Friday, February 27, 2009

Storyline: The Guards

Malcolm Lee, Getty Images
UCLA has some stud guards in Darren Collison and the triumvirate freshmen of Jerime Anderson, Jrue Holiday, and Malcolm Lee. I know, I know, Josh Shipp and Michael Roll are also G-men, but they are more G/F combos than pure Gs. I'll stick with the pure guards for now.

With the recent team woes (mostly on D), Coach B has been having to find a way to make the best out of his guards. DC is solid and a fixture at the 1. Jrue has been a starter for sometime and has had some flashes of greatness. But Jrue still needs to take his game up on par with Division I basketball, particularly on defense, which is a UCLA staple. So enter Jerime and Malcolm. How should Coach B mix & match in order to get the most out of the backcourt?

Jerime Anderson, Getty Images
This post contains recent articles that look into the guard landscape at UCLA following the debacle that was Washington State at Pauley last Feb 21.

Feb 21 2009 by Brian Dohn for the LA Daily News
Holiday's play for UCLA in question

A poor defensive first half landed Jrue Holiday on UCLA's bench for the opening nine minutes, 58 seconds of the second half.

The freshman guard from Campbell Hall of North Hollywood conducted a quick brain inventory for the last time he was benched to that degree, and couldn't find anything.

He also couldn't find a problem with coach Ben Howland's decision during No. 20 UCLA's 82-81 loss to Washington State on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.

"Malcolm (Lee) was paying better," Holiday said. "It's coach's decision and I can't do anything about it, so I'm not going to pout about it and be angry about it. I'm going to cheer on my team.

"I have to get up and support my team. ... I was thinking of what I was doing wrong on defense."
(Read more...)

Feb 22 2009 By David Wharton for the LA Times
Coach Howland doesn't like what he sees of Jrue Holiday's defense
The freshman guard sits in the second half after a big first half by Washington State's Klay Thompson.

If Ben Howland was upset by his team's defensive effort in Saturday's 82-81 loss to Washington State, the UCLA coach made it clear at the beginning of the second half.

Guard Jrue Holiday, a starter, remained on the bench after the man he was guarding -- Washington State's Klay Thompson -- had scored 15 points in the first 20 minutes.

"It's just that he defensively was breaking down on some of his responsibilities, which is to trail the shooter and not go underneath screens," Howland said of Holiday.

The freshman, for his part, did not see a big problem.

"I thought I played defense well," Holiday said. "He was just knocking down shots. He was firing and they were going in."

Howland pointed out that Thompson was held scoreless in the second half, which began with reserve guard Malcolm Lee on the court.

"We're going to have to play him more," the coach said. "He's our best defensive wing right now." (Read more...)

Howland says he’ll stick with Holiday
When Malcolm Lee played the majority of the second half against Washington State Saturday, some people wondered if Lee would be nudging past Jrue Holiday for the starting two-guard spot.

Coach Ben Howland ended that speculation on Tuesday at his media conference.

“There’s not going to be a change in the starting lineup, not as of this moment,” Howland said (who has been impressed with Malcolm, even comparing him to former Bruin guard, Russell Westbrook). (Read more...)

Jrue Holiday, John McDonough/SI

Feb 25 2009 By DAN WEBER for The Press-Enterprise
Malcolm Lee: UCLA looks to North grad for D
The 6-5 freshman guard may be part of the answer for a team questioning its usually stout defense.

There were precious few favorable reviews for UCLA after it gave up 82 points to offensively challenged Washington State in Saturday's upset loss.

But there was one positive and it didn't focus on any of the five starters.

Malcolm Lee, they're talking about you.

UCLA coach Ben Howland said he appreciated the attitude the 6-foot-5 freshman guard brought to the court. "When you get scored on, you have to take it personally," Howland said, watching his team built on defense allow Pac-10opponents to score on a shockingly high 47.7 percent of their field-goal attempts.

Added Howland: "One guy that is, is Malcolm," the Riverside North grad who started the second half and helped cool off the Cougars' hot-starting Klay Thompson.

"He's a long athletic guy," senior Josh Shipp said of Lee, "and he's done whatever it takes to get minutes. Saturday that was on defense."

Freshman Jrue Holiday, who was replaced by Lee in the second-half lineup, didn't disagree.

"I think Malcolm should have been playing before. He's a great defensive player. That's why he was recruited. He's long and he can jump higher than I can."
(Read more...)

Feb 25, 2009 by Brian Dohn on Inside UCLA LA Daily News
Lee's playing time
UCLA coach Ben Howland said after the Washington State loss he learned he needed to play freshman guard Malcolm Lee more minutes.

"One thing he gave me was a lot of condifence to go in there and be solid offensively," Howland said Tuesday. "He had a good game for us on that end of the floor Saturday, where he didn't get sped up."

Howland said he would remain with the same starting lineup the Bruins used the last few months, and Lee would come off the bench. (Read more...)

So, there you go, folks. As of Feb 25, Jrue remains a starter, but Malcolm is starting to state his case with enough proof that Coach B is contemplating giving the young Malcolm more minutes. Carry on, boys.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just in case you missed it...

on Feb 21 2009, Renardo Sidney struggles to take lid off of box that contain his soon-to-be lid

HEH, who needs dialogue?

Then on Feb 25 2009
UCLA basketball: Renardo Sidney clues

Fairfax High big man Renardo Sidney recently opted for USC over UCLA, though the Bruins were widely reported to have dropped their recruitment of him. Why?

One possibility is that they were concerned about his eligibility based on the NCAA’s amateurism guidelines.

Until recently, Sidney’s father was taking $20,000 yearly from Reebok. Though that is not an NCAA violation by itself, it does lead to other questions.


From the story:
And it was in this system that Sidney thrived. “He blew up in A.A.U. basketball,” says Renardo Sr., who, until his contract expired recently, earned about $20,000 a year as a Reebok “consultant,” a job that mostly entailed shepherding his son to Reebok-sponsored events. In 2007, Renardo Sr. started his own grass-roots outfit, the L.A. Dream Team, sponsored by Reebok and coached by Renardo Sr. himself. (He also mentors kids and works as a sort of personal trainer for other aspiring basketball players.) (Read more...)