Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thoughts from UCLA hoops media day and more

Thoughts from UCLA hoops media day and more

By Jon Gold
Inside UCLA
LA Daily News
October 12, 2011 8:31 PM

* Ben Howland would not name a starting lineup, but Tyler Lamb did indeed confirm he'll start at the two, and Howland and David Wear both said he'd be playing a lot of three.

* The players really glowed about the arrival of De'End Parker, who strained his patella tendon in the weight room and will miss some practice. The Bruins raved about his athleticism and burst, and that's something UCLA has missed the last two years.

* Joshua Smith said he's 10 pounds lighter than he was at the end of last year, so that's around 315. He should get down to about 305 by the time the season starts, and that's a good number for him right now. The key will be for him to keep it off during the season. He said his goal is to play 30 minutes a game, and seemed more concerned about his penchant for fouls than his conditioning limiting his minutes.

* Anthony Stover told me he really worked extensively on his offense this summer, spending some time with trainers in Las Vegas to work on his moves. If he can add any offense to compliment his sound defense, that's an important piece behind Smith.

* Lazeric Jones' play is going to be crucial this year, and he knows it. He admitted to never feeling right after injuring his wrist in February, but he's been 100 percent for a while now and has had a good summer, many players said. If he can play 25-percent better, he'll be among the better point guards in the conference.

* Reeves Nelson got more tattoos. So did Tyler Lamb (Photo courtesy of UCLA Men's Basketball).

* Speaking of Lamb, Howland said he worked on eliminating some of the side spin from his shot this summer. Lamb sounds very excited to take on the role of defensive stopper from Malcolm Lee.

* I'll have videos from a half-dozen basketball players tomorrow throughout the day, as well as some football videos for the next two days (including a great one with Tyler Gonzalez), and I'll be off until Monday. Vinny Bonsignore is covering practice tomorrow, then the team is off for two days, then Jill Painter is covering Sunday. Please show them respect.

* Started a new feature on Two Fat Guys Talkin' Football with reader questions, so send them to either Jonah Hill (Me) or Chaz Bono (Sam Strong). We'll take a few of the best ones. Fun stuff. Be crazy.

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