Saturday, August 29, 2009

UCLA's Revised 2009-2010 schedule

UCLA Revises 2009-10 Men's Basketball Schedule
Official UCLA Men's Basketball Website

Kansas, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Colorado State and New Mexico State highlight non-conference slate

Aug. 5, 2009

UCLA's 2009-10 men's basketball schedule is highlighted by non-conference contests in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, during Thanksgiving weekend; a home date with Kansas (preseason No. 1 by Andy Katz of ESPN) in the Pac-10/Big 12 Series (Dec. 6) and a trip to Notre Dame, Ind., to face the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (Dec. 19).

In all, the schedule features 12 games against teams that were in the field of 65 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and another possible three games against NCAA Tournament teams in the 76 Classic.

The field for the ESPN 76 Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center is very impressive. Joining UCLA will be Butler, Clemson, Long Beach State, Minnesota, Portland, Texas A&M and West Virginia. Six of the eight teams in the 76 Classic made the 2009 NCAA Tournament field (excluding Portland and Long Beach State). UCLA will open against Portland and then play either Butler or Minnesota the following day.

The Bruins will also play in the 16th annual Wooden Classic on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Honda Center in Anaheim against Mississippi State. This will be UCLA's seventh consecutive Wooden Classic appearance and 13th overall (9-3 in prior contests). Last year, the Bruins defeated DePaul 72-54 in the Wooden Classic.

"This year's schedule is very ambitious with the young team that we are going to have," Ben Howland said. "There are a lot of outstanding teams that we are going to play. The 76 Classic field is very impressive and Kansas will be a top five team in the polls. We also have a return trip to Notre Dame, which is always a tough place to play."

Other non-conference highlights include -- opening the regular season at home with three local teams (Cal State Fullerton/Nov. 16; Cal State Bakersfield/Nov. 20 and Pepperdine/Nov. 23) in Pauley Pavilion before entering the 76 Classic.

The Bruins also host three other non-conference teams (New Mexico State/Dec. 15; Colorado State/Dec. 22 and Delaware State/Dec. 27) before beginning Pac-10 play.

UCLA opens conference play on New Year's Eve at home with Arizona State (Dec. 31). The 2009 Pac-10 Tournament, featuring all 10 teams, will once again be held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles (March 10-13).

"The Pac-10 is going to competitive again this year," Howland added. "Washington is going to be very good again as will California. Six teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament out of our Conference in each of the last two years, so it is going to be a tough race."

In 2008-09, UCLA finished with a 26-9 overall record and a second-place finish in the Pac-10 Conference (13-5) and ended the year with a No. 18 ranking in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and the Associated Press poll. The Bruins return only one starter (senior Nikola Dragoviæ), but welcome in their second straight top-five recruiting class.

The schedule is tentative and subject to change due to television.

Tentative 2009-10 UCLA Men's Basketball Schedule
Date, Opponent
Wed., Nov. 4, Concordia (Exhibition)
Tue., Nov. 10 Humboldt State (Exhibition)
Mon., Nov. 16, Cal State Fullerton
Fri., Nov. 20, Cal State Bakersfield
Mon., Nov. 23, Pepperdine
Thu., Nov. 26, Portland @ 76 Classic in Anaheim
Fri., Nov. 27, Minnesota/Butler @ 76 Classic in Anaheim
Sun., Nov. 29, 76 Classic in Anaheim
Sun., Dec. 6, Kansas (Pac-10/Big 12 Series)
Sat., Dec. 12, Mississippi State @ Wooden Classic
Tue., Dec. 15, New Mexico State
Sat., Dec. 19, @ Notre Dame
Tue., Dec. 22, Colorado State
Sun., Dec. 27, Delaware State
Thu., Dec. 31, Arizona State
Sat., Jan. 2, Arizona
Wed., Jan. 6, @ California
Sat., Jan. 9, @ Stanford
Sat., Jan. 16, USC
Thu., Jan. 21, Washington
Sat., Jan. 23, Washington State
Thu., Jan. 28, @ Oregon
Sat., Jan. 30, @ Oregon State
Thu., Feb. 4, Stanford
Sat., Feb. 6, California
Sun., Feb. 14, @ USC
Thu., Feb. 18, @ Washington State
Sat., Feb. 20, @ Washington
Thu., Feb. 25, Oregon State
Sat., Feb. 27, Oregon
Thu., Mar. 4, @ Arizona
Sat., Mar. 6, @ Arizona State
Mar. 10-13, Pac-10 Tournament @ Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Mar. 18-21, NCAA First and Second Round
Mar. 25-28, NCAA Regional
Apr. 3 & 5, NCAA Final Four
All games broadcast on the UCLA/ISP Sports Network (AM 570 KLAC in Los Angeles).

Is it November yet?

Luc returns

Getty Images

Going back to root of dreams
by Michael Hunt
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
Posted: Aug. 25, 2009

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was so motivated by an NBA-sponsored camp that he left Africa a week later to enroll in a Florida high school.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was so motivated by an NBA-sponsored camp that he left Africa a week later to enroll in a Florida high school.
Close St. Francis - Luc Richard Mbah a Moute remembers being 15 or so when he left his home in Cameroon to attend a NBA-sponsored camp in Johannesburg.

When it was over, a woman addressed the young players from across Africa.

Mbah a Moute's English wasn't so good, so this is what he thought he heard her say:

"If you see me again, you will have made it."

Typical teenager he was, Mbah a Moute recalls rolling his eyes and thinking, Who is this person and what is she talking about?

Several years later, when Mbah a Moute was interviewing with Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond before the 2008 draft, the memory resurfaced during their conversation.

The woman, Hammond told him, was Kim Bohuny, the NBA's vice president for international basketball operations.

Suddenly, it all made sense.

"It was funny," Mbah a Moute said Tuesday. "Later, I called her and told her I was in the NBA and that I wanted to see her, because until I saw her, the dream was not complete."

In a way, the dream is perpetuating itself.

Next week, the Bucks' small forward will become the NBA's first player to make the jump from camper to counselor in the seven years the league has been involved with Basketball Without Borders, the three-continent program from which gifted players throughout the world have a chance to experience the game from those at its highest level.

Mbah a Moute will return to Johannesburg - accompanied by the likes of Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and Bob Lanier - to teach and deliver the kind of message no one before had been able to make.

"That's something I'm excited about, to go and tell those kids that I was in their shoes," Mbah a Moute said. "I was sitting right there myself and thinking, 'How can I get to the NBA?'

"I wish there was one guy when I was there who said, 'I was in your shoes.' It would have made it easier for me. It would have given me a lot more hope that, yeah, man, I can make it. If a guy who came to this camp can make it, I can make it, also."

Now, Mbah a Moute can be that guy.

The camp motivated him to the point that he left Africa a week later to enroll in a Florida high school, which led to a UCLA scholarship, which led the NBA. From the time he picked up a basketball, he knew he wanted to be an NBA player. Before the camp, there was no one to tell him how.

"It's a dream," he said. "This past year was a dream come true, especially from my perspective, which is their perspective. The NBA seems so far.

"Here in America, you might have a kid in your neighborhood or city who went to the NBA. You might have an NBA team in your city. Where I'm from, you have to wake up at 3 in the morning to watch a game.

"To come from there and make the NBA is a dream come true. That's what I'm going to tell them, man. I'm going to tell them it's worth the work. I think I've got one of the best jobs in the world and I got that by working hard. I want them to feel the same way and have that, too."

Last February, when Bohuny came to Milwaukee as part of her league tour, Mbah a Moute took her to dinner and they talked about that day in South Africa.

Suddenly, the dream was complete.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Vidz on Drew, Malcolm and Reeves

Recent Mixtapes of sophomore forward, Drew Gordon

sophomore guard, Malcolm Lee

and frosh forward Reeves Nelson.

Pretty crackin. Thanks,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kevin Love: Team USA baller?

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Love, Team USA begin courtship
by Scott Howard-Cooper
Posted: Monday August 17, 2009 12:53PM; Updated: Monday August 17, 2009 2:07PM

Story Highlights
- Kevin Love's solid shooting, passing and rebounding are good fits for Team USA
- Love says he believes he can be a 'glorified role player' with Olympic squad
- As a rookie, Love averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 boards per game with Minnesota

He was a major recruit out of high school who played for a major program in college and became a lottery pick after one starring season at UCLA. His uncle is a Beach Boy, his father a former NBA forward. He has a bouncy personality and leads a double life as a reporter, breaking the news via Twitter that Kevin McHale was out as Timberwolves coach, another jealous professional athlete trying to crash the media world of money and groupies.

This is the guy under the radar?

Yes, this is the guy.

Without much public acclaim, without serious backing as a young star of the game, without a great deal of notice in the Twin Cities in a summer dominated by nonstop roster moves and wonder over the next Ricky Rubio development, Minnesota power forward Kevin Love has ascended into an ideal and legitimate candidate to join the Dream Team. Maybe as soon as 2010 for Turkey and the world championships, maybe with the slight delay of '12 and the Olympics in London, but it's a real chance at some point.

Love was always an ideal candidate, actually. His game and his makeup are too perfect for international play and for the USA Basketball bosses who want a few role players to mix in with the glamour: good shooter for a big man, great passer, a rebounder to start the fast break, advanced court sense. That's the international game.

It's just that now he's a legitimate candidate. Love had a good showing at the Team USA minicamp last month in Las Vegas -- despite early foul trouble that kept him to 17 minutes in the one game -- and reinforced his status as fundamentally sound, smart and the prototype international player, according to someone associated with the team. He is not a great defender, but did well handling the pick-and-roll, and the United States sees a ton of pick-and-roll. He is not athletic, but Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski have said many times they are not looking only for decathletes.

"I just think the glorified role player is something I can be," Love said, his campaign literature ready. "That guy who does a lot of things and makes everyone better."

Among the prospects who gathered in Vegas as one step to eventually making the next Dream Team (the roster that won gold at the Beijing Games got the summer off), Kevin Durant was the clear star. He's bound for Turkey, bound for London, bound for another few rotations with USA Basketball. Nobody else put themselves in position for the future the way Durant did. But Love likely put himself among about 25 players who, sometime close to the start of the regular season, will be on a working list for 2010, probably along with, in no particular order, Rudy Gay, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo.

The Love twist is that he's the furthest from a headliner among that group with a good chance to be invited back. When a leaguewide vote of assistant coaches determined the rosters for the rookie-sophomore game at All-Star weekend, he got passed over despite leading all first-year players in rebounds and the entire league in offensive boards per 48 minutes. When head coaches picked the All-Rookie team after the season, he received the seventh-most votes despite trailing only Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor for total offensive rebounds while averaging 11.1 points in just 25.3 minutes. All of which makes him a pretty good newcomer in the eyes of the experts. Nothing more.

The USA Basketball list is fluid and can and probably will change during 2009-10, before invitations are sent out for Dream Team training camp next summer in Las Vegas. Blake Griffin, forced from the July sessions by a shoulder injury, is enough of a prospect that it wouldn't be a surprise if he jumped ahead of Love with a showcase season as a Clipper. Or Love, headed toward being a full-time starter in Minnesota after making the opening lineup just 31 times last season, could average a double-double and make the smart play more as a 21-year-old than a lot of veterans. The course of careers could be changing in the next few months.

"It's a huge deal for me," Love said. "Priority No. 1 for me is a successful season with the Timberwolves and winning there. Outside of that, making USA Basketball is a priority. Playing for Coach K and wearing 'USA' across my jersey is a huge deal for me."

The list of 25 or so includes the core of the reigning Olympic champions, the kids hoping to fill the four or so spots expected to turn over from Beijing and, not to be forgotten, NBA veterans who have not been on the national team. Chauncey Billups -- shooter, point guard, quality guy -- is a candidate for the backcourt that will likely replace Jason Kidd and Michael Redd. Lamar Odom -- versatile, ball-handler -- could be as unique a dimension for international play as for the Lakers and earn a spot.

That group will be boiled down to about 16 for the training camp. Those players will drill in Vegas and then tour their way to Turkey, with two or three exhibitions in the United States and two or three more in Europe to reacclimate themselves to the international game and the time change. Finally, the 16 will be trimmed to 12 within days of the opening of the world championships.

The second half of his rookie season and the minicamp moved Love into position to challenge for a spot. The same guy who, at the moment, has been in the league one season and didn't make the rookie game or the All-Rookie team. The same guy with 31 starts.

The same guy somehow under the radar.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hornet Darren Collison speaks

Very nice article on DC in the LA Times.

Talking with Darren Collison
2:19 PM, July 21, 2009

There is, to say the least, a pretty vast difference in competition between the NBA's Summer League, which wrapped up Sunday and is filled with top draft choices, some good second-year players and a whole lot of chaff, and the NBA's fall edition filled with, like, Kobe Bryant and stuff. So it's important to take everything you see there with a grain of salt. That said, in my very limited chance to watch former UCLA/Rancho Cucamonga product Darren Collison play last weekend -- about 18 minutes of burn against T-Wolves lottery pick Jonny Flynn before he suffered a minor ankle injury -- and thought he looked good (as did others), and for the week Collison posted some strong stat lines.

I caught up with Collison for a few minutes Saturday afternoon.

Q: Summer League obviously isn't quite the same thing as what you'll see in the fall, but it's still your first taste of the NBA life and NBA competition. What has been your impression?

Collison: It's been crazy. Just learning how to play the system, it's a lot different than college. Especially playing (the same system) for four years. But playing for four years at the second-highest level can get you ready for this level in ways. The game is a lot slower and a lot more paced out, and there's still a lot of things I've got to learn, but all in all it's a lot of fun.

Q: Especially playing for Ben Howland, where things are really slow and paced out.

Collison: Definitely, but the thing about Coach Howland is that he emphasizes defense. It comes a long way when you're playing with Coach [Byron] Scott, because that's what he's going to emphasize himself. It's a good thing to have played with [Howland]. He's always going to tell you things to help you improve, and he's done that.

Q: You're going in to back up who I think is the best point guard in the NBA in Chris Paul. He plays long minutes, for good reason. Have you talked at all with the coaching staff about what your role will be? How you fit in?

Collison: Not really, not as of right now. I can't tell you how many minutes I'm going to play, but I can tell you my game. Just to come off the bench and give that spark. Try to make the second string a lot faster than it was last year. I think they're trying to get more stability in that second string, because whenever Chris Paul went out they didn't have anybody to really run the offense and push up-tempo. I want to, if possible, make things a little faster than how they were playing but not lose sight of the way the game is being played since Chris is coming out.

Q: When the Hornets drafted you, what was your reaction? Were you excited to get a chance to play with Paul, or wondering how much you'd actually get on the floor because you'd be backing him up?

Collison: Well, my natural reaction was just with being drafted, period. You don't tend to worry about who you're going to be playing with or who you're going to be playing behind. My natural reaction was just the fact that I got drafted, since there was so much hard work that came into it. I was just excited. Then after, when it was all said and done I was like, "Okay, I'm playing behind Chris Paul." Which is not a bad thing. If I want to become a great point guard in this league, I'm going to have to learn from one of the best.

Q: Were you happy in the end with the decision to stay in school for your senior year? I know you considered leaving a year before.

Collison: Yeah. Getting drafted, playing behind Chris, you can't be any more excited. This is a great feeling, and I'm in a great situation. This is a pick-and-roll system, which is good for me. All of my years at UCLA were successful. I had a lot of fun at UCLA, and it paid off. I tried to win a national championship for the school, and unfortunately couldn't, but they're in good hands. But when it's all said and done, I think I made the right decision.

Q: Where do you feel that last year benefited you? Where did you improve?

Collison: Maturity as a point guard. How to get others involved, how to get myself involved. The game has slowed down a lot more, and just attacking at all times. I notice that every good player that I've seen so far, his attack has been real successful, so I've tried to do that.

Q: Playing in Vegas, you've had a chance to match up against some good point guards. Jonny Flynn with Minnesota, Nick Young [Washington] has played well, and so on. What have you been able to pick up from these matchups? Who has been fun to play against?

Collison:I thought Jonny was cool to play against. He's a small point guard, but is real quick and deceptive. He can really get others involved. I just try to pick up things against anybody. I played against [San Antonio's] George Hill in my first game. He's experienced, and probably one of the best point guards I've played so far. There's a lot of things I can learn from everybody. These guys, they've been there before and I just want to take a little from every point guard, and take it with me.

Q: A lot of your former teammates are here. Josh Shipp playing with the Bulls, Alfred Aboya is playing, and so on. Is it strange to see guys in different uniforms?

Collison: It's kind of weird, but at the same time it's exciting. You see guys do well and it rubs off on you and becomes contagious, because you know if he can do well than I can do well because we played with one another. We're all good people off the court, we're all good friends off the court, and it's real encouraging when we see one another have success.

Q: I'm sure you're pulling for them, since those guys are in a different spot than you [Collison was a first-round pick, while his former teammates were in Vegas trying to earn invitations to training camp or work their way onto a roster].

Collison: Yeah, every situation is different. Look at Russell [Westbook, drafted last year by Oklahoma City]. Kevin [Love, now in Minnesota] and Luc [Richard Mbah a Moute, playing for the Bucks], they're situation is different from us. Josh and Lorenzo [Mata Real], their situation may be different than mine, but at the same time they're all going to have their opportunities, and when they do I think they're going to milk that process.

-- Brian Kamenetzky

Thursday, August 6, 2009

OT: Syracuse 2009 NCAA Lacrosse Champs!!!

Video credit, suathletics

Better late than never. Congratulations, Big Orange.

Amazing rally lifts Syracuse University men's lacrosse team past Cornell in OT
Posted by Dave Rahme/The Post-Standard
May 25, 2009 8:06PM

Foxboro, Mass. - The legend grows.

The Syracuse University men's lacrosse team, down three goals with four minutes to play and the ball in Cornell's possession, staged an unlikely, incredible four-goal rally Monday afternoon to defeat the Big Red 10-9 and win its second consecutive Division I national championship on Cody Jamieson's crease shot off a pass from Dan Hardy 1 minute, 20 seconds into sudden-death overtime.

"As soon as I shot it didn't even look. I just started running (the other way in celebration)," Jamieson said. "I knew it was in."

The climax came after senior attackman Kenny Nims sent the game into OT with a lunging wrap-around goal with only 4.5 seconds remaining in regulation in front of a Gillette Stadium Memorial Day crowd of 41,935 and a national television audience.

"I'm just speechless," said Nims, whose lone goal was enough to earn him honors as the game's Most Outstanding Player.

It was fitting, because in this case deeds spoke louder than words.

It began with Cornell in possession of the ball and a 9-8 lead with 28 seconds to burn before hoisting its first championship trophy since 1977. It was 4.5 seconds too long. It attempted to clear the ball out of its end of the field but failed, as swarming SU riders knocked it to the ground. SU attackman Stephen Keogh picked it up and flung a no-look over-the-shoulder pass that somehow found Matt Abbott, who turned and sprinted toward the Cornell cage.

"I caught it, and I turned around and saw two guys coming toward me and behind them I saw Nimmer," Abbott said, "and his man (Matt Moyer) was one of the guys who came to me, so I knew he was open. I spun around and just kind of threw it over my shoulder. I had to roll back because he (Moyer) was checking me. I don't even know how I threw it . . . just over my shoulder, and it went right to Nimmer and he finished."

The amazing pass, unleashed with Abbott in the air and his body twisting away from Nims, glanced off the stick of Cornell midfielder Roy Lang, although not enough to change the ball's path. It was then Nims vs. his former teammate, Cornell goalie Jake Myers, with the game in the balance. What was he thinking?

"Don't step in the crease, don't let Jake come out and take it away from me, don't shoot stick on stick," Nims said. "Everything I've ever been taught kind of flashed before my eyes. All the times a goalie's made a save on me one-on-one kind of flashed right before me, and I just took an extra step toward the middle and went around him."

So did the ball.

"That's why Matt Abbott and Kenny Nims are All-Americans, that right there," SU midfielder Pat Perritt said. "That's what they'll do at the end of the game. That's what an All-American will do."

"I did the easy part," Nims said. "What Matt did was one of the greatest plays I've ever seen. He was falling backward, both feet off the ground and made a pass right to me."

The dramatic tally capped a furious, desperate flurry in which Keogh, Jamieson and Nims scored in the final 3:37 to forge a 9-all tie from what to that point had been a masterful Cornell performance.

"It was pretty crazy with the way Cornell had done such a great job controlling the tempo of the game," SU coach John Desko said. "For the last three playoff games they've been doing the same thing. They beat Princeton in the regular season that way. They beat Virginia, maybe the most talented team in the country, a few days ago. And for them to come back out and follow the same game plan, win faceoffs and control it, things didn't look good for about 57 minutes"

Suddenly, they were great. And SU's prospects got even brighter when SU defender Sid Smith checked the ball out of Ryan Hurley's stick after Cornell won the critical faceoff in sudden-death, picked up the loose ball and flipped it to Abbott for a sprint downfield. Shortly afterward the ball was in Hardy's stick for a high-percentage shot from his favorite spot, 10 yards to Myers' front and left.

"I thought he was going to shoot," Jamieson said. "It's Dan Hardy, and he can take that shot anytime he wants."

Instead, Hardy noticed Jamieson's defender sprinting his way full-speed, seemed to change his mind and went high to dump a pass to Jamieson.

"Everyone was telling me I had a shot," Hardy said, "but I saw him (the defender) coming up pretty hard and I lost my footing a little bit and just tried to dump it down to Cody because I knew he was wide open down there. I knew he was going to catch it if I just got it near his stick. He doesn't miss many of those shots. I knew he was going to put it away, especially at that time of the game."

Even as Jamieson ducked under to wrap the low shot past Myers, Hardy's gloves were on their way skyward, soon to be followed by the sticks, gloves and helmets of his teammates as they sprinted downfield and mobbed John Galloway (10 saves) in front the SU cage.

Syracuse's first lead of the game became the only one that mattered. The seniors who endured the worst season in 35 years, 5-8 in 2007, finished 32-4 and became the first repeat champions since Princeton in 1996-98.

"Nothing's going to match this one," Nims said, "especially on the stage it was on and the opponent."

It was a worthy opponent, as Cornell (13-4) imposed its fierce will on the Orange at both ends of the field for nearly 57 minutes. In the end it needed 60 to prevent SU from winning the 11th title in its storied history and fifth in Desko's 11 seasons as head coach. (The NCAA stripped SU of its 1990 championship due to rules infractions.)

"I could not be more proud of the effort of a group of guys who didn't seem to get a whole lot of credit coming here," Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni said, "but battled through two pretty tough lacrosse games and almost pulled this one off."

"They played like champions today," Abbott said. "I feel for those guys, playing that well, but at the same time I'm so happy for my teammates and fellow seniors. This is the way we wanted to go out, and we got it done."

And added to the growing legend that is Syracuse lacrosse.