Saturday, September 19, 2009

Russell Westbrook: Nothing's change

Same old, same old for RW in his first year in the pros. Nasty rimrockers. Thanks to NBAChrisPaul for the video on "The Hammer of Oklahoma City". At 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists per game, +14.68 efficiency rating (whatever that means, although + is better than -) to boot. Absolute stud. Stats courtesy of

UCLA connection: Earl Watson assist to Russell for the alleyhoop jam at the 1:14 mark (plus a cold shiver to the defense). Ala Earl to JaRon Rush, Jerome Moiso, Baron Davis, etc, etc...

2009-2010 Freshmen

Elie Seckbach reporting from Westwood on the new kids on the block, Reeves Nelson, Anthony Stover and Brendan Lane. He also talks to Coach John Wooden, Josh Shipp, and Jordan Farmar about (what else) UCLA basketball.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jordan Farmar: Even better off the hardwood

When Jordan is not running and gunning with the Los Angeles Lakers, he is heavily involved in charity work in the LA community through his Jordan Farmar Foundation. Jordan describes the foundation's mission on its website "The Jordan Farmar Foundation supports charitable programs that build value, develop character, create opportunities, and foster positive attitudes, with an emphasis on youth programs in Southern California."

Definitely, one of the highlights of the foundation's work is their involvement with the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. Jordan and his Laker mates (including fellow alum, Trevor Ariza) have visited children at the hospital -- a lot of them are suffering from terminal illnesses -- trying to bring joy to the children in a way that their status as famous NBA stars allows them. And Jordan is not into showcasing his charity work in the media, his focus are solely the children and the community. However, we as outsiders are truly blessed, I think, that Jordan has allowed Elie Seckbach (I love this guy, by the way, although not as much as I love Jordan) to report on the foundation's charity work.

Jordan goes international
Jordan has also tried his shot at international diplomacy, trying in his small way to bring peace to the Middle East, trying to bring the Jews and Arabs a little closer. Last year, he visited Israel and held a clinic among Jewish and Arab children. Again, Elie Seckbach reporting:

Jordan also holds a basketball summer camp for children at UCLA. Here is the link to his camp, Hoop Farm.

Thanks, Jordan, for allowing us to hear and witness all the great work that you do off of the basketball court. I know you've hesitated to have the media cover your charity work. You are not about the media hype, I know that. But being able to hear about all the non-basketball work that you do has definitely blessed me, as, I am sure, it has blessed others. You have been blessed. Thanks for putting your blessings to good use. You are simply a class act. Thank you for all you are doing for the children and the community, locally and abroad. And thanks, too, to your Mom, Mindy Kolani Farmar, for encouraging you to start your foundation. May God continually bless you, your family, your foundation and all the work that you do.

Some important links:
Jordan Farmar's Official website,
The Jordan Farmar Foundation
Jordan Farmar's basketball camp, Hoop Farm

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

UCLA 2008-2009 Highlights

TmoneyReally's "Amazing" video of highlights from the 2008-2009 season. This video is downright crackin.

Thanks, TmoneyReally!

Kevin Love on ... a lot of things

Kris Johnson and another dude (dudes?) talk to Kevin Love about tons of stuff: Ryan Hollins joining the Wolves, Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, Shaq, Twitter, Madsen's love life. I think that's all of it. Thanks,!

Former Bruins Farmar and Westbrook return to Westwood was able to chat with former Bruins Jordan Farmar and Russell Westbrook while the two were on campus this summer. Both men talked about their NBA careers so far, what they are doing this summer, Jordan's charity work (real cool), Jordan's championship run with the Lakers, what they miss about UCLA, and other real cool stuff. Thanks,!

Jordan Farmar

Russell Westbrook

Continued best of luck, Jordan and Russell!!! GO, BRUINS!!!

Coach Ben Howland's outlook for the 2009-2010 season

UCLA alumnus Kris Johnson had a chance to talk to Coach Ben Howland on his outlook for the 2009-2010 season. Thanks,

Luc in the news again

Picture cred:,
It's really hard to keep a good man down. Luc is in the news again with his great work in Africa.

Bringing the N.B.A. a Little Closer to Africa
The New York Times
Published: September 8, 2009

The first-time counselor remembered exactly where he sat as a wide-eyed camper. He pointed to the spot and informed his audience that he was in that very space just six years ago.

The campers, about 70 strong, responded as if Luc Mbah a Moute had told them a joke.

“They laughed, like they couldn’t believe it was possible,” he said.

On the telephone from Johannesburg, Mbah a Moute (pronounced BAH-ah-MOO-tay) said he could understand the youthful skepticism, notwithstanding the living proof that one — if only one of a very large number — could make the leap from teenage African camper to N.B.A. millionaire and missionary.

Mbah a Moute, a Cameroonian rookie with the Milwaukee Bucks last season, was back in Africa last week as the first alumnus of the camp, which is part of the N.B.A.’s Basketball Without Borders program, to return to it as an N.B.A. player and counselor.

“The kids here are not like Americans because to them the N.B.A. is so far away,” said Mbah a Moute, a 6-foot-8 forward. “I remember that feeling. Even though some Africans have made it, you can’t actually grasp the possibility until you leave the continent.”

What were the odds for Mbah a Moute’s even being chosen to attend the first such camp in 2003 as a gangly 16-year-old from Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital? He didn’t play basketball until age 14, when he and his twin, Emmanuel Bidias a Moute, began shooting at a backboard and rim on a streetlight pole in the Etoa-Meki neighborhood of central Yaoundé.

Within two years, Mbah a Moute was the best youth player in his country, with an invitation for the N.B.A. camp at the American International School of Johannesburg. (To continue reading this article as well as check out some cool pics of lrmm in action, click here)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

UCLA Men's Basketball Roster 2009-10

UCLA just released the roster for the 2009-10 basketball season.

2009-10 Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year Hometown (Last School)
0 Drew Gordon f 6-8 235 SO San Jose, CA (Archbishop Mitty)
1 Mike Moser f 6-8 195 FR Portland, OR (Grant)
2 Spencer Soo g 5-8 160 JR Fresno, CA (Central)
3 Malcolm Lee g 6-5 180 SO Moreno Valley, CA (John W. North)
4 Tyler Trapani g 6-0 185 SO Simi Valley, CA (Simi Valley)
5 Jerime Anderson g 6-1 165 SO Anaheim, CA (Canyon)
10 Mustafa Abdul-Hamid g 6-2 195 RS JR St. Louis, MO (Country Day)
11 Reeves Nelson f 6-8 225 FR Modesto, CA (Modesto Christian)
12 Anthony Stover c 6-10 225 FR Pasadena, CA (Windward School)
13 James Keefe f 6-8 238 SR Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (Santa Margarita)
14 Alex Schrempf f 6-5 210 FR Seattle, WA (Bellevue)
15 Blake Arnet g 6-0 185 SO Laguna Niguel, CA (Mater Dei)
20 Michael Roll g 6-5 200 SR Aliso Viejo, CA (Aliso Niguel)
21 Brendan Lane f 6-9 205 FR Rocklin, CA (Rocklin)
22 J'mison Morgan c 6-10 248 SO Dallas, TX (South Oak Cliff)
23 Tyler Honeycutt f 6-9 180 FR Los Angeles, CA (Sylmar)
24 Matt DeMarcus g 6-3 190 SO Solvang, CA (Santa Ynez Valley Union)
41 Nikola Dragović f 6-9 216 SR Belgrade, Serbia (Second Secondary School of Economics)

Coaching/Support Staff
Ben Howland - Head Coach
Donny Daniels - Assistant Coach
Scott Duncan - Assistant Coach
Scott Garson - Assistant Coach
Doug Erickson - Director of Basketball Administration
Joe Hillock - Director of Basketball Operations
Clay McKnight - Video Coordinator
Elliott Asarch - Manager
Justin Lai - Manager
Andrew Nobe - Head Manager

Support Staff:
Men's Basketball Athletic Trainer: Laef Morris
Men's Basketball Athletic Performance Coach: Wes Long
Men's Basketball SID: Ryan Finney
Men's Basketball Academic Coordinator: Kenny Donaldson
Men's Basketball Equipment Manager: Pete Maglieri

Pronunciation Guide:
Mustafa (moo-stah-fuh) Abdul-Hamid (Ab-dool-Hah-meed)
Jerime Anderson (like Jeremy)
Nikola (knee-co-luh) Dragovic (drahg-oh-vitch)
J'mison Morgan (jay-mis-son)
Mike Moser (MO-zur)

Saturday, September 5, 2009


So far, the only member of the Class of 2010 is 6-5 190 shooting guard Tyler Lamb (Mater Dei, Santa Ana,CA). However, UCLA is furiously pursuing/considering several players for this class. Notables are the #1 player in the nation Harrison Barnes (6-8 209 sf, Ames, Iowa) and the #10 player in the nation Josh Smith (6-10 270 c, Kentwood HS, Washington).

Here is the complete list of UCLA targets for 2010 as of Sept 4, 2009 c/o Scouts, Inc.-ESPN (2010 ranking at their position included):

Point Guards
Ray McCallum (#9pg, 6-1 179, Detroit Country Day, MI)
Phil Pressey (#7pg, 5-10 162, Episcopal School of Dallas, TX)
Trevord Releford (#11pg, 5-10 175, Bishop Miege, KS)
Gary Franklin, Jr. (#14pg, 6-2 183, Mater Dei, CA)

Shooting Guards
Vander Blue (#9sg, 6-3 185, James Madison Memorial, WI)
Trey Zeigler (#5sg, 6-5 190, Mount Pleasant, MI)

Small Forwards
Harrison Barnes (#1sf, 6-8 209, Ames, Iowa)
Anthony Brown (#16sf, 6-6 180, Ocean View, CA)
Terrence Jones (#3sf, 6-8 219, Jefferson, OR)

Power Forwards
Julian Washburn (#33pf, 6-8 205, St. Patrick, NJ)

Dwight Powell (#3c, 6-10 212, IMG Academy, FL)
Josh Smith (#1c, 6-10 270, Kentwood, WA)
Jeremy Tyler (post-hs, 6-11 255, San Diego HS, CA)

A couple of years ago, Kendall Williams (2010 #31pg, 6-2 170, Los Osos HS, CA) had committed to UCLA. However, he pulled out of his commitment, a mutually-agreed upon decision between him and UCLA. Williams mentioned that around the time of his commitment, UCLA had told him that he was the only point guard they would be pursuing for 2010. However, recently, UCLA has started recruiting several point guards in Williams' class, namely, Ray McCallum (#9pg, 6-1 179, Detroit Country Day, MI), Phil Pressey (#7pg, 5-10 162, Episcopal School of Dallas, TX), Trevord Releford (#11pg, 5-10 175, Bishop Miege, KS) and Gary Franklin, Jr. (#14pg, 6-2 183, Mater Dei, CA). Because of this, Williams has chosen to back out of his commitment to UCLA:

UCLA loses another early verbal
Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos point guard Kendall Williams committed to the Bruins as a sophomore two years ago, but now he's playing the field again.

By Eric Sondheimer
Los Angeles Times
July 29, 2009 | 2:59 p.m.

Two years ago, on the day that then-sophomore guard Kendall Williams from Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos announced he had committed to UCLA, he told me, "I've talked to Coach [Ben] Howland and on both ends it's as strong as signing."

Yeah, right. And marriages last forever.

Williams, now a senior, confirmed Wednesday that he is no longer considering UCLA after he and Howland mutually agreed to part ways.

This is the second time a young high school basketball player offered by Howland had a change of plans. In 2003, freshman Taylor King of Santa Ana Mater Dei committed to the Bruins but never made it to Westwood. That was another "mutual agreement."

It has been clear for weeks that the 6-foot-3 Williams was no longer the point guard the Bruins wanted even though he remains a top player and shouldn't have any trouble getting another scholarship. The evidence was demonstrated by UCLA recruiting point guards Ray McCallum from Detroit Country Day and Gary Franklin Jr. of Mater Dei.

Williams got the message.

"When I committed two years ago, I sat in the UCLA office and they told me that I would be the only point guard in the class that they'd offer," Williams said. "In the past year, they've gone back on that. I felt the loyalty wasn't there and confidence was lost in the head coach."

There are certain risks and rewards for coaches and players who agree to early commitments. The risk for a coach centers around an athlete who doesn't develop to a level projected. The risk for a player is when somebody else is recruited for the same position. The reward for a coach is to get a top player early. The reward for a player is to have a guaranteed scholarship waiting for him.

Luckily, there doesn't appear to be much harm done in this commitment gone awry.

Asked about Howland, Williams said, "We ended on a good note. There's no hard feelings."

Williams said he has learned to "weigh his options."

Howland is not permitted to comment under NCAA rules.

Update Sept 8 2009

OK. You can scratch Jeremy Tyler off that list.

Turns out Tyler had one-up Brandon Jennings and skipped his senior year in high school to play pro ball in Israel. This is what happens when you do not track high school recruiting professionally, you never have the time to read EVERYTHING.

Jeremy Tyler Leaves High School Early for Basketball in Israel
By Mason Levinson
Last Updated: August 13, 2009 12:25 EDT

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Jeremy Tyler became the first U.S.- born basketball player to leave high school early to play professionally overseas, joining Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League.

Tyler, who averaged 28.7 points a game as a junior at San Diego High School in California last season, is expected to return to the U.S. when he becomes eligible for the National Basketball Association draft in 2011, Haifa said in a news release posted on its Web site.

The one-year contract is worth $140,000, and includes an apartment, car, business-class plane tickets and satellite television, Sonny Vaccaro, an adviser to Tyler’s family, said in a telephone interview.

“He just wants to get better,” Vaccaro said in a telephone interview. “There is no immediate plan to go to the NBA. This is a very solid, good experience for him to be playing on a pro team and getting better.”

Tyler, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound (2.1-meter, 118-kilogram) center, will begin training with Haifa at the end of the month. The 18-year-old led his high-school team to the CIF-San Diego Section Division I quarterfinals last season.

“Tyler’s size and natural talent will present matchup problems in our favor against other teams in Israel,” Haifa coach Avi Ashkenazi said in a statement. “We know Tyler is hungry to prove himself on the court.”

On-Line Courses

Tyler announced his decision to forego his senior year of high school in April, rescinding a commitment to play at the University of Louisville. He intends on taking online courses toward his high-school diploma, Vaccaro said.

The international signing follows last year’s by American Brandon Jennings, who skipped his freshman year of college in favor of playing in Italy. Jennings was drafted 10th by the Milwaukee Bucks in the June NBA draft. Vaccaro, who also advised Jennings, said he learned from Jennings’s experience that it was best to surround Tyler with people who speak English.

“That poses a lot of problems for Americans going to Europe, and Brandon experienced that,” Vaccaro said.

Tyler turned down richer offers from other European teams in favor of Haifa, which has other American players, an English- speaking coach and American owner, Jeffrey Rosen, who lives in Miami.

“There was more money involved with two of the countries, but it wouldn’t have served his purpose,” Vaccaro said.

Haifa returned to the Premier League last season after a 10-year absence, reaching the championship game. The team has re-signed former USC forward Davon Jefferson and added former Florida State guard Jason Rich.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at

Friday, September 4, 2009

UCLA Target for 2010: Harrison Barnes 6-8 209 SF

vid cred

Harrison Barnes
Hometown Ames, IA
High School Ames High School
Ranked #1 High School Player Class of 2010
Position rank Small Forward # 1
Height 6'8"
Weight 209 lbs.

Scouts, Inc.-ESPN College Men's Basketball Recruiting

July, 2009: Barnes had some dominate possessions today (LeBron James Skills Academy). He displayed all around scoring ability. He knocked down open three's, attacked the lane and finished through contact and hit the mid range pull up. Barnes is a silky smooth player. He doesn't waste motion or energy. He never lets the defense speed him up. He simply takes his time and makes scoring plays repeatedly and competes on both ends of the floor. Not flashy just productive. Barnes length and smooth stroke allows him to knock down shots over smaller defenders with ease and he does a great job setting up his mid range jumper with a nice shot fake to raise the defender. He is a good rebounder on both ends and has the ability to lead the break and go coast to coast. Good ball handler and passer when he draws multiple defenders. Smart defender that uses a safe distance from live dribbles to keep the ball in front of him and does a great job of using his length and athletic ability to contest shots. Explosive above the rim finisher in transition with excellent hang time and concentration on the rim in the lane. Smooth skilled wing. (more...)

Ames' Barnes cuts college list to 6, including ISU
1:27 PM
Posted: Monday, August 24, 2009
Sioux City Journal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The mother of Ames, Iowa, basketball star Harrison Barnes says he has narrowed his list of potential college choices to six schools.

Shirley Barnes says her son, considered by many the top basketball player in the Class of 2010, is considering North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State.

She says Barnes will make an official visit to North Carolina on the first weekend of September and to Duke the weekend of Oct. 23.

Barnes' visits to Kansas, Oklahoma and UCLA are still being arranged. Barnes, a senior at Ames High, won't make an official visit to Iowa State since he lives just a mile from campus.

Shirley Barnes also says she doesn't believe her son will make a decision before the early signing period ends in November.

Harrison Barnes Narrows List of Colleges Des Moines
August 24, 2009

Ames High School basketball star Harrison Barnes has cut his college choice list to six and an Iowa school is on the list.

Harrison's mother, Shirley, tells Channel 13's Keith Murphy her son will visit the following schools this fall: North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Iowa State -- though he's already familiar with Iowa State, Shirley Barnes works there.

Harrison Barnes is considered by many to be the #1 high school recruit in America. As a Junior, he led Ames to a perfect season and state championship this past season.

Harrison Barnes: Now We Are Six
By John Naughton
Des Moines Register
August 24, 2009

Ames basketball star Harrison Barnes announced his top six college candidates.

I don’t think any Iowa high school basketball player has ever had a list of finalists like this: North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Iowa State and Oklahoma.

Each school offers its own set of advantages.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams did well with former Iowa preps Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich. The Tarheels are the defending NCAA champs.

Duke has one of the nation’s top programs. Academically, the school’s one of the best on Barnes’ list.

Kansas offers an elite program that is closer to home than the coastal schools. Iowans Collison, LaFrentz and Hinrich all followed their Jayhawk careers with NBA ones.

UCLA offers a rich tradition and a program that is thriving.

Oklahoma is an intriguing school on the list. The Sooners went 30-6 last year and reached the NCAA Elite Eight. The program doesn’t have the dynasty-type stature of some of the others, but there’s no question the team’s on a roll.

Iowa State is the most talked-about program on Barnes’ list. Some argue that he’s simply including the Cyclones because they’re his hometown school and that his mom works for the university.

He does have some deep ties to Iowa State. Among them, his Ames High teammate Doug McDermott’s dad is the coach.

Iowa high school elite stars seem to have done pretty well when they ventured to Kansas or went to Ames. I think Collison, LaFrentz and Hinrich are all happy with their choices — but Fred Hoiberg has never looked back on picking the Cyclones.

So who do you think Barnes will pick?

Harrison Barnes full of praise for schools on his list
By John Naughton
Des Moines Register
August 25, 2009

Harrison Barnes will take his first official college visit when he travels to NCAA champion North Carolina over the Labor Day weekend.

Barnes, the Ames basketball star who is considered by many to be the nation's top high school recruit, spoke to The Des Moines Register on Tuesday about the six schools that he'll consider.

He said he expects the schools to try to wow him. He said he plans to make his final choice after the high school season ends.

"Right now the biggest surprise will be when they pull out all the stops and they're trying to land me," Barnes said.

Barnes announced his decision to cut his list of finalists to six this week. The candidates: North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State and UCLA.

He'll travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., home of the team that cut down the nets as the NCAA champion last season.

Barnes said he'll pick away at his other visits. He's allowed five official visits by the NCAA, and plans to make an unofficial visit to Iowa State.

"I'm taking it one visit at a time," said Barnes, who has already made unofficial visits to several schools.

He gave the Register an analysis of his top six schools:

— North Carolina: "I was a big Michael Jordan fan. After visiting there, the university really stands on its own."

— Duke: "They have a great education. They have a great business school that could set me up after basketball."

- Kansas: "It's close to home and there's a great tradition there. Coach Bill Self has great player-coach relations."

— Oklahoma: "They're one of the hottest stocks right now. They've been bringing in great recruits. They definitely have a lot of my interest."

— UCLA: "They've been in three Final Fours in the last four years. They know how to win."

— Iowa State: "They've been bringing in some big- time players."

More Thoughts About Harrison Barnes
by Mark Kieffer
Clone Chronicles
Aug 24, 2009 7:28 PM CDT

After the latest update from Harrison Barnes, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what we've learned, what we already knew, and what happens next. In short, it's crazy trying to predict decisions a 17 year old guy is making (even a very bright one).

I was able to catch the last part of Harrison Barnes' interview this afternoon on the Murph & Andy Show on KXnO. Here's what I heard:

- He is not planning on committing anywhere until April (instead of the early signing period in November)
- ISU is still being considered. You don't live about a mile away from campus and not consider playing at home
- He is trying to arrange his visit to North Carolina over labor day weekend, and Duke in late October
- He is not planning on trimming the list again to a final two or three (at least not publicly).
- After thinking all day and taking the latest news in consideration, here is how I think of each school's chances:

Barnes has said in the past he's looking for a school that has good academics (particularly in business), and a legitimate shot at a National Championship. So here we go!

UCLA: Great program, good academics, but the location is far away. It's a beautiful campus, and sounds more of a destination visit than a serious recruiting trip, but who knows? It's the farthest on the list from home, and they tend to get less exposure nationally for an elite team. The weird thing about visiting college campuses, however, is how sometimes your lowest choice can turn into your top choice.

For Mark Kiefer's complete breakdown of Harrison Barnes' Final 6 schools, go to Clone Chronicles .

UCLA Target for 2010: Josh Smith 6-10 270 C

Vid cred

Josh Smith
Hometown Covington, WA
High School Kentwood High School
Ranked #10 High School player Class of 2010
Position rank Center # 1
Height 6'10"
Weight 270 lbs.

Scouts, Inc.-ESPN College Men's Basketball Recruiting

June, 2009: Smith is the most promising post prospect in the west for the class of 2010. Although his game hasn't improved much since last summer his frame is enormous and he is quite quick off the floor as well. He is still carrying too much weight since I saw him last (Adidas Nations in April) and that is definitely affecting his game. There were many times he struggled at the rim (Rose City Showcase) and actually fell to the floor a quite a few times despite outweighing his opponent by a significant amount. He needs to have better leverage (bend his knees) and finish with a greater urgency-it's surprising he doesn't get more 3-point plays considering his size and agility. In addition, he needs to improve his free throw shooting. He has nice rotation on his release, but his shot is quite flat. Like most bigs, he does have much to improve on, but he has natural instincts for this game that can't be easily acquired. He is a very good passer from the post and usually makes great decisions. His shot blocking ability is also very impressive (more...).

Mike LaPlante, Scouts Inc.,
"Smith is a load in the low block area who has good feet and knows how to use his body to create space. He has great hands with a soft touch around the basket and has shown he can be a go-to scorer. However, he needs to develop a dominant attitude and a more consistent work ethic if he wants to reach his potential."

Tyler Lamb 6-5 190 SG: Class of 2010

A post on 2010 shooting guard Tyler Lamb. The next Arron Afflalo?

Tyler Lamb mixtape

Tyler Lamb interview at Adidas Nations 2009
Tyler calls out Josh Smith: "COME TO UCLA".

Tyler Lamb Evaluation (as of Sept 3, 2009)
Men's Basketball Recruiting by Scouts, Inc at

Tyler Lamb
Hometown Santa Ana, CA
High School Mater Dei High School
Ranked #38 High school player Class of 2010
Position rank Shooting Guard # 10
Height 6'5"
Weight 190 lbs.

May, 2009: Prior to this event (2009 Double Pump Adidas), Lamb was having a subpar spring campaign. He isn't an elite level talent, but he does many things well that help you win games. He plays hard every possession and has the potential to be a top-notch defender. His shot has been suspect for awhile, but it was very efficient at this event. He didn't force the issue and allowed the game to come to him and as a result he was quite effective. He plays the lanes on defense as well as any prospect out west and he has quick hands. Lamb is not a type of prospect that can get his own shot regular basis, but he could be very good in a motion style offense because he has a very good feel (good passer) for the game.

April, 2009: Lamb's game doesn't translate well to the club basketball scene. He is a system player that does all the little things that make you win basketball games. He is not a one-on-one talent that can get his own shot and he isn't particularly explosive off the bounce either. However, he's always around the ball and has excellent instincts for this game, particularly on the defensive end. He rebounds well for his size and is one of the better shot blockers in transition. One area that will need to improve for him to be successful offensively at UCLA will be his jump shot. His shot is inconsistent out to the stripe, but his mid-range pull-up is quite good. At this stage I don't ever see Lamb being an All Pac-10 performer, but he is the kind of player that could be a glue-type for the Bruins.

January, 2009: Lamb has to become more efficient with his ball-handling skills, given the amount of quickness that he has, he should get to places on the floor with less dribbles. He has the quickness to get to the rim and the leaping ability to finish in the paint. When he shoots the ball, he has range that extends out to the 3-point line, though he needs to become a little more consistent from the perimeter. Lamb, to his credit, plays on a very talented team and he does a good job of not forcing offense, though he has the naturally ability to venture from the team concept for his own scoring chances. On the defensive end, he opens up similar to a gate instead of sliding his feet to stay in front of defenders, which allows opposing guards to attack him off the dribble.

April, 2008: Lamb is one of the better wing-types in the Class of 2010. Originally I compared him to former UCLA standout Arron Afflalo. However, he is becoming much more athletic than Afflalo and is better off the bounce at the same stage. His handle has become tight and swift and he uses his solid frame when attacking the rim. He rarely forces the issue and has an excellent feel for the game despite his youth. His demeanor is excellent (never gets rattled) and is not afraid to take the big shot -- hit the game winner with no time left in an early playoff encounter. His jump shot is decent (has a tendency to fade away), but he needs to get much more consistent in that area of the game if he wants to be considered elite at his position.

January, 2008: Although he didn't shoot with the accuracy we've grown accustomed to, Lamb displayed other areas of his game that were quite impressive. Lamb is similar to former UCLA standout Arron Afflalo, though he appears to becoming more athletic with age. He didn't hit any 3-point shots, but his stroke looks good. What stood out the most in this event was his passing ability and overall feel for the game -- he had a number of assists of the spectacular variety. In addition, when his team was struggling he went into the post and scored with relative ease, though he had a tendency to fade-away on his shot. Overall, with his improved play off the bounce, Lamb is emerging as one of the better wing-types for his class in the country.


Travel Team: California Supreme...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 UCLA 2009-2010 outlook

Recently, Andy Katz did a great preview of the Pac-10 Conference at (updated August 31, 2009):
Pac-10 ShootAround: Three new head coaches arrive as conference rebuilds
The whole piece was a great read and it touched on (among other things) the turmoil at SC, Sean Miller going to Zona and then gutting out the Trojans, and of course, Malcolm Lee's impressive summer. But I chose to slice and dice what really counts, the UCLA stuff. So, here goes.

Things To Know From The Offseason
Lee blossoms during the summer

Photo:Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Malcolm Lee came to UCLA with plenty of hype, but there was a logjam last season with Darren Collison returning and Jrue Holiday taking up plenty of minutes as a star freshman. Lee averaged 10.7 minutes in 29 games, putting up a modest 3.2 points and 0.6 assists a game. But the UCLA staff is giddy over reports that Lee became a workaholic this summer. He needed to and had to, because he'll be the Bruins' featured perimeter player. Lee increased his shooting range, and the expectation is he'll make a major jump from his freshman to sophomore seasons.

Key Players

Photo: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Nikola Dragovic
Dragovic is the Bruins' top returning scorer (9.4 points per game), and he made 38.2 percent of his 3s last season. But more will be expected as a senior. Dragovic isn't a star. He's a complementary player. But he still can do more if he gets the touches. Dragovic can play facing the basket and, if need be, use his body a bit more in the post. He can be a difficult matchup if he gets his shot off from deep. But he must make himself more of a factor, especially on the defensive end.

Freshmen We Can't Wait To See
Photo: Olivia Bucks, The Oregonian

Mike Moser, PF, UCLA: Offensively, Moser is a jump shot away from being an all-conference candidate. Defensively, he has the physical attributes to guard all three perimeter positions.

Photo:Phil Klein

Tyler Honeycutt, WF, UCLA: He may be headed for a redshirt year if his lower back doesn't heal in time. Nonetheless, this late-blooming wing type has a bevy of upside. He can stroke the 3-point shot and pass with the best of them. And his shot-blocking ability is impressive.

Nonconference Games We Can't Wait To See

* Kansas at UCLA, Dec. 6: The Bruins will be searching for a marquee win in nonconference play, something that eluded them last season. This game against Kansas will come on the heels of the 76 Classic in Anaheim. If the Bruins can't pick up quality wins in that event, the KU matchup at Pauley Pavilion will hold even more meaning.

* UCLA versus Mississippi State, Dec. 12 (Wooden Classic): The Bruins picked up a challenging opponent for their short trip to Anaheim. Getting Mississippi State early in the season should challenge UCLA's frontcourt more than any game besides KU. This game will come a week after UCLA plays the Jayhawks, so it may be in desperation mode for a quality win. And if Renardo Sidney is eligible, it will be interesting to see how he performs against the program he originally appeared to be leaning toward.

One potential matchup …

* UCLA versus Butler, Nov. 27 (76 Classic): If UCLA beats Portland and if Butler takes out Minnesota, the Bruins will have one of their most challenging games of the season against the Bulldogs. Playing Butler would be a stingy defensive affair. The Bulldogs have been known to keep the games in the 50s or low 60s, and UCLA doesn't mind playing in that range, either.

Team Analysis

Andy Katz

This is a whole new era for coach Ben Howland. The Bruins don't have Alfred Aboya, Josh Shipp or Darren Collison for the first time in four years. The three-year Final Four run now seems like distant history. The Bruins will be leaning heavily on potential stud Malcolm Lee as well as Drew Gordon, Nikola Dragovic, Michael Roll, Jerime Anderson, James Keefe and J'mison Morgan -- not exactly national names. But the competition at every position should be as intense as it has been under Howland. He will be searching for an identity for this squad early and often in fall practices. Lee might hold the only lock on a position, while the rest clearly are open. UCLA has a challenging nonconference slate, but the talent should carry this squad toward the top of the Pac-10, getting the Bruins enough wins to make another NCAA tournament appearance.

Doug Gottlieb
Talentwise, the Bruins are down. That's just a fact. But Ben Howland will win games with his defense and the team's cohesion more so than when Kevin Love and Darren Collison were bailing them out. Malcolm Lee has to be the type of on-the-ball defender Darren Collison was the past three years, and Mike Moser and Tyler Honeycutt must contribute right away. Otherwise, how will the Bruins score?

Tyler Honeycutt 6-8 180 SF: Class of 2009

Video credit
Tyler Honeycutt Evaluation
Men's Basketball Recruiting by Scouts, Inc at

Tyler Honeycutt
Hometown Sylmar, CA
High School Sylmar High School
Ranked #51 High school player Class of 2009
Position rank Small Forward # 9
Height 6'8"
Weight 180 lbs.


December, 2008:
Honeycutt has as much potential as any prospect in the country, but in order to reach that elite status, he must become more tenacious at both ends. His skill level is quite high and his overall talent should project to the NBA level. His athleticism is terrific and he displayed it in the dunk contest (Mission Prep Christmas Classic) where he jumped over four players standing up in the paint area. In addition to his exceptional leaping ability, he is one of the most gifted passers in the country and has savvy beyond his years. On the other hand, he defers too much to his teammates and lacks that killer instinct, especially when games get tight. Whether he develops that desire to be the best remains to be seen, but it better improve by the time he arrives at UCLA because "toughness" is what personifies the Ben Howland program.

July, 2008: For the second week in a row Honeycutt was the most promising prospect (Double Pump West Coast All-Star Camp #2), although there were a handful of players that displayed the ability to be high-major contributors someday. Honeycutt wowed the crowds with his acrobatic plays above the rim and passing ability that reached dexterousness levels. His passing in transition can be mind-blowing at times and his shooting has improved immensely since the regular season, but there are some kinks in the armor that need to be addressed if he is to reach his significant upside. His one-handed passing can get careless at times and he needs to make a much more concerted effort at the defensive end if he's to become a complete player. He isn't very physical and needs strength, but other than blocking shots his lateral quickness and overall desire at the defensive end needs to escalate.

April, 2008: Honeycutt went from sleeper to high-major recruit in a matter of weeks. He resembles that of a young Austin Daye (Gonzaga), but he has more bounce to his game. He has grown a few inches since last year and may add a couple more. Offensively, he gets most of his points in transition and tip-ins. He handles the ball well, but it's his passing ability that strikes you while watching this young thoroughbred. He has great feel for the game, terrific hands and quick wrists that allow him to have a flair for the spectacular when assisting other teammates. His jump shot is inconsistent, but his release is solid and his shot has a soft landing. If there is an area of the game that may be a concern is his ability to guard at the next level. He doesn't possess great lateral quickness to guard a wing and he is too slender to check a power forward.

It's remarkable to see how much Honeycutt has matured (physically) in the past couple of months. He has appeared to have grown a couple of inches since December and is now pushing 6'8''. Physically he may remind you of current Gonzaga standout Austin Daye although not as long. He is bouncy around the basket and has become a much better rebounder. He's an excellent passer for his size, has a solid handle, but his jump shot needs to tighten up if he's to be recruited at the highest level.

December, 2007: Honeycutt has the frame, bounce, and skills that are similar to Gonzaga standout Austin Daye. He is still physically weak and his game is just beginning to blossom, but the upside is there to play at possibly the mid-major level or higher. He is unselfish with his decision-making and his passing skills are solid, especially in transition. His handle is decent though he needs to tighten up his left hand. In addition, he has a solid looking shot that extends out to the stripe. He is a decent rebounder, but has a tendency to lose the ball often due to a lack of strength. Overall, Honeycutt is a solid "wing-type" prospect and with added strength and skill development he should have an excellent career at the mid-major level.

AAU Team: Pump N' Run...