Friday, November 28, 2008

A NEW M. O.?

As in Motion Offense. Brian Dohn broke the news on Nov 25. Bruin players were talking about how they are starting to incorporate the MO into their practices (See Dohn's blogpost below).

The MO is suppose to help if you have a weak inside presence, which I guess, currently we do. But I don't know 3 things:

1. What to feel about Coach B, who has never used the MO before, as far as I know, all of sudden thinking about it;

2. What to feel/think about players 'spilling the beans' about systems before the coach does; and

2. What happened to the whole notion of recruiting players that fit your system? Does this mean that Coach B did not recruit properly? Or the early departures throwing a wrench into Coach B's recruiting system? I DON'T KNOW!!!
Of course, the most recent permutation of the MO is the dribble drive motion at Memphis c/o Vance Walberg. Basically, a Bob Knight motion but w/o the screens. For a little history reading on the permutations of the MO, check out Gary Wahl's SI article "Fast & Furious".

It's exciting ball but you really need good & diversified players at all positions to make it work.

Following are articles from the usual suspects on this new page in Bruin basketball.

More hoops(check out original post for some followup discussion on this story)
By Brian Dohn, Staff Writer, Inside UCLA blog, LA Daily News
2:55 PM Nov 25, 2008

"I'll have more on this later, but a theme from the players during today's media session was UCLA may be better off running motion offense rather than called plays.
Several of them -- Alfred Aboya, James Keefe and Darren Collison -- said the Bruins worked on it almost exclusively in Monday's practice, and they could be more effective in it than running traditional, called plays from the sideline."

So UCLA Is Going to Motion
Posted by: Dan Weber, Press Enterprise
1:21 PM Nov 26, 2008

Sounds like a good adjustment for UCLA after the basketball Bruins' halfcourt offense was exposed a bit by Michigan last week in New York.

The Bruins are working on their halfcourt motion stuff almost exclusively and will run the free-flowing pass, cut and screen sets instead of separate plays that should take advantage of their perimeter ballhandling, shooting and quickness without the bulk and strength of recent seasons.

Bruins basketball will be a team in motion
By Brian Dohn, Staff Writer, LA Daily News
10:42:31 PM Nov 25, 2008

A point guard dribbling near midcourt while the shot clock winds down has been a staple of UCLA's offense, but that could be changing if the Bruins move from a play-calling offense to a motion offense, as players suggested was happening.

Usually, Bruins coach Ben Howland calls the plays from the bench in halfcourt sets, but several players said Tuesday they believed the unscripted motion offense - in which passes, screens and quick cuts to the basket are the focal point and dribbling is minimized - will be used markedly more than in the past.

"We've been working on motion every day in practice," UCLA senior wing Josh Shipp said. "A lot of teams know what we're going to run. They're going to take away our first and second options, so after that, all we have is our motion."

UCLA senior center Alfred Aboya said the players believe utilizing a motion offense, which the Bruins have done periodically in the past, will produce better results than running set plays.

"I think coach feels this team will be a better team running motion offense instead of running all the time," Aboya said. "By running motion, it doesn't mean only one guy has to have the ball and others set screens. It means everybody's got to be able to pass, cut and (do) all the little stuff.

"First, we have to master the motion offense, and so far we're not close to that. Hopefully, by conference (play), I think we'll be ready."

More shots needed: Bruins point guard Darren Collison, who made 52.5 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, is 6 of 9 (66.7 percent) this season. However, he has the fifth-most 3-point attempts on the team, and his 36 total shots rank second.
"It would be good for our team to understand that the more shots that Darren gets, the better it is for our team," Howland said. "We have to do a better job of getting him more shots. Darren Collison should take the most shots on the team. He's our best shooter."

Collison, who averages a team-high 16 points per game, said he needs to alter his offensive game.

"I'm going to do a lot more attacking," Collison said. "Kevin (Love), Arron (Afflalo), all those guys aren't here, so I've got to do way more attacking. It's not just taking shots. It's being aggressive, getting to the paint every single time, regardless of what the situation is, to get guys more shots. It's not just on me getting more shots."

Two big concerns: Howland said his two biggest concerns four games into the season are the number of turnovers and opponents' shooting percentage. UCLA is turning the ball over 14.8times per game, and opponents are shooting 45percent from the field.

"Every time we had a turnover (in Monday's practice), the team that turned it over had to run," Howland said. "There's got to be accountability. Every time you make a mistake, there's got to be consequences, because that's how it is in the game."

Indomitable Lion Alfred Aboya overpowers the Salukis

Aboya Leads No. 4 Bruins Past Southern Illinois

Video courtesy of Erkki Corpuz via The Bruin Basketball Report. (MUH: Toto "Africa." No, I totally got it the first time I saw the video.)

Official UCLA Basketball Game Recap

Alfred Aboya had 22 points and eight rebounds in the 77-60 win over the Salukis.

Nov. 21, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) -Alfred Aboya had his best game for UCLA, and may have paid dearly for it.

The Bruins' senior forward had 22 points and eight rebounds, helping fourth-ranked UCLA rebound from a disheartening loss to beat Southern Illinois 77-60 on Friday night in the consolation game of the 2K Sports Classic.

Aboya helped lead a 20-2 run in the second half that put the game out of reach, but landed hard taking a charge in the closing minutes. Coach Ben Howland said Aboya may have broken his left hand and was headed to the hospital for X-rays.

"He played terrific tonight," Howland said, adding he hoped to know how long Aboya could be out before leaving for the West Coast. "I'm pushing to find out."

Darren Collison added 17 points and Josh Shipp 11 for the Bruins (3-1), who struggled in a semifinal loss to Michigan, turning the ball over 17 times and showing very little patience against the Wolverines' zone defense.

The Bruins had their own problems with Southern Illinois, a team known for its gritty defense, before their big run late in the game.

"I thought Southern Illinois was going to be a very good team, and they are a very good team," Howland said. "They're very much like us, very young with a blend of older guys."

Freshman guard Kevin Dillard scored 14 points and Tony Boyle had 10 for the Salukis, who tested No. 10 Duke in an 83-58 loss in the semifinals of the tournament benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

Southern Illinois (2-2) managed to tie this one at 48 with about 10 minutes left before wilting in the closing minutes for the second straight night.

"I don't know what it is," coach Chris Lowery said. "We melted down from there. We missed assignments defensively. We have to continue to play the young guys and get better. We can't let this dictate our season."

Nikola Dragovic started the Bruins' decisive run with a 3-pointer from the wing, and Collison hit two more in quick succession, the second time turning around after the wide-open shot from the corner and sticking his tongue out in a half smile to a small but loyal crowd of UCLA faithful.

Aboya converted a three-point play after a basket at the other end, Shipp hit a 3-pointer and Aboya made a pair of free throws to push the lead to 64-50 with 6:31 left.

Then all three of the Bruins' seniors got into the act on one dazzling play.

After forcing a turnover, Shipp swung a behind-the-back pass to Collison starting the break. The go-to guard then spun and delivered another behind-the-back pass to Aboya, whose slam made it 66-50 and put the game out of reach.

"I thought we were a little more patient in the second half," Collison said. "The two biggest things were our intensity and the fact that we were patient in the second half."

Shipp, who flirted with the NBA draft after last season, still struggled to get into a flow on the offensive end. After scoring five points on 2-of-9 shooting in that 55-52 loss to Michigan, Shipp was 1-for-4 from the field in the first half and scored most of his points when the outcome was decided.

The Bruins got off to a quick start, smoothly running their offense for the first time since arriving in New York and building a 24-13 lead midway through the first half.

Things seemed to be well in hand when Carlton Fay, the Salukis' leading scorer, went to the bench with a pair of fouls with 5 1/2 minutes left and UCLA ahead 31-23. But Wesley Clemmons hit an open 3 from the wing and Boyle followed with an inside bucket to draw Southern Illinois close.

Dillard's 3-pointer with a little over a minute left cut the lead to 35-33 at the break.

But the Bruins were simply too much in the second half, forcing 13 turnovers over the final 20 minutes and shooting 48 percent from the field for the game - and finally resembling those UCLA teams that have camped out the past few years in the Final Four.

"This team is talented enough to get there," Collison said. "It's going to take a learning process to get there."

ALFRED ABOYA UPDATE - A second x-ray on Alfred Aboya's left wrist was negative and a CT scan on the wrist was also negative. The scans and x-rays were performed at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. UCLA will do a precautionary MRI after the team's return to Los Angeles.

ALFRED ABOYA UPDATE 2 - November 25 2008 from the Press-Enterpise

Lee Makes UCLA's Injury Report
8:19 AM Tue, Nov 25, 2008
Posted by: Dan Weber
Just another day on the practice floor for UCLA's Bruins Monday.

"Here's the report from basketball SID Ryan Finney:

"There were a couple of minor injuries today at practice. Freshman guard Malcolm Lee (Riverside North) has a sprained right ankle (grade one) while junior forward Nikola Dragovic has a left knee contusion (missed 3/4 of today's practice). Both are listed as day-to-day and should return to practice in a day or two and be available when the Bruins host Florida International Saturday at 4:30 p.m.''

And now for the good news:

"Senior center Alfred Aboya completed 100 percent of today's practice with full contact.''

That left wrist injury suffered Friday in New York against Southern Illinois apparently wasn't all that serious."

MUH: Whew! Great News on AA2! Get well soon, Malcolm & Drag. Bring on Florida International!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mike Moser joins UCLA's strong 2009 Recruiting Class

Grant's Mike Moser picks UCLA

UCLA's already rock-solid recruiting class just got a little better.

Mike Moser, a 6-foot-7 forward from Grant High School in Portland, Ore., switched his commitment from Arizona and signed a letter of intent with UCLA. You can see the announcement in the video above. Moser is considered the 11th-best small forward in the 2009 class, according to

The Oregon native joins a group already ranked eighth in the nation by Scout and 14th by His addition could catapult the Bruins deep into the top 10 with both services. This year's class is a big one, physically, featuring recruits who all play forward or center.

—Adam Rose

Mostly UCLA Hoops: Mike Moser (sg/6-7/185) joins Brendan Lane (pf/6-9/200/Rocklin, CA), Reeves Nelson (pf/6-7/215/Modesto, CA), Tyler Honeycutt (sf/6-7/190/Sylmar, CA) and Anthony Stover (c/6-10/210/La Canada, CA) to make up a solid incoming class for 2009. But is Coach B done with this class?

Thanks to Tim Brown at Oregon Live for the Mike Moser "That's my Mom" video.
original post at "What's Bruin" by Adam Rose, Los Angeles Times, Nov 20 2008

For more info on incoming/potential incoming UCLA hoopsters, check out The Bruin Basketball Report

Then for 24/7 UCLA HOOPS talk, go to

Why mess with the rest? Just go with the best! Visit BBR, BRUINVILLE.COM and BZ BASKETBALL RIGHT NOW!!!