Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fact or Fiction: Darren Collison is the answer at PG for the Pacers


Will the Indiana Pacers break out? and the TrueHoop Network
Originally Published: August 23, 2011

5-on-5: The Central's second-best team is looking to get in the postseason habit

Danny Granger's PER of 17.89 ranked 55th in the NBA last season, tops among the Indiana Pacers. Granger stands as the cornerstone of the Indiana Pacers franchise, even as his field goal percentage and PER again declined from his performance in the 2008-09 season.

Will the Pacers' complementary pieces improve, giving the Pacers hope for advancing past the first round for the first time since 2004-05?

We continue our Central Division tour with a look at the youthful Indiana Pacers, the No. 8 East playoff seed last April that impressed with a spirited effort in a five-game, first-round exit at the hands of the regular-season champ Chicago Bulls.

1. Fact or Fiction: Darren Collison is the answer at PG.

Tim Donahue, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Darren Collison may be an answer at the point, but not the answer. His offensive game suffered greatly from the lack of a quality pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop partner, but the permanent problems are his size and his defense. That being said, a Collison/George Hill combo is good enough to allow the Pacers to focus on other needs first.

John Hollinger, Fact, sort of. Teams have won big with worse point guards, and I certainly wouldn't call him a liability. But Collison by himself isn't a difference-maker, even if the Pacers can convince him to convert some of those 22-foot 2s of which he's so fond into 3-pointers -- he's small and doesn't see the floor well.

Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Fiction. If the Pacers were completely sold on Collison, would they have traded for George Hill? Probably not.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: Fact. Collison is a perfect complement to a rebuilding project like the Pacers. He's an excellent passer and can score to some degree, but he's unselfish enough that there isn't going to be any Russell Westbrook thing going on when he gets better. Playing under Chris Paul did him a world of good.

Jared Wade, Eight Points, Nine Seconds: Fiction. Collison struggled until Jim O'Brien was canned so I do expect improvement. But he is a young, quick point who should have flourished running a fast-paced offense for a team devoid of leadership. Instead, during his second season, he dropped off statistically in all the categories that matter and tallied double-digit assists in just four games.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Locked-out NBA players pick it up at UCLA

Thanks to bruintennis for posting this on Bruin Zone.

Former UCLA players Jordan Farmar of the Nets and Jrue Holiday of the 76ers are spending the NBA lockout in different ways: Farmar is playing in Israel while Holiday is staying closer to home and working out at UCLA. (Jeanna Duerscherl / Associated Press)

Locked-out NBA players pick it up at UCLA

Games at Student Activities Center have been a hot summer draw for decades, and labor uncertainty has expanded their importance. Jrue Holiday and Carmelo Anthony, among others, have taken part.

By Lisa Dillman
The Los Angeles Times
8:00 PM PDT, August 29, 2011

Found: Evidence that a current NBA player is not talking about packing away his talent and taking it overseas if the league-imposed lockout should continue.

Jrue Holiday, pioneer.

Kidding aside — yes, there have been others willing to wait it out and not add to their frequent flier accounts — Holiday said Monday at UCLA that he has no interest in going elsewhere.

"I don't want to go overseas," he said. "I'm not going anywhere. That's pretty much it. I'm more of a homebody."

The benefits of being close to home were front and center for Philadelphia's point guard. Holiday, who played for the Bruins, was getting ready to play in one of the intense games going on in the afternoon on the second floor of UCLA's Student Activities Center.

"Really just chilling and trying to communicate with my teammates and see where we are at," Holiday said. "Just because when, if, the league comes back, we want to start off on a good foot. I know a lot of the guys on the team are out here right now."

This slice of hoop heaven has been a hot summer draw for decades for NBAers wanting to keep an edge and dates back to the Magic Johnson era. The ongoing NBA labor uncertainty has only helped expand the power base in Westwood.

Last week, the likes of Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Russell Westbrook were at UCLA, and there were enough NBA players on hand to hold a players' association meeting, according to Adam Mills, the long-time organizer of these games.

On Monday, Mills was busy putting games together on the fly with the air of an affable maitre d', accommodating the request of the eight-player 76ers' contingent to play on the same team. ("Most of the contract guys are here," Holiday said.)

Timberwolves draft pick Derrick Williams was a late arrival, meaning that Mills was doing some last-second adjusting to the lineups. The Clippers' Eric Bledsoe was back at the UCLA games for the second time and said he planned on returning in the future. Bledsoe said he worked out a bit with Clippers teammate and rookie of the year Blake Griffin.

"A lot of ball handling," Bledsoe said. "It was good working with him. Keep the team chemistry going."

Big man Louis Amundson of the Warriors has been coming to the gym at UCLA for the last few years. He played in Phoenix for two seasons before signing with Golden State almost a year ago.

"It's good. Sometimes it's hit or miss," Amundson said. "You come on better days than others. But I think for something that is more or less unorganized — guys just kind of show up — it is a pretty decent run. I try to get up here every day or at least three times a week."

Like many of his colleagues, Amundson is pondering his future.

"I'm just going to hope for the best and weigh my options as we get a little bit closer to the season and see how it's looking," he said. "There's nothing you can really do. All you can do is sit back, hope it gets taken care of and be prepared because once they do come to an agreement, it's going to start real quick."

Holiday is living with his parents, and Amundson said he has been fiscally prudent. Then again, he was that way even before the lockout.

"I don't really live beyond my means — I don't have four or five cars," he said, chuckling. "I'm not too worried about it affecting me. But I've been saving my money, making sure I have cash in the bank before this thing started."

NBA, former UCLA star Kevin Love tries a day at the beach


NBA, former UCLA star Kevin Love tries a day at the beach

With the NBA lockout keeping him from his 'day job,' 6-foot-10 Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is giving beach volleyball a shot. He'll play at the Manhattan Beach Open this week.

By Mike Bresnahan
The Los Angeles Times
6:45 PM PDT, August 21, 2011

Deron Williams has signed with a team in Turkey, Leandro Barbosa has agreed to play in Brazil, and Kobe Bryant is rumored to be playing everywhere but Easter Island.

In a summer of NBA lockout uncertainty, Kevin Love is choosing to play somewhere different as well — a few steps south of the Manhattan Beach pier.

The Minnesota Timberwolves forward will be there later this week, trying to break ground in a sunnier, sandier corner of the sports world at the Manhattan Beach Open.

At 6 feet 10, he might be the tallest player in the beach volleyball tournament, but his experience is limited. He never played volleyball in high school or at UCLA, meaning the last few weeks have been his first in the sport.

"To try and cross over in any sport, especially in a small amount of time, you don't realize how tough it is," Love said Sunday. "Getting in the sand, getting that ball hit at you with all the topspin they put on it, my respect for all the players went through the roof."

Despite its laid-back reputation as a bunch of dudes from the dunes, beach volleyball isn't as easy as it appears.

Shaquille O'Neal looked foolish and immobile when he tried it a few years ago for his short-lived TV show. O'Neal partnered with Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Todd Rogers but lost to two-time women's gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

Love looked infinitely more mobile than O'Neal in recent practice sessions and pounded the ball down numerous times. He must, however, improve his passing, or "bumping," skills. He knows it.

"I have the timing down with the hitting and my setting's pretty good. My blocking's decent just because it's like playing at the rim in the NBA, but my passing and my serving are subpar," he said. "I'm going to get out there a couple more times during the week and try to get it done."

Love was recently on an NBA-themed beach volleyball team at a popular six-on-six amateur tournament in Manhattan Beach. Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar and Richard Jefferson were also on the team, but most of the volleyball was played by former pro beach players.

This weekend's tournament will be a two-on-two format, providing less room for error. The court looks much larger with only two people on it.

"It's just a matter of whether he can use his height to his advantage," said Eric Fonoimoana, a gold medalist in beach volleyball at the 2000 Olympics. "Obviously, it's going to be tough to get the ball by him at the net, but the skill set is completely different when you get on that sand. You're never balanced because of the sand. And then let's throw in some wind."

Love has plenty of people in his corner, including former Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis, who lives in Manhattan Beach and has been known to play beach volleyball during the summer.

Rambis' son, Jesse, has worked out with Love in recent weeks and provided the elder Rambis with solid reports.

"Kevin's very coachable. He can take what you say and put it into action," said Kurt Rambis, who coached Love for two seasons in Minnesota. "He's athletic and has size, but what he needs is experience. Jesse said he was a lot better the second day than he was the first day. That's kind of who Kevin is in terms of his coachability."

Love will be helped by a relatively strong partner, Hans Stolfus, who is 6 feet 5 and has played in several pro tournaments. There won't be as many top-notch pro players at this year's event because of a competing international tournament in the Netherlands.

The Manhattan Beach Open, dubbed the Wimbledon of the sand, was historically the top stop on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour, but the AVP folded last season and left the pro beach volleyball circuit in flux.

USA Volleyball took over a handful of tournaments this summer, including Manhattan Beach, with sponsorship provided by Jose Cuervo tequila.

Love is being paid an undisclosed sum of money by sponsors to play in the tournament, which starts Thursday and ends Sunday. Houston Rockets forward Chase Budinger is also expected to take part in it.

Win or lose, Love, who turns 23 next month, hasn't turned his back on basketball after becoming an All-Star last season.

He will be in the last year of a contract that pays him $4.6 million next season. The lockout isn't showing any signs of ending soon, but Love is working out with All-Star guards Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook several times a week in Los Angeles.

He has also been working hard on the sand.

"Obviously, I know that we're not going to go out there and win," he said, smiling. "I'm just looking to have a good time and try not to embarrass myself too badly. I wanted to try a new sport during the lockout when there's time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's kind of the way I look at it."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Locked out players find UCLA class doors open

Russell, Sean and B Diddies, Reeves in summer school. Photo credit: I saw somewhere kluv took this photo? Thanks to kluv if true.

Locked out players find UCLA class doors open

By Michael Martinez
August 18, 2011

Baron Davis knew he'd be back. First of all, there was the promise he made to his grandmother, and he had no intention of breaking that one.

There was also a simple thirst for knowledge and a need to find out more about the world and his place in it. Davis figured out long ago that there's life after basketball; maybe it was time to start planning for it.

That's what brought him back to college, back to a classroom at UCLA after a 12-year break. With a near-hopeless NBA lockout threatening the start of the next season, Davis is in school – and he's not alone.

Several other former Bruins and current NBA players – Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute – are enrolled in summer school at Westwood and earning credits toward their degrees.

It was a collective decision to return, Davis said. He and Kenny Donaldson, UCLA's assistant director of academic services, encouraged the group to make use of their time by returning. If the lockout is a long one, it just makes good sense.

"I know they all talked about it," Donaldson said. "If there wasn't a lockout, it would be iffy whether all of them would have come back. I think (the lockout) encouraged them, and I think Baron had a big influence."

Davis, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard who has played 12 years in the NBA, had already decided he would get back in the classroom. This summer, he's taken three courses – African-American history 1600-1865, U.S. history 1900-1928 and fundamental screen writing – and is currently enrolled in an American pop culture class with Love, Westbrook and Ariza.

"I'm just building," Davis said. "I think from where I am and where I sit, it's just being a sponge, trying to soak up as much knowledge and meet with as many different people and start to figure out what I want to do."

Davis said he plans to take a full load of classes if the lockout stretches into the fall. He's a history major and a film and television minor and has screenwriting aspirations. He's already working on a script, but not about basketball. It's a comedy.

When he left school after two years to enter the NBA draft, Davis was focused on his playing career. Now that he's older, he appreciates the importance of an education.

"You know what you want," he said. "You know what life is about. You can apply the lessons to what you're living. And I think that's the beauty of going back to school – you want to go back. I'm not doing it because I have to, I'm doing it because I want to. I want to make straight As, and I want to learn what's going on around me. I'm interested in the subjects that I'm taking."

Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves star who left UCLA after one year, said he hopes to become a college coach when he's done playing, so a college degree is a necessity. But it goes beyond that.

"I know it's going to be a lengthy process, but I'm only 22, so I definitely want to get started on it," he said. "Plus, it's a way to get my mind working again and keep sharp. It brings me back on campus around all the regular students and makes me feel like a regular person again, like part of the family."

That's not a bad thing, but most students make note of the celebrity factor pretty quickly.

"People knew who I was, but nobody really paid attention," Davis said of the first time he walked into his African-American history class. "A couple of times people asked to take pictures for their kids or their brother and sister or asked for an autograph. But that was it."

Davis promised his grandmother, Lela Nicholson, that he would return at some point to get his degree, but she passed away in March. It's one of his great regrets that she couldn't see him graduate.

"She always stayed on my case about education," he said. "She never really cared about basketball in my life. She only cared about school and having a solid foundation. That's why I made the promise to her. I wanted her to see me accomplish so much, but I feel like I didn't get an opportunity to do what I needed to do."

Now he does. But it's not just about school. Davis also spends time every summer working with his foundation, Rising Stars of America. The organization conducts an annual youth basketball camp designed to teach ethical and social values to kids from different socio-economic backgrounds.

The camp is over, so Davis is just like every UCLA student, carrying books and rushing to class. In time, he hopes to wear a cap and gown and walk with other graduates who have earned degrees.

"That's what I wanted to do in my life, be a Bruin and graduate from UCLA," he said. "That's more than an honor and a privilege -- not to say that I went there but that I have a degree, and to share that with all the great alumni that come from that school."

ESPN's Dave Telep on Brandon Ashley

Recruiting updates from Elite 24

By Dave Telep
ESPN Recruiting
Updated: August 26, 2011, 8:41 PM ET

HARBOR CITY, Calif. -- If given the option, most BCS coaches would elect to be in California for the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game Saturday. It's a target-rich environment for uncommitted seniors of elite status, especially big men.

There are nine key frontcourt targets in the game, and we aren't talking about run-of-the-mill rotation players. These guys affect the recruiting plans of nearly two dozen programs nationwide. They're here to play a pickup game on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Saturday.

Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster) sat in the HAX Athletic Club with an ice pack and a knot on his left ankle. Under normal conditions, this would require at least a week of rest, but McGary isn't a normal kid. He tested it Thursday in a scrimmage -- briefly -- with the hope of rolling out on Saturday for the game. He'll hobble out there, but for how long is to be determined, just like some of his official visit dates.

The No. 3 player in the ESPNU 100 begins his fall process with an official visit to Michigan the weekend of Sept. 3. The Wolverines have an AAU teammate of his and are the lone Big Ten program on his list. Upon conclusion of the Michigan trip, McGary slides over to Lexington, Ky., for a Sept. 3 unofficial visit to Kentucky. McGary said he would like to return to Lexington later for an official visit.

The power forward's schedule doesn't cease after Kentucky. The North Carolina Tar Heels play host to the native of Indiana Sept. 6-7. Once that visit wraps up, he'll navigate 8 miles of Tobacco Road for an official visit to Duke Sept. 8-10. His parents are traveling with him to each school on the visit list.

McGary visited Florida in August and Maryland in June; he plans on taking officials to both. As for his Elite 24 experience to date, well, he's already made a highlight reel. During a midnight scrimmage run, No. 2 NBA pick Derrick Williams threw down a dunk right on top of him. The video made the requisite rounds on You Tube.

"I don't care; I was there for a reason," McGary said, almost looking forward to one day having a chance to even the score.

Ashley to set visits soon

Brandon Ashley (Oakland, Calif./Findlay Prep) is an elite player. To him, everything that surrounds his situation is gravy.

"I never expected it to get this big," Ashley said. "Ever since it got this big, it's bigger than what I would have expected."

Ashley likes the attention -- for now -- as he's billed as one of the movers and shakers in the senior class.

Oregon, Arizona, UCLA and Kentucky are his finalists. Part of the well-stocked Oakland Soldiers program, he'd have a former Soldier with him at every one of the schools on his list, so that's not a component of his decision.

"Really it's team chemistry where I feel I can come in and be a part of the family, get a national championship, and work toward the next level," Ashely said.

He's had the most active contact with the three Pac-12 schools thus far.

For more on Brandon Ashley, see UCLA in the Final 4 for Brandon Ashley

Carter settles on seven

It's not quite a top five, but it is a six pack plus one. Robert Carter (Thomasville, Ga./Shiloh) is down to Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland and Rhode Island. Following the Elite 24, he'll begin setting up visits.

Rhode Island's inclusion on his list is curious. The other six schools are ACC or SEC programs, and he's in that area of the country. Then there's Rhode Island, up north from the Atlantic 10. "It's loyalty," Carter said. "From the beginning, they put it in my head that they can develop me and help me get to the next level." For now, the Rams are a long shot but they've got a chip in the game. Can they survive the five?

Jefferson guilty of missing calls

The NCAA is going to amend recruiting rules sometime this year. There's a growing sentiment that it might repeal the rules against texting prospects. Many feel that's a good idea. Amile Jefferson (Wynnewood, Pa./Friends Central) is not one of those people.

"I think it would be worse if they could text," Jefferson said. The slashing forward, who led the NBPA Top 100 Camp in scoring, already feels pressure to return missed calls and he has a manageable list.

"I've been good but sometimes I'm busy and miss calls. I'm in the gym and miss them," he said. Jefferson feels bad but also feels pressure to manage his time; sometimes he isn't able to call coaches back.

Jefferson begins school Sept. 12, so he can kick off the visitation process after the 12th. Ohio State is on the docket for the weekend of Sept. 24. He will set up a trip to Connecticut. Villanova, Maryland, Temple and Stanford are in the mix, along with NC State. Jefferson visited the Wolfpack in August.

Friday, August 26, 2011

2012 target big man: Tony Parker 6-9 270 C/PF (Lithonia, GA)

Kaz just posted on Bruin Zone that things are heating up with Georgia big man Tony Parker and UCLA for 2012. BE A BRUIN, TP!!!



Tony Parker
6'9'', 270 lbs. | Class of 2012
Hometown: Lithonia, GA
School: Miller Grove High School
Position: Power Forward

Tony Parker liking UCLA on Twitter earlier in the year. Click on pic below to enlarge (source link)

Some earlier articles on Tony Parker.

Georgia center prospect Tony Parker talks about his unofficial visit to Memphis today

By Jason Smith
August 11, 2011 7:58 PM

Highly sought Lithonia, Ga., 2012 center prospect Tony Parker made his third unofficial visit to Memphis today, touring the campus and meeting with Tigers athletic director R.C. Johnson.

Last month at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., Parker (6-9, 270), a senior at Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove High, said he was considering three schools in Memphis, Ohio State and Duke, but was open to hearing from others. He said tonight North Carolina, UCLA, Connecticut and Kansas have now jumped into the mix to land his services.

Parker, who made unofficial visits to Memphis for the Georgetown game last December and again in June, said he and his parents are traveling to visit his grandmother in Missouri and "just decided to stop through" for a third visit today.

"I just toured the campus with my parents, met the athletic director and the academic director, and I just saw the (Finch Center). I really toured the campus and got a good feel for it," Parker said. "I think (the Finch Center) is really cool. I really liked it. I thought the campus is really nice. And, you know, the basketball facilities are nice."

Parker said he saw Tigers sophomores Tarik Black and Chris Crawford during his visit today. During the Peach Jam, Parker was particularly complimentary of Black's development over his freshman season, crediting Memphis coach Josh Pastner. rates Parker, who has a soft shooting touch when outside the paint and gets up and down the floor fairly quickly for his size, a five-star prospect. As a junior last season, he led Miller Grove to its third straight Class AAAA state title, averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Parker is one of three highly rated big men Pastner has offered for 2012. The others are former Memphis Central forward Jarnell Stokes (who hasn't yet decided where he'll play his senior season) and Decatur, Ga., forward Shaq Goodwin, a senior at Southwest DeKalb High.


Now that UCLA has hired Atlanta AAU coach, will Georgia’s top recruits follow?

by Michael Carvell
10:15 am June 9, 2011

Georgia's No 1 prospect: William "Shaq" Goowin (AJC photo)

Now that the basketball coach of one of Atlanta’s top AAU or summer travel teams has been hired by UCLA, will his top players follow him to California?

Korey McCray, the CEO of the Atlanta Celtics AAU team, was announced as an assistant coach at UCLA on Tuesday. (Go here for the full story)

Two of the Atlanta Celtics top players, power forward Shaq Goodwin of Southwest DeKalb High School and shooting guard Jordan Adams of Oak Hill (Va.) prep school, both hold early basketball scholarships offers from UCLA.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Goodwin is considered the state’s No. 1 college basketball prospect for 2012. Goodwin said his leaders are “Georgia, Memphis, UCLA, Florida and Alabama.”

Goodwin claims no favorite, but acknowledges that UCLA has a better chance after hiring the man who coached him in AAU for the past three years.

“It will help a little bit because I will know somebody when I go out there sometime this summer,” Goodwin said.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Adams toured UCLA last week, but claims McCray’s presence won’t affect his college decision. “He’s a great person, but it won’t make a difference with where I go,” said Adams, who previously played at Central Gwinnett High School.

Adams said he will make at least one other recruiting trip this summer, visiting Memphis. He lists his top offers as “Georgia, Georgetown, UCLA, Memphis, Miami and Tennessee.”

What will be the recruiting impact of McCray’s move to UCLA with Georgia prospects? The state has one of its deepest classes in years for 2012, with 14 ranked in the the Rivals Top 150. At least 23 rising seniors across Georgia hold scholarship offers from high-major schools, compared with about a dozen from this past season. We discussed the topic with Dan McDonald, who covers basketball recruiting for the Georgia and Georgia Tech websites at

1. What do you think about UCLA’s decision to hire an AAU coach in general? I think it’s a great hire for UCLA. A lot of people see this hire as strictly for a recruiting advantage in Atlanta but Korey is a very good young coach. He has some experience in college coaching at FSU and Mercer and what most people don’t know is that he’s also been training some of the top NBA players like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, and a few others for the last several years. If UCLA didn’t hire him, I have no doubt somebody else would have eventually hired him.

2. How do you think hiring an Atlanta AAU coach will affect UCLA’s recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area? Having Korey on the staff will obviously get UCLA in the door for many of the top kids around Atlanta because he’s very well-respected as a person and coach, but I still think it’s going to be hard for them to pull kids all the way across the country. It’s just really hard to get kids to go over 2,000 miles away from home, but I do think Korey will get some kids from Atlanta to go play for him. In the 2012 class alone, Jordan Adams and Shaq Goodwin both have UCLA in their top 5 and Tony Parker might give UCLA some consideration as well. [Note: Parker, who is from Miller Grove High School and holds offers from Duke and North Carolina, plays part-time with the Atlanta Celtics]

Nobody in Georgia has more offers than PF Tony Parker (No. 32), who is being targeted by Duke and North Carolina, among others. Parker and his Miller Grove teammate, SG Brandon Morris (31), will return from an unofficial visit to Memphis on Thursday (AJC photo)

3. What do you think Korey McCray specifically will bring to the table as a recruiter? As a recruiter, he’s a younger guy that high school kids can relate to. Nobody, even from rival AAU programs, ever has anything negative to say about him, which speaks volumes about him as a person. He’s got contacts all over the NBA so kids will see him as somebody that can help them eventually achieve their dream of playing in the league.

4. Is AAU more important than a high school coach for a recruiting a top prospect? If so why? It really just depends on the kid. Some kids are really close with their AAU coach and prefer for them to handle their recruitment. Some kids are closer with their high school coach and want them to be a big part of the process. You also sometimes have parents that don’t want anybody else but their immediate family to be a major influence. AAU coaches are always going to be involved in a kid’s recruitment just because that’s where most kids get seen by college coaches and that’s who the college coaches usually contact first to get in with a kid. After that, it’s really just up to the kid and his family.

Cameroon falls to Angola in the quarterfinals of Fiba Africa 83-84 in OT

Alfred Aboya scores 9 points and pulls down 10 rebounds in the losing effort.

AfroBasket QFinals: Cameroon fails in OT against defending champion Angola, 83-84

By Olusegun Ikuesan
Aug 26, 2011

Cameroon - Angola 83-84 OT

With less than twenty seconds left on the clock Cameroon came near to picking a semi finals ticket but blew the chance when it matter most giving the defending the opportunity to even scores forcing the game to into over-time.

Both side shared the first quarter with 24 points apiece but Cameroon took the initiative in the second through free scoring Chritian Bayang whose 28 points became worthless at the end of the game losing the third, fourth and the resultant over-time by 13-19, 17-21 and 07-08 points for a final score-line of 83-84 points.

Both sides share the board with 51 rebounds each, while Cameroon gave 13 assists Angola was two better with 15 assists, both sides again had 10 steals and 2 block-shots but its was the ten-time champion who carry the day winning by just one point of 83-84 points at over-time.

Angola hit-man Carlos Morais (190-G-85) led his side with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists, Armando Costa (192-G-83) had 19 points 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals with the duo of Eduardo Mingas (200-F-79) and Felizardo Ambrosio contributing 14 points, 6 rebounds and 10 points 5 rebounds respectively.

With the win Angola will keep a semi-finals date against Nigeria on Saturday at 16H00 at the Palais des Sports Antananarivo Madagascar.

Click on boxscore to enlarge (

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Matt Barnes channels grief over mom's death into his foundation

Photo: Barnes lost his mother, Ann, on Nov. 27, 2007, only 26 days after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Credit: Athletes vs. Cancer.

Matt Barnes channels grief over mom's death into his foundation

By Mark Medina
The Los Angeles Times
August 12, 2011 | 1:50pm

The dreaded phone call that changed his life vibrated in Matt Barnes’ pocket shortly after he boarded the plane.

Only a few hours removed from the Golden State Warriors’ season-opening loss to the Utah Jazz, Barnes set his eyes on the Clippers, whom the Warriors would play in Los Angeles two days later. Only seven months removed from playing an instrumental part in the Warriors’ first-round upset against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 playoffs as an eighth seed, Barnes also set his eyes on the possibility the Golden State could build off that momentum.

That thought came to a screeching halt once Barnes clutched the phone in his hand. His mom, Ann, just informed him she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

“I started crying, but then I sucked it up,” Barnes recalled four years later as a Lakers forward during a recent visit at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. The reason didn’t point to his fear of showing his emotions around his teammates. Barnes wanted to send a message to his mom.

“It’s OK,” Barnes remembered saying over the phone. “We’re going to beat this.”

“No, baby, I have four different stages,” Barnes recalled his mother’s words. “There is nothing they can really do.”

She was right.

Only 26 days after the diagnosis, Ann died on Nov. 27, 2007. It was a time period Barnes described as a “whirlwind." It was an event that proved to be “the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.” And it was something that sparked his foundation in 2008 called Athletes vs. Cancer, which Barnes’ fiancée and reality-TV star Gloria Govan said has raised $225,000 for local screening programs. Barnes’ foundation is also hosting various charity functions this weekend, including a Celebrity Gold Classic on Friday at Trump National in Rancho Palos Verdes and teaming up with Aflak and UCLA Medical Center to provide free cancer screenings Saturday at Bunnin Chevrolet in Culver City.

“There’s not a day I don’t think about her,” Barnes said. “She’s definitely missed.”

After his mom told him of her diagnosis, Barnes refused to accept his mom's fate.

Even through the wave of emotions, Barnes stayed on the line and promised Ann she would return to UCLA Medical Center because of his belief that she’d receive the best treatment there.

The odds, however, seemed grim. Ann had developed two lumps on each side of her chest that Barnes compared to the size of a softball. The statistics provided by the American Cancer Society are sobering: one of five women die from cancer and most of the success stories point to preventative screening. At the local Kaiser Permanente, Barnes said, his mother met resistance to going through various treatments because she was considered “heavy set.”

“He was constantly fighting with the doctors,” recalled Glovan, whose own mom has survived breast cancer since her original diagnosis in 2004. “At this point in time, we weren’t educated on cancer. Looking back there were some things we would’ve done in terms of flying doctors in. But you’re just listening to what they’re telling you.”

Barnes still tried.

In a season that he already considered a “wash” in November because of the anxiety over his mother’s health, Barnes drove from the Bay Area to Sacramento after every Warriors practice to visit Ann, whom Barnes, friends and family members say was his best friend. In turn, teammates such as Baron Davis, Monte Ellis and Stephen Jackson also made the trek -- teammates Barnes described as a “good support system.” That extended to his family, which included his father, Henry, his younger sister, Danielle, and his older brother, Jason. The family always remained close, but during those tumultuous 26 days, they noticed the bond tightened even more.

“I know he was hurting,” said Jason Barnes, who's a player in the Canadian Football League. “He was probably the closest to mom. I knew how Matt was feeling, but he wouldn’t show he was hurt. He was trying to toughen everybody up. He knew if he lost it, everyone would lose it. He was the backbone. He let everybody else know it would be OK. I know he was hurting."

That pain heightened Nov. 27. That night Barnes and Govan had been lying in bed all night at their Alameda residence wide awake with the phone resting on his chest, remaining restless for any update. Barnes received one, but it was one he didn’t want to hear. His aunt called him about Ann’s passing. Barnes and Govan embraced before Barnes asked if she wanted to make the 85-mile trek to Sacramento. Govan wanted to, but politely declined out of concern she’d interfere with any family private moments.

“He has been the rock of his family,” said Govan, who’s also the mother of Barnes’ two sons, Isaiah Michael and Carter Kelly. “He handled it in my opinion very well. I would’ve been a wreck.”

Instead, Barnes channeled that pain into helping others get preventative screenings, a procedure he believes would've saved his mother's life had she done so. The initiative has paved the way for Barnes to help an unnamed high school friend get $6,000 worth of initial treatment for his throat cancer. It led to him meeting a fan with brain cancer who later died and was buried with Barnes' autographed jersey. It's also paved the way for him to sell T-shirts titled "If cancer couldn't beat me, what makes you think you can?"

"There will never be happiness that comes from this," Barnes said. "But it’s inspired me to come out and make a difference."

There's various ways that help assuage the pain.

Following the National Anthem at every basketball game, Barnes prays in memory of his mother. Just this past season, Barnes got a tattoo drawn on his chest depicting his mother wearing angels' wings. He wears a red bracelet around his right wrist with the name Ann written in white between two hearts. Barnes also keeps a picture frame in his living room at his Palos Verdes home of him and his mother during the 2007 playoffs.

During that time, Barnes had made a bold proclamation to former teammates Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson with the Golden State Warriors that he'd shave his head into a mohawk if they made the playoffs, a hairdo Ann instantly embraced. He then made it a playoff ritual in her memory.

"You could see how much influence his mom had on him with that haircut," said Barnes' barber, Demorea "Truck" Evans, who often talks with Barnes about his mother, Jean George, dying of breast cancer Nov. 5, 2005. "He lost the bet and he had to get this funny haircut. But as soon as she said she liked it, he didn’t mind wearing it."

That's because even with the loss, Barnes still feels her presence: "I always know she’s watching down on me."

Vintage Matt vids



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alfred Aboya tallies 9 pts 7 rbds as Cameroon beats Togo 85-52, moves on to the Quarterfinals

26th Afrobasket: Cameroon lands in Q/Finals triumph over Togo 85-52

by Olusegun Ikuesan
AfricaBasket, Cameroonian Basketball (Men)
Aug 23, 2011

Cameroon Tuesday joined Nigeria in the quarter-final of the 26th FIBA Africa Championship for Men after seeing off Togo by 85-52 points in the second eight final round at the Palais des Sports, Antananarivo, Madagascar.

The Lions picked the first three quarters by 22-13, 16-08 and 34-16 points losing the last quarter by 13-15 points.

Parfait Bitee led other players on the court with 16 points and 7 assists, forward Gaston Essengue and Franck Ndongo added 13 points and 4 rebounds each.

Click on boxscore to enlarge (

Up next, Cameroon (4-0; 1st place, Group C) vs. Angola (3-1; 2nd place, Group B) August 25 (Thursday).

Class of 2012: Chris Obekpa 6-8 200 PF

Thanks to Kaz for posting on Bruin Zone.


Christopher Obekpa
6'8'', 200 lbs. | Class of 2012
Hometown: Centereach, NY
School: Our Savior New American School
Position: Power Forward
Status: Undeclared

UConn Latest School to Offer Chris Obekpa

By Adam Zagoria
August 20, 2011, 10:27AM

The offers are coming fast and furious for Chris Obekpa, a 6-foot-9 Nigerian forward at Our Savior New American on Long Island.

UConn is the latest powerhouse to offer Obekpa, who previously held offers from Cincinnati, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Georgia Tech and Memphis, according to Our Savior assistant Eric Jaklitsch.

“Everybody’s recruiting him,” Jaklitsch said. “He’s one of the most highly coveted big men in the country in the senior class.”

Jaklitsch said UCLA also plans to offer the big man and bring him out for an official.

“They’re really interested in him,” he said.

Syracuse, Maryland, Texas, Florida, Kentucky and Pitt have also expressed interested.

Obekpa came from Nigeria last September and spent his junior year here. But he broke out this summer with appearances at the Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James Nike Skills Academies, and the Nike Global Challenge.

“He’s one of the best interior defenders in our entire country, regardless of class,” Jaklitsch said. “He’s just as good as [Nerlens] Noel.”

Jaklitsch said schools are now “jockeying” for in-home and official visits, but nothing is set yet.

“Everybody wants him to come on campus,” he said. “He’s a good student. He wants to major in computer science.

“The key to him is he needs to go to schools for himself and develop relationships with the coaching staff and see what school is best for him.”

UCLA in the Final 4 for Brandon Ashley

Thanks to ej for posting on Bruin Zone.

A couple of vids from Yayareasfinest2006/youtube

Brandon Ashley
6'8'', 215 lbs. | Class of 2012
Hometown: Oakland, CA
School: Findlay College Prep
Position: Power Forward

Brandon Ashley Trims List to 4

By Adam Zagoria
August 23, 2011, 7:55AM

Findlay Prep forward Brandon Ashley cut his list to four schools Monday.

Arizona, UCLA, Oregon and Kentucky are the finalists, according to a Twitter post by Ryan Greene of the Las Vegas Sun.

Ashley axed Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Texas from his list of seven.

Kyle Anderson at UCLA today


6'7'', 210 lbs. | Class of 2012
Hometown: Fairview, NJ
School: St. Anthony High School
Position: Small Forward

Kyle Anderson Sets Visit Schedule

By Adam Zagoria
August 22, 2011, 9:41AM

It looks like Billy Donovan, Norm Roberts and the Florida Gators will get the last crack at St. Anthony point guard Kyle Anderson.

Here is his unofficial visit schedule released to by his father. It is subject to change.

Tuesday – Unofficial to UCLA

Aug. 30 – Unofficial to Georgetown

Sept. 1 – Unofficial to Seton Hall

Sept. 2 – Unofficial to St. John’s

Sept. 16-17 – Official to Florida

The 6-foot-8 Anderson will trip on Tuesday to UCLA for a third time on his way to the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game Saturday in Venice Beach, Calif.

Upon his return, he will also receive home visits from the five schools on his list, but those dates are not yet set. He is set to announce Sept. 20.

On Sunday, Anderson was named MVP of the Battle of Boroughs after posting 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals as Harlem beat The Bronx, 84-70, in the title game. Anderson, whose mother, Suzanne, lives in Harlem, also put up 20 points in a semifinal win over Queens.

That performance came a week after Anderson notched 28 points to lead Team NYC to a 146-138 victory over Team USA in the inaugural Franchise Classic in The Bronx.

At the end of July, Anderson led the Playaz Basketball Club to titles at the Desert Duel in Arizona and the End of Summer Classic at Albright College in Reading, Pa.

“From the neck on up, he’s the best high school basketball player in America,” talent evaluator Tom Konchalski told the New York Post. “He’s just a winner. He won at Paterson Catholic, he won a national title at St. Anthony’s and he’s gonna win at the next level wherever he goes.”


Earlier in the month

Hurley Says Anderson is Top Player in Nation; UCLA, Florida Visits Planned

By Adam Zagoria
August 09, 2011, 9:25AM

St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley admits he hasn’t seen every top high school player in the nation, but he’ll put Kyle Anderson up against anybody.

“I would say if there’s a better all-around player in the country, that kid must be awful good because I think Kyle is as good an all-around player as I think you can have in high school,” the Naismith Hall of Fame coach told

After wowing coaches at the Peach Jam and in Las Vegas, the 6-foot-8 Anderson finished up his summer by leading the Playaz Basketball Club to titles at the Desert Duel in Arizona and the End of Summer Classic at Albright College in Pa.

“He’s maturing, he’s physically stronger, he’s fitter,” said Hurley, whose team went undefeated last season en route to the mythical national championship. “He’s one of those guys that it doesn’t happen often in the sport. He was very good last year and he’s better this year.”

Anderson is due to announce Sept. 20 for Seton Hall, St. John’s, Florida, Georgetown or UCLA.

He will be at UCLA on Wednesday for an unofficial visit, according to his father.

Then he and his mother will trip to Florida Sept. 16 for the Tennessee football game Sept. 17 and an unofficial visit.

“We will make unofficials at the remaining three schools before his decision,” Kyle Anderson Sr. told

No officials visits are planned at the moment.

The feeling in many quarters is that he will elect to stay local, at either Seton Hall or St. John’s, but Hurley says Anderson isn’t stressing on the decision.

“This does not appear to be a kid who’s worrying about colleges,” Hurley said. “I think it’s organized. I think the family knows what they’re doing. Dad being a basketbal coach helps this an awful lot.

“I don’t think he’s had a nervous day all summer.”

For more Kyle Anderson action videos, click here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alfred Aboya pours in 17 points, takes down 6 rebounds in Cameroon win over Cote d'Ivore 76-70

26th Afrobasket: Cameroon see off Cote d'Ivoire 76-70

by Olusegun Ikuesan
AfricaBasket, Cameroonian Basketball (Men)
Aug 21, 2011

Cameroon won the battle of leading group-C with a 76-70 points victory over Cote d'Ivoire thus keeping an hundred percent record after the preliminary round of its group at the 26th Madagascar 2011 Afrobasket for Men Sunday night.

Cameroon won the first three quarters by 18-11, 24-22 and 20-19 points while it lost the last quarter by 14-18 points.

Cameroon centre Gaston Essengue led his side charge for a comfortable first round finish with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals, Alfred Aboya had 17 points and 6 rebound with guard Christain Bayang scoring 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals for the Lions victory.

Click on boxscore to enlarge (

Up next, Togo.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Two diddies, Russell and Reeves (?) in summer school.

from Arek Kissoyan on

Alfred Aboya a double 8 in Cameroon win over South Africa, 87-65

26th Afrobasket: Gallant South Africa lose to Cameroon 65-87

by Olusegun Ikuesan
AfricaBasket, Cameroonian Basketball (Men)
Aug 19, 2011

With better improvement from their Group-C opening game against Cote d'Ivoire on Wednesday South Africa Friday loses its second first round game to Cameroon by 65-87 points.

Though South Africa lost the first three quarters 17-23, 13-17, 11-24 and won the last one by 24-23 points their fighting spirit was never in doubt as they showed lots of improvement and promises.

Cameroon big forward Gaston Essengue led the floor with 18 points, 4 steals and 3 rebounds, Cyrille Makanda had 15 points and 3 rebounds, Prfait Bitee added 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals with Frank Ndongo posting 12 points, 4 steals and 3 rebounds for the second win for the Lions.

Cameroon coach Lazare Adingono praised the fighting spirit of the South African.

The coach whose side face Cote dIvoire on Sunday in his team last group-C game said they are not under any pressure.

Coach Adingono also thumm-up effort of FIBA Africa in raising the stake of Africa basketball but concluded that the continent can do more.

Click on boxscore to enlarge (

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alfred Aboya almost a double-double as Cameroon beats Egypt, 96-81

AA2 finishes with 11 points, 9 rebounds in the win. Cameroon is competing in the FIBA Africa 2011 championships in Antananarivo, Madagascar. I'm thinking that would be where the most hoops is being played by the square foot/mile.

26th Afrobasket: Cameroon cage Egypt, win 96-81
by Olusegun Ikuesan
AfricaBasket, Cameroonian Basketball (Men)
Aug 17, 2011

Indomitable Lions of Cameroon Wednesday night stopped the foray of five-time African cup of Nations champion, Egypt with a 96-81 points victory in its group-C opening game.

Cameroon took the first two quarters in grand style by 27-11 and 25-24 points to take a 52-35 points lead at half-time, though the Lazarus Adingono (played at Rhode Island, coached at Canisius) coached Lions gave up the third quarter by 24-28 points but rose to the challenge in the last quarter making a loud statement in a group that comprises 2009 runner-up, Cote d'Ivoire winning by a slim margin of 20-18 points for a final score-line of 96-81 points.

Cameroon Parfait Bitee (Rhode Island) recorded a championship high of 29 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds, he was joined by teammates Cyrille Makanda with 18 points and 4 steals, Franck Ndongo (VCU) 15 points and 3 rebounds and Gaston Essengue (UNLV) 12 points and 5 rebounds.

(No points from Chris Rogers (Arizona))

Lions coach, Adingono declared after the game that the best is yet to be seen of his side, "Yes, we won confortably against Egypt but I want to assure our fans and lovers of the game across Africa that the best is yet to be seen of the Cameroon side."

"The Olympic slot is our target and we are determined to fight for it," the Cameroon coach concluded.

Up next (Friday, Aug 19) for the Lions, South Africa, who got shellacked by Cote d'Ivoire 53-105 in their first game in the tourney.

Click on boxscore to enlarge (

for more stats, visit FIBA here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Buzz: UCLA Bruins

Summer Buzz: UCLA Bruins

By Eamonn Brennan, College Basketball Nation Blog
August, 15, 2011 12:57 PM ET

Our friends at The Mag are previewing one high-profile school per day for their Summer Buzz series. For the sake of all that is synergistic, yours truly will be attempting the same, complementing each comprehensive Insider preview with some analytic fun. Today's subject: UCLA.

When Jerime Anderson got himself indefinitely suspended for allegedly stealing a fellow student's MacBook Pro, he didn't just put his entire season in jeopardy. He also underscored the issues facing his coach, Ben Howland, as he looks to build on last season's surprisingly solid success.

Those issues come down to this: frontcourt excellence, backcourt transience. Or, put another way, UCLA has a lot of exciting forwards to choose from. Almost too many. But could the backcourt hold the Bruins back? Can Howland bridge the gap? How?

If only the Wear twins were guards.

Ben Howland has some holes to fill in his backcourt entering this season.

One glance at UCLA's prospective personnel reveals the dichotomy at work here. The program lost guards Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt to the NBA draft. Anderson is indefinitely suspended. The rest of the Bruins' likely backcourt contributors are either unspectacular role players (Lazeric Jones), little-used reserves (Tyler Lamb) or promising but unproven recruits (shooting guard Norman Powell, the No. 15-ranked prospect at his position in the class of 2011).

Meanwhile, the Bruins' frontcourt can only be described as "loaded." Sophomore center Joshua Smith, who used his soft hands and gigantic body to overpower defenders in his first collegiate season, is back. So is forward Reeves Nelson, who was an efficient scorer and one of his conference's best rebounders, particularly on the defensive end. In and of itself, this is a really big frontcourt, and I mean that both literally and figuratively.

Then there are the Wear twins.

The former UNC commits left Chapel Hill and returned to the West Coast to sit out a year before becoming eligible to take the court this fall. Here's the thing about these guys right now: It's possible many of us have overrated the impact the Wears will have, or focused a bit too much on the results of their dual transfer in a news-bereft offseason. The UCLA partisans at Bruins Nation (somewhat cattily) make this argument here, and they're right: Right now, the Wears are backup forwards. That's it.

Sure, David and Travis Wear were ranked among the top 10 forwards in the class of 2009, and the fact that there's two of them adds intrigue in and of itself. But right now, the brothers provide depth. That's their role. It might be the best frontcourt depth in the country, if you believe both can contribute at the collegiate level right away, but it's still merely depth all the same. Nelson and Smith are the biggest factors in this frontcourt. That doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon.

Which is why it would be so nice if David and Travis Wear were not 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forwards but rather 6-4, 180-pound combo guards. Because what UCLA needs is guards. The Bruins have to find a way to replace Malcolm Lee's capable point guard play. They have to deal with the loss of Honeycutt, an emerging scoring threat with the length to guard multiple positions on the defensive end. They have to find someone in the backcourt that can occasionally hit an open 3. (In 2011, the Bruins shot 32.6 percent from beyond the arc, which ranked No. 253 in the country.)

Perhaps most importantly, they have to find backcourt players that can initiate the offense in ways that maximize Smith and Nelson's respective abilities.

Howland's style has always been rugged. His teams thrive on slow tempo, defensive brilliance and physicality. Things aren't pretty on the offensive end, but they don't have to be. They just have to be effective. In this case, "effective" means "good enough to score more points than your opponent, who probably won't score that many, because you're UCLA and your defense is usually pretty awesome." (Effective is probably a more efficient way of saying that, but oh well.)

Howland has the pieces he needs in the post. His team will be big, physical and strong. Smith's 300-plus pounds are more than a handful in the low block, and he's still miles from maxing out on his potential. Nelson is a rebound-and-putback machine. Both players will use their size and strength to patrol the defensive end, and with the Wears available to back them up, UCLA won't have to worry about either player tiring too quickly.

Still, UCLA's backcourt could undermine that. Jones is a key; as a senior, this is his team to control. But he can't do it alone. Barring Anderson's return, perhaps Powell can make an immediate impression. Lamb is a promising candidate, too.

Until we get to, say, December, we won't really know how this backcourt development is coming along. (We also won't know whether Anderson will be allowed to play or not.) If last year's season is any indication, there will be early struggles. Slowly but surely, the Bruins just kept getting better in 2011. Eventually, they just got it.

It's fair to predict that much for the Bruins of 2012. At the very least -- Wear twins or no -- the post will be this team's favorite place on the floor. Whether the perimeter can complement it effectively is the crucial question. I hate to say it, but here it comes: We'll see. At this point, anything else is just a guess.

Indomitable Lions arrived in Antananarivo

Indomitable Lions arrived in Antananarivo

by Kristian Santiago
Africa Basket, Cameroonian Basketball (Men)
Aug 16, 2011

Under the guidance of head coach Lazare Adingono , the Indomitable Lions arrived in Madagascar to compete for the African crown.

No Luc Mbah a Moute (200-G/F-86, college: UCLA), Brice Vounang (202-F/C-82, college: San Diego), Harding NaNa (203-F-81, college: Delaware) or Ruben Boumtje (212-C-78, college: Georgetown) for the ambitioned country, still the Central African nation should be counted in for the top three spots in this year's edition.

The roster:

Parfait Bitee (188-G-85: Rhode Island)
Cyrille Makanda (195-G-80)
Brice Nengsu (190-G-83, college: Angelo St.)
Christian Bayang (193-G-87)
Franck Ndongo (198-F-88: VCU)
Chris Rodgers (196-G-84, college: Arizona)
Georges Manyaka (F/C)
Gaston Essengue (203-F-83, college: UNLV)
Alfred Aboya (206-F/C-85, college: UCLA)
Alexis Wangmene (200-F/C-89)
Benoit Owona (188-G/F-89)
Aldo Curti (180-G-87)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011-12 Men's Basketball Tickets On Sale Now

2011-12 Men's Basketball Tickets On Sale Now

You can join the 2011-12 "Bruin Roadshow" in an arena near you by calling (310) 825-2946.

UCLA Men's Basketball Official Website
Aug. 8, 2011


This year's UCLA Men's Basketball schedule includes 14 games at Los Angeles Sports Arena, four games at Honda Center and one exhibition game at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., while Pauley Pavilion is being renovated. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 8, 2011. You can join the 2011-12 "Bruin Roadshow" in an arena near you by calling (310) 825-2946. Catch all 19 exciting contests in UCLA's inaugural Pac-12 season.

As always, season tickets offer the best seats at affordable prices. New for purchase this year is general admission season tickets. You can experience UCLA Basketball at a fraction of the cost in upper-level endzone seats.

Also on sale is the popular UCLA Basketball mini-plans, which allow you to catch the big games that fit your schedule and your budget. Prices for the mini-plans start at just $49. The mini-plans provide flexibility, great seats and the opportunity for you to choose from a variety of opponents. The mini-plans are flexible, economical and provide great entertainment.

Games are better in groups, so gather your friends, family, co-workers, and fellow alumni to experience the excitement of Bruin Basketball with special ticket pricing for groups. Receive 30-50 percent off most single game tickets when you bring a group of 15 or more!

You can also choose the games you want with the single-game tickets that start as low as $15.

To see more information on all of these plans click here. Or you can order by phone by calling (310) UCLA-WIN. The Central Ticket Office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To view the 2011-12 UCLA men's basketball schedule, click here.

EA SPORTS Maui Invitational 2011 Bracket Announced

Click on bracket to enlarge

EA SPORTS Maui Invitational 2011 Bracket Announced

Bruins draw host Chaminade University in the Championship Round as one of the eight "Island Teams" in this year's new format.

UCLA Men's Basketball Official website
Aug. 4, 2011

MAUI, Hawaii -

2011 Maui Invitational Bracket And Release

The EA SPORTS Maui Invitational hosted by Chaminade University today announced the bracket for the 28th edition of Basketball In Paradise. The bracket includes a new format, which reflects the Tournament's first expansion since 1986.

"We are excited to kickoff the expansion with such stellar matchups," Tournament Chairman David Odom said. "Expanding the Tournament provides more student-athletes, schools and conferences the chance to show their best at the premier early-season college basketball tournament."

The bracket format includes the traditional eight-team, three-day event played at Maui's oceanfront Lahaina Civic Center during Thanksgiving week, which will now be known as the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational "Championship Round," and the eight participating teams playing in the Championship Round are called the "Island Teams".

With expansion comes four additional Division I teams known as the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational "Mainland Teams." Each of the eight Island Teams (excluding Chaminade) will play one game against a Mainland Team - seven games in total - before traveling to Maui for the Championship Round. The Mainland Teams will then play each other in the "Regional Games" - a four-game event.

"We are looking forward to hosting the inaugural Regional Games of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational," said Middle Tennessee State Athletic Director Chris Massaro. "We are also very excited to be one of the Mainland Teams challenging the Island Teams this year. It's an honor to be included with some of the most respected programs from around the country."

Refer to the attached bracket for Tournament matchups, game dates and times. Below find information which further outlines the new bracket format and general Tournament information.

The eight Island Teams that will play in the Opening Games and Championship Round are Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA and host Chaminade. The four Mainland Teams that will play in the Opening Games and Regional Games are Belmont, Middle Tennessee State, Towson and UNCG.

UCLA will host Middle Tennessee State in the opening game of the 28th Annual EA SPORTS Maui Invitational at the L.A. Sports Arena on Nov. 15, 2011. Regardless of the outcome of that game, the Bruins will advance to Maui to face Chaminade on Nov. 21 at the Lahaina Civic Center at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The Bruins will face the winner or loser of the Kansas/Georgetown game on Nov. 22.

The ESPN networks will combine once again to offer live television coverage of all 12 Championship Round games. For the third straight year, every game will be produced in high definition on ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNU HD, with the ESPN and ESPN2 games also streaming live on

In all, 89 schools representing 21 conferences and 39 states have competed in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, with Maui participants having won an astounding 62 of 73 NCAA championships and 58 of 73 national runner-up spots while comprising 239 of 292 Final Four teams.


UCLA basketball: Bruins get 'easy' opener in Maui Invitational

By Ben Bolch
The Los Angeles Times
August 4, 2011 | 1:06pm

It's being touted as one of the strongest Maui Invitational fields in the history of the tournament, with Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Georgetown, Tennessee and Michigan among the potential opponents for UCLA.

So the Bruins had to feel some relief Thursday when it was announced that their opening-round game Nov. 21 at the Lahaina Civic Center would be against ... Chaminade.

That's right, UCLA gets the tiny host school and a probable victory before taking on the winner of a game between Kansas and Georgetown in a semifinal the next day.

With apologies to Lee Corso, not so fast.

Remember that these are essentially the same Bruins who lost to Montana last season and had narrow misses against UC Irvine, Oregon State, etc. Getting up for an underdog was an issue all the way into the Pacific 10 Conference tournament, where UCLA was blown out by Oregon.

So the schedule makers might not have done the Bruins any favors. Chaminade has a 6-73 record all-time in the tournament, most famously defeating top-ranked Virginia and Ralph Sampson in 1982.

Duke, by the way, has won the event all four times it has been a participant, most recently in 2007. UCLA is 6-3 in the tournament, having won in its last appearance in 2006.

The organizers changed the makeup of the event this year, adding a wrinkle in which the teams headed to Maui first play a game on the mainland. UCLA will play Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 15 at the Sports Arena, but the results of the game will have no bearing on whether the Bruins advance to Maui. (Good to know! I feel sorry for MTS, though--atb)

Out-of-work NBA players back in college

Thanks, cliq, for sharing on BZ.

Out-of-work NBA players back in college

By Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports
Aug 9, 4:29 pm EDT

In recent years, Kenny Donaldson gently reminded some of UCLA’s former basketball stars that he could help them return to school to finish their degrees. As UCLA’s athletics assistant director of academic services, Donaldson hoped that any former Bruins who had left school early to play in the NBA would eventually find their way back to campus and work toward graduating.

Thanks, in part, to the NBA lockout, Donaldson’s had a handful of players take him up on his offer this summer. UCLA’s American Popular Culture class now has four out-of-work NBA players – Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, New Orleans Hornets forward Trevor Ariza and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis – among its students. In addition, Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute is taking two classes this summer. Having begun their professional careers, all of the players are paying for their tuition and books.

“When the lockout looked like it was going to be a definite thing, I kind of sat down with each of them and laid out a game plan,” Donaldson said. “You don’t want to get them back in something that they’re not going to be interested in. I presented them with options and they found classes that they thought would be interesting, and are easing back into it right now.”

When Ariza first came to UCLA in 2003 from Los Angeles’ Westchester High School, he didn’t intend to stay long before moving to the NBA. After averaging 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds as a freshman, he declared for the 2004 NBA draft and wasn’t selected until the 43rd overall pick in the second round by the New York Knicks. With Ariza acknowledging he was more focused on pursuing a professional basketball career, Donaldson doubted he’d ever return.

Ariza, however, is now again enrolled at UCLA and is considering taking a much heavier course load in the fall. He’s still deciding on a major, and if the NBA lockout ends, he plans to take online classes.

“Being a regular student is kind of fun,” he said.

Ariza said he is learning more now than as a freshman because he has a “different appreciation” for college. While he is also considering playing in Spain, China or Serbia if the lockout drags into the fall, he is currently focused on his coursework at UCLA.

“I’m really going back for my two sons,” Ariza said. “Eventually they’re going to realize that their dad fulfilled his dreams doing what he wanted to do and still got his degree. For them to see that will be a great example for them to follow.”

Donaldson said former NBA forward Ed O’Bannon has also returned to UCLA, and is expected to complete his degree soon. Two more former Bruins – Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo and New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, who is expected to play in Israel during the lockout – have considered going back to school, Donaldson said.

Ariza thinks the lockout could spur players to take their education more seriously.

“We have a whole lot of our lives to live after basketball,” Ariza said. “We have to understand what we want to do when [retirement] comes. A lot of us came out [of college] really young, and we have no idea what we want to do with our lives if basketball doesn’t work out.”

Ariza, Love, Westbrook, Davis and Mbah a Moute aren’t the only NBA players who have gone back to school this summer. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Randolph has rented an apartment in Baton Rouge within walking distance of Louisiana State University. He is currently enrolled in a math class and has signed up to take three classes in the fall. He has no plans to play overseas.

Randolph played only his freshman season at LSU before entering the 2008 draft, where he was selected 14th by the Golden State Warriors. If the lockout ends during the fall semester, he’d like to finish his classes online and return for summer school. A sociology major, Randolph also is considering joining a fraternity and attending LSU football games.

“The students know I’m from the NBA, but it’s more fun because I can focus on my schoolwork,” said Randolph, who has promised his mother he’d get his degree. “I don’t have the basketball distraction. I’m a more focused student now after being in the real world for a couple of years.”

Randolph met with LSU coach Trent Johnson about volunteering to help at the Tigers’ practices to gain coaching experience. If OK’d by the NCAA, Randolph would like to assist his old team.

“I want to pursue a career in coaching when I’m done playing,” Randolph said. “But I have to have a degree to do that.”

July Commitment Recap

Kudos to Kaz for sharing this on BZ.

July Commitment Recap

By Brian Snow
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Aug 1, 2011

July was loaded with some big commitments. Here is a look at some of the key pledges, headed by Ricardo Gathers to St. John's.

During the month of July was on the road covering events over the course of all 20 days of the two evaluation periods. College coaches were doing the same all month as well. With coaches evaluating and showing love to individual players some key commitments took place that will have a big impact for the future.

Maybe the biggest commitment of July came right at the end when Ricardo Gathers decided to go with St. John’s. The Red Storm love to get up and down the floor under the direction of head coach Steve Lavin, and no forward in the country runs baseline to baseline better than Gathers.

An absolute freak athlete, Gathers runs faster than most guards, and is the most physically imposing player in the country. At roughly 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Gathers looks like he is ready for the NFL today, but he is also developing a decent basketball skill set. He felt that St. John’s was the perfect fit for his skills, and it is tough to disagree based on what he will bring to the table complementing their 2011 class.

Another huge pledge came out west when Gabe York decided on Arizona. More of a small shooting guard than a point guard, York absolutely tore up the Adidas Invitational with his play scoring nearly 50 in a game, and overall just making plays all over the floor.

A scorer who thrives coming off of screens and having the freedom to create off the dribble, York loved a late June visit to Arizona, and decided on the Wildcats over Marquette in a close battle.

Picking up a pair of four-star guards during the month was Xavier. First right before the start of the second July evaluation period it was Myles Davis who issued his commitment to the Musketeers. Davis is one of the premier shooters in the class, and liked his visit enough in June to the school to pull the trigger.

Then a week later it was local product Semaj Christon. A late bloomer, Christon exploded during the AAU season and put on a show in July. After long considering an offer from Georgetown, Christon decided Xavier was the right place for him over Illinois, Providence, and Florida State. The commitment came after Christon impressed in St. Louis.

Arguably the most important commitment to any singular team during the month was Dominic Artis to UCLA. Artis not only fills a huge need for the Bruins at the point guard position, but the four-star floor general also gives UCLA a presence with the loaded Oakland Soldiers AAU program. Look for Artis to have some upward movement in the rankings when they are updated next.

Another key point guard pledge was Charles Mann to Georgia. The Bulldogs and head coach Mark Fox had Mann as a priority going into the month, and managed to secure his pledge right at the start of the second evaluation period. Having a point guard in place to run the show helps Fox with his future recruiting efforts in the state.

Other class of 2012 pledges were Jake Kretzer to Akron, Daquan Cook to UNLV, Aaron Scales to Missouri, and also Anthony January and Dwayne Benjamin to UTEP.

While the class of 2012 had most of the pledges, three high-level commitments also came during the month for the 2013 class.

The most recent of which was Zak Irvin to Michigan. The Wolverines beat out Butler for Irvin who is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward. Irvin is a high level shooter who can make shots off the catch or one dribble pull ups. He is the classic type of wing that John Beilein looks for to fit his system.

Also the Kansas Jayhawks landed an important pledge with Conner Frankamp. Frankamp is a slick ball handler who can really shoot the ball from deep. Not super big or super athletic, Frankamp just finds a way to be successful and will play a role right away for the Jayhawks.

Finally UNLV landed one of their better commitments in some time with Christian Wood. A long and athletic forward, Wood impressed at the Nike Elite 100 for underclassmen, and continued it with his play during July. Wood is a very good shot blocker and someone who can be a threat in pick and pop situations on the offensive end.

Also making his pledge was forward Evan Bradds to Ohio University. Bradds is an excellent early pickup for the Bobcats.

Searching for Shabazz

Thanks to Puffdaddy for sharing this on BZ.


Searching for Shabazz
By: Alex Raskin
Last Updated: 8/5/11 3:25 PM ET

Shabazz Muhammad is supposedly a big talent. We all read stories about the Las Vegas native, but who really knows how good he is until he plays an actual NCAA game?

Sure, the measurables are nice. He's 6-6, 215 pounds and ESPN has him ranked as the third-best prospect in the Class of 2012. Even more intriguing, Muhammad is a lefty who can get to the hoop and has a reliable jumper within 15 feet. He's not a 3-point shooter yet and it's rare when any 17-year-old is actually a good defender, but those are things that can certainly change if he lands with the right program.

And what is the "right program" for Muhammad?

Dave Telep of writes that we won't know that answer anytime soon. So far the list includes UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, UNLV, Memphis, Texas A&M and Kansas—which Telep says is a "slight newbie" for Muhammad.

However Telep doesn't hesitate to say that UCLA, Duke and UNLV are at the top of his list.

"I'll definitely take five visits," Muhammad told Telep, "but I don't know about signing in the early period. If I'm unsure between two schools, I'd probably wait it out and see what school really wants me and which one to go to. If I really knew what college I was going to, I could make the decision right now."

Perhaps Ben Howland and UCLA would be the best for Muhammad, as that choice would probably give him the best defensive fundamentals heading into the NBA. Duke obviously is a top program, but even Mike Krzyzewski doesn't have a laundry list of defensive stoppers like Howland does: Arron Afflalo, Russell Westbrook, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jrue Holiday.

Of course, that's not always what players base these decisions on. Muhammad is from the area, so UNLV will remain a serious possibility, even if it can't offer the same level of competition that UCLA and Duke can.

VIDEO: Clips of Dominic Artis

Thanks to none for sharing on BZ.

VIDEO: Clips of Dominic Artis

By Tracy Pierson
Posted Aug 3, 2011

Check out the point guard from Cali, 5-11 Dominic Artis, who improved his stock this summer and then committed to UCLA...

Prospect: Dominic Artis
High School Team: Las Vegas (Nev.) Findlay Prep
AAU Team: Oakland Soldiers
Class: 2012
Ranking: 95
Height: 5-11
Pos.: Point Guard
Schools Recruiting: Committed to UCLA.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jordan Farmar signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Jordan Farmar signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv

New Jersey Nets Guard Signs with Israeli Powerhouse

By: Leonard Carl
Published: August 3rd, 2011 in Culture » Society » News

Thanks to the National Basketball Association lockout, New Jersey Nets guard and former first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers Jordan Farmar is making aliyah, well, that is temporary aliyah.

According to reports, Farmar, whose step-father is a Tel Aviv native, has signed a one-year contract with Israeli power house Maccabi Tel Aviv. The deal is said to include a special clause which allows the to Farmar to return to the NBA Nets if and when the lockout is settled.

"I'm very excited to play in Tel Aviv,'' Farmar told the Star-Ledger. "I went there as a little kid. My stepdad is from Tel Aviv. I watched Tel Aviv play basketball and football -- soccer.''

Farmar signed a 3-year contract with the Nets prior to last season after spending his first four years in the NBA with the Lakers who chose him 26th overall in 2006.

Last season, Farmar averaged 9.6 points and 5.0 assists.

Farmar, who had also reportedly been talking to Maccabi Haifa, will attempt to go through the traditional “aliyah” route, which would make him an Israeli citizen, giving his new, albeit, temporary team, added flexibility since Israeli teams are allowed to dress only four foreign players.