The Prince, NBA & His Experience At UCLA

LRMAM was in town to take on the Lake show this week. Ramona Shelburne from the DN caught up with the Bruin Prince, who had some interesting comments re. his time at UCLA:

Mbah a Moute played a team-high 31 minutes in the Bucks loss to the Lakers on Sunday night, finishing with 14 points , six rebounds, four steals and two assists.

`` He's got a lot to learn but he's been a reliable defender and that's what gets him on the floor,'' Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said after the game. ``And he makes enough good offensive plays to stay on the floor.''

Wait, did Skiles complement Mbah a Moute's offense?

He wasn't exactly known for that at UCLA.

``It's always been a part of my game but I was just not in a position where it was my job or my role to do that,'' Mbah a Moute said of his offensive game at UCLA. ``I have a lot more freedom here, I'm in a position where I can really take those shots.

``I was just not in the position to do that at UCLA. There were other people that would shoot the ball more. That's not what I was asked to do.''

Ramona doesn’t provide anything more from LRMAM re. his comments on Coach Howland’s offense. So I thought it would be good to add some context to it.

There was nothing strange of unnatural about LRMAM not being the focal point of Coach Howland’s offense last season (which clearly was effective considering it was the 7th most efficient offense in the country by the stat crunchers at KenPom).

He was playing in a team that featured two lottery picks such as KL and RW, and a probable first round pick in DC, if he had decided to go pro. Plus there was also JS who is arguably has better offensive skills (at least from the perimeter) than LRMAM. So, there was nothing unusual about LRMAM’s role in a Howland team, which required him to be a defensive stopper (which ultimately was his meal ticket to the NBA).

Also keep in mind LRMAM wasn’t healthy all season long dealing with various nagging injuries causing him to miss games here and there, thwarting his total integration into the offense of the team.

If LRMAM was not asked to “shoot more’ from long range, there was a good reason for it. He was not a great perimeter shooter as he shot 20 # from behind the arc in 07-08 after shooting 33 percent in 06-07 (and I will not bring up the second half of the Memphis game in full detail).

Still despite the presence of the aforementioned Ben Ball warriors with more pure offensive skills, nagging healthy issues, and his shooting issues,  LRMAM was able to carve out a solid niche within Coach Howland’s offense as he almost averaged in double digits last year (9.9 pts per game). So considering his primary role as the defensive glue of our entire team, Howland sure managed his roster in a way, that gave LRMAM more than his fair share of chances to flash his offensive potential as hybrid 3-4 guy in his team.

Anyway, I am more than ecstatic for LRMAM’s success in the NBA. No doubt his success is being noted by kids like Mike Moser, who signed with UCLA so that he could specifically get a chance to play under Howland and develop his skills for the NBA. But we need to make sure that media is not advancing some BS meme based on out of context quotes, that somehow all these Ben Ball warriors who punched their ticket for the NBA after developing in Howland’s system didn’t get to blossom at UCLA.

If not for Howland and Ben Ball, kids like LRMAM, RW, KL, AA, JF, RH and others wouldn’t find themselves to be in best position to succeed in the NBA.

GO BRUINS.

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