Don't look now, but Ben Ball is around the corner. We have only 25 days till left till tip off and practice gets started next Friday (October 17). And it looks like once again the Ben Ball warriors will start the season with nagging injury issues:
At the Wooden Award tipoff lunch Wednesday, UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland said a key to the Bruins' season would be staying healthy because he has just 11 scholarship players.
About six hours after the event at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, an MRI revealed that forward Nikola Dragovic appears to have a cyst that involves his left foot and ankle. Further tests are needed, which means Dragovic likely will need to see a specialist.
Dragovic had an X-ray Tuesday and an MRI on Wednesday. Howland said Dragovic doesn't remember hurting the foot but that he started to experience pain.
"We can't afford to sustain any big injuries," Howland said.
Also, freshman Jerime Anderson has been dealing with a pulled groin or deep stomach muscle pull. Howland said Anderson has been dealing with the injury on and off for the the past few months. He's been limited to shooting and might not be at full strength for another two to three weeks. [...]
"The first time he dealt with this he stopped rehabbing and then pulled it again," Howland said of Anderson. "Then he came back and it happened again. We want to make sure he's going to be OK before (he returns)."
That's too bad about about ND and JA. I had heard that ND was having a terrific off season in terms of conditioning and getting in shape. As for JA this might set him back a bit in terms of competing for PT in our loaded backcourt. Hopefully their rehab assignments go well in next weeks so that they can be ready to contribute late during the OOC season.
Meanwhile, per Howland Morgan (just like Love had to last year) has work to do in terms of getting in shape:
``Morgan has size, but he needs to get better with his conditioning,'' Howland said. ``He's below average where he needs to be. It's a different level of conditioning in Division I than he's used to. He's got to get bigger and stronger. Everybody has this vision that he's going to take over for Kevin Love, but there is no taking over for Kevin Love. Kevin, for me, was a once-in-a-lifetime player.''
Not a surprise. It will take a while for a front court freshmen to get in the proper game shape to play up to Howland's level of intensity. Morgan will get there, but it will take some time.
Starting in late September, from the time I could go by myself into a drugstore or convenience store or any place that sold magazines, I would start looking for the Street and Smith's college basketball issue.
It was early Christmas, unwrapping the magazine page by page, finding out what team was ranked No. 1, where my beloved Marquette Warriors would show up (yes, they were the Warriors and not the Golden Eagles way back when), see what college seniors were All-American favorites (they were mostly seniors) and what high school players were being highly recruited (we didn't have the Internet and a billion recruiting services to give a rating to a 5-foot-4 seventh-grade point guard).
That magazine would last me for a good two weeks of study. I went looking for Street and Smith's this year and it wasn't until a couple of days ago, when I found Sporting News and Athlon and Lindy's but no Street and Smith's that I realized Street and Smith's is gone. Sporting News took over Street and Smith's. Like just about every bank I've ever used, the name of my old favorite has changed/been consolidated/disappeared.
Aaaah. Good ole Diane. Still stuck in the 80s. That explains some of her commentary in her coverage of UCLA hoops.
Well ... doesn't matter for us. We are still getting ready and fired up for another year with the latest edition of our Ben Ball warriors.