tournament — his first since freshman year — he's doing everything possible to extend it as long as he can. Kentwood's senior scored the first seven points of the game, leading the Conquerors to the quarterfinals. The Panthers (19-7) didn't bring a double team against Smith in the post early on, so the UCLA-bound big man went to work right away. "It just kind of gave me a green light when they played man," said Smith, who finished with 28 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. "Then I thought, hey, if they're going to play man, I've got to go every time." Once Smith established himself inside, Kentwood (17-10) got hot from outside, with Tre Tyler hitting two first-half three-pointers. It was 20-4 after just one quarter, but the Panthers didn't quit and played a competitive second half. "No team's going to quit," Smith said. "This is state." Seattle Times 3/3

Joshua Smith again made it look so effortless. Smith, the Conquerors' 6-9, 290-pound center, tossed in 23 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and added two dunks as Kentwood moved into the semifinals for the first time since 2005. The Conquerors (18-10) won for the 12th time in 14 games and will try to beat tournament surprise Wilson (20-8) at 8:30 Friday night. Smith, who's headed to UCLA, left the game with 3:06 remaining, shortly after Eastlake fans chanted "USC!" as he shot free throws. Minutes earlier, Smith threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk. Seattle Times 3/4

Joshua Smith is an imposing figure at 6-foot-9, 290 pounds. But he's really just a big teddy bear. After Kentwood beat Wilson, 57-44, Friday night to get back into the Class 4A state championship game for the first time since 2005, the Conquerors' 6-foot-9, 290-pound center showed how soft his heart is. "This is really how every kid wants to end their senior year," said Smith, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds against Wilson. "I told them (Wilson players) to keep their heads up. They had a great season. Even though we won, we kind of felt bad for them." Smith, the nation's No. 1-rated high school center, left the court high-fiving a long line of Wilson fans on the way to the locker room. Seattle Times 3/5

For four days during the Class 4A boys state tournament, teams tried to slow down Joshua Smith. After a 67-58 victory over Jackson Saturday night, no team succeeded. He beat back double teams. He scored with players tugging at his arms and jersey. He set up teammates for open jump shots and they knocked them down. For the first time since his freshman year, the UCLA-bound Smith played in the state tournament. He ended his career a champion. "I told them, 'Hey, I'm going to put us on my back and we're going to go off on a good note,' " said Smith, who had 22 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Seattle Times 3/6

So there was a little extra oomph in the top-seeded Monarchs' celebration Saturday after they held on for a 68-65 victory over Etiwanda in the Division 1AA championship for their first section title since 2006....The senior guard duo of Gary Franklin Jr. and Tyler Lamb came up big for Mater Dei, with Lamb scoring 22 points and Franklin getting 21. LA Times 3/6


Josiah Turner, Sacramento. No one can produce instant offense like the 6-3 junior guard, who scored 37 points and led a 22-4 fourth-quarter run as Sac High pulled away from Lincoln in the D-III quarterfinals. Turner is ninth in the state in scoring at 27.8. SacBee 3/1

In a battle that is of significantly more consequence nationally, Ray McCallum Jr., a four-star player who checks in at No. 60 of the Rivals Top 150 (video here), is picking between a host of college hoops' blue bloods ... and Detroit Mercy. Something doesn't fit, right? Ray McCallum Sr. is the coach at Detroit Mercy, so the choice is simple: be another McDonald's All-American at one of the schools like Kansas, UCLA, etc. or go be the savior for an entire school -- and your dad -- at Detroit Mercy. The latter just doesn't happen. People fantasized about Harrison Barnes staying in Ames and saving Iowa State, but he picked North Carolina. Sporting News 3/2

James Arnold scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in Mount Pleasant's 75-50 victory over Gaylord on Tuesday night. Trey Zeigler added 18 points for the Oilers MLive 3/2

Although the Rams made a nice final-quarter run, it couldn't overshadow another spectacular performance by Josiah Turner, Sac High's dynamic 6-3 junior guard. He scored 32 points on an assortment of highlight-reel runners, jumpers, putbacks and twisting layups. He also had six assists, six rebounds and two blocks....Despite playing almost the entire game, Turner had 10 fourth-quarter points. Averaging 27.8 points entering the game, he finished 14 of 24 from the field and 3 of 5 from the foul line. "Josiah is just a natural," Swafford said. "If he ever gets serious and plays the kind of defense college coaches look for, he could be one of the top players in the nation next season."  Sac Bee 3/4

Our defense let us down a bit in the second half and they beat us on the boards. Those two things hurt us," said Mt. Pleasant coach Sam Taylor. Trey Zeigler registered 24 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots in the losing effort. Morning Sun 3/5

Starting fast and building a 20-point lead at one point in the first half, the No. 2-seeded Hornets held on in the final quarter for a 58-51 victory over Hoover to claim the CIF San Diego Section Division II championship at the Jenny Craig Pavilion...Hoover's 6-10 junior center Angelo Chol took game-scoring honors with 25 points to go with 16 rebounds. NC Times 3/5

The Democrats mauled South Albany 122-78 to advance to the Oregon School Activities Association Class 5A tournament, which begins Thursday in Eugene. The two-time defending champions are attempting to become the first team to win three consecutive state titles in Oregon's big-school classifications.... "We never experienced a game like that, where we were playing that fast. We got kind of tired," said the 6-foot-9 Terrence Jones, who scored 31 points and blocked seven shots. Oregon Live 3/6