Ben Ball News & Notes

I am actually really starting to enjoy this sports Fall. Its now an open secret that CTS is a Doofus. He is pretty much a dead man walking. BN is buzzing with talks of a new coach. On the other side of the town we are seeing the first tangible sign of the possible crumbling of Pom Pom’s (allegedly) corrupt and scandal tainted football program. And just in time we get to read more and more delicious stories from the world of Ben Ball. We got a few today. So let’s get right to it. Pucin has a great read on Russel Westbrook. Of course in a Pucin like manner she leads with his new haircut (click on the link to see the picture). But it has some good info on how the young guard prepared himself this summer

"I'm ready," he says.

"I'm faster and stronger than last year. I gained seven pounds. I shot the ball, 600 or 700 or 800 times a day. I've been playing point in practice, going against Darren. How can that not make me ready?"

Westbrook, 6 feet 3 and 189 pounds, worked hard on his shot over the summer at Howland's request.

Where he worked was wherever he could find an empty court, whether it was at UCLA or Ross Snyder Park at 41st and Compton, or Rowley Park off 132nd Street in Gardena.

His father got off work at 2:30 in the afternoon and by 3 Westbrook would be in a shooting rhythm, taking passes and firing away.

With the senior Westbrook pausing to take notes, Reggie Morris, Russell's former high school coach, supervised some of the workouts, helping his former star find a more consistent release point and more arc in his jump shot.

"We have to find his cotton shot, the 10- to 15-foot runner in the lane," Westbrook's father said. "I call that the cotton shot.
And I cannot wait to see that "cotton shot." But Russell is not the only kid I am excited to see this coming season.

Shockingly this one freshman we have been hearing a lot about is off to a great start. DN’s Painter has a story on Love reporting how fouling Bruins’ man in the middle may not work out so well for our opponents this season:
After Monday's exhibition game against Chico State, in which he finished with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, Love said it was like "Hack-a-Shaq." But Love, unlike Shaquille O'Neal, cashes in on those opportunities. He made both of his free throws in his first exhibition game and was 9for 12 on Monday.

He said he became a good free-throw shooter at an early age.

"I had to," Love said. "Guys were hacking me (Monday), but that's something I've got to expect. I was actually surprised I missed three last night."

He's kept his cool, too, although that's not always easy. Not even in practice, where Love suffered back scratches, and kicks to the shin, calf and a knee collision.

"That's something that Coach Howland and I have gone over," Love said. "I'm going to get fouled. I'm going to get hacked in games, but I'm going to have to keep my cool.

"There's times in practice when I want to kick the ball against the stands, but I have to keep my composure."
Keeping his cool is just one aspect of Love’s game. Robert Kuwada writes on how Love’s game is helping everyone else in the team:
The Bruins are doing nothing to discourage the sumptuousness of an offense that is fluid in the half court to go along with the fast breaks sparked by a frenetic defense.

"He makes a huge difference. Last year, a lot of teams focused on the wings, but with that inside presence now they have to respect both," Shipp said of Love.

"Last year, we had a problem with the zones but with Kevin in the lineup, it's going to be interesting to see how team plays us now," Collison said. "He does a good job of flashing to the high post and getting players outside good looks, and he's just so strong. Really, on offensive rebounds, we should get every rebound we could get, offensively and defensively.

"Since I've been here we've been mainly a guard team, and it's really hard to get some easy buckets in transition or score when there is so much focus on the best shooters – they can really collapse or deny, whatever. But with Kevin bringing the inside presence it really takes the attention off us. That way, (opposing teams) will have to help down low and we're such a good outside shooting team it's going to make it a lot easier for us to hit those shots."

For the Bruins' point guard, there is no overstating addition of Love.

"I think he's better than advertised," Collison said. "People talk about his outlet passes, his ability to score, his outside shooting. The fact that he's so confident makes him that much more of a player. Just in practice, he gets everything so quick. As a freshman, you're not supposed to get everything as early as Kevin does, but he gets it done."
Now being a worrywart that I am, I am a little worried one detail from Kuwada’s report as he described Collison’s injury as a "minor tear." I thought DC’s injury was just a "mild sprain", something that was reiterated in the notes posted in the official site. Can anyone clearify this? Does mild sprain entail a "minor tear"?

Regardless, I am sure DC will heal up and he has time. Considering the kid who is backing him up. I will end with this bit on Westbrook from Pucin’s story (emphasis mine):
"He's got swagger and he walks around with confidence," Keating says. "But he will listen. He will take in what a coach says and he will do it. No questions asked."
Sounds like a perfect Ben Ball warrior.

Lastly, Pucin has a story on how many in BN have been upset with CSTV's coverge of the first two games. Apparently Friday's game is not on TV. But due to big number of complaints the CSTV is making their Friday broadcast free and they are saying the problem is fixed. Here is the full story. Once again I will miss this Friday's game (actually I will be away the whole weekend during which rest of the gang will keep this place going). But there will be an open game thread as usual. And I am sure rest of you will fill us in.

Thank God for Coach Howland.

GO BRUINS.
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