Once again we will start our walk in Orlando. Brian Dohn reports on how LRMAM is in love with the idea of being a jumpshooter:
Mbah a Moute, who is in Orlando, Fla., participating in the NBA's pre-draft camp, is confident in his jump shot, and that could be the key to whether he gets a chance to make an NBA roster or remains at UCLA for his senior season.
In declaring for the NBA draft but not signing with an agent, Mbah a Moute left open the opportunity to return to college. Yet he is shelling out a few thousand dollars to train for NBA workouts, and he enlisted Joe Abunassar to help turn his inconsistent jump shot into an asset and work his way into the June 26 NBA draft.
"Consistency is very important to me on a jump shot," said Abunassar, who runs an Impact Basketball training company. "The real thing with Luc is getting him repetition. Luc needs to be a dangerous mid-range guy, which he's very much become.
"His 3-point shooting has gotten much, much better, and it's going to continue to improve. Mostly with him, it's the consistency of his release, and his footwork."
Mbah a Moute, who is training at the Home Depot Center, has the ability to defend and rebound, and strong instincts for the game.
But even as he declared his intention to enter the NBA draft, he acknowledged the need to shoot the basketball much better.
I have never heard of this Abunassar dude before. But I will once again repeat what I wrote yesterday. IMHO LRMAM’s meal ticket is his ability to play defense and rebound. If he is going to make it to the next level, I think he needs to do by perfecting the attributes that made him a sensation in his freshman season.
If LRMAM insists on envisioning himself as a jump shooter, I am not really sure I want him back in UCLA for his senior year. I rather have Coach Howland work younger kids like Keefe, Morgan, Gordon and experienced senior like AA2, who will actually understand and appreciate their roles in his team game, and play within themselves. I am not sure I want to see the team game sacrificed for a kid, who is going to insist on being a jump shooter, and in the process shoot us out of big games (like he did by taking those bonehead jumpers against Memphis State). Hopefully Howland and his staff strongly communicate that message to LRMAM if he is coming back as a senior at UCLA. He is going to have to play within the role assigned to him by the best college basketball coach in America, not some guy like Joe Abunassar, who thinks Luc has become a "dangerous mid-range guy" during his NBA workouts.
Anyway, moving on the LA Times has a profile on our softball team which is making a return to the big show after one year absence. The Bruins are making their 27th appearance in the World Series (our program has been around for 33 years) thanks to superb pitching and timely hitting during its post–season games:
Pitching has carried the Bruins (50-7) most of the way, but the offense has come alive of late. UCLA had 28 home runs in 52 regular season games, but has eight in five postseason games.
They are outhitting opponents .338 to .165 in the post season.
"We're playing good softball at the right time," Inouye-Perez said. "Our table-setters are getting on, we're moving runners up and we're getting the big clutch hits."
The trick will be to maintain that level for the next five days and get this year's seniors a championship ring. No class has gone four years at UCLA without winning a championship, and this is the last opportunity for the class of '08, which lost in the finals in 2005 and finished fourth in 2006.
"It is part of our vision to make sure every Bruin leaves with a ring," Inouye-Perez said.
But that doesn't make this year any different, Selden said.
"That's always the goal at UCLA," she said. "It's not because we didn't make it here last year or because our class hasn't won one yet. No one year in the past is the reason to want to win it. We're all driven to get this far. And being able to overcome the adversity we've gone through will help us get through the adversity we'll face this week."
Jelly and her team-mates will get things going tonight at 6 pm PST on ESPN. We will have an open game thread ready to go.
On to football, Dohn posted a note from last weekend’s QB event in Santa Barbara, which I consider to be a pretty exciting development:
One thing I kept forgetting to post from the weekend was how UCLA signee Kevin Prince, the quarterback out of Crespi High, was a huge hit at the Steve Clarkson event in Santa Barbara.
In talking to a few people about Prince's performance, they said he looked the best out of the quarterbacks in attendance.
If this is true, it’s pretty encouraging considering the QBs Prince is being compared to include blue chippers such as Matt Barkley (#1 ranked QB from class of 2009 who committed to Southern Cal), Terrell Pryor (#1 ranked QB from class of 2008 who committed to Ohio State), and Dayne Crist (committed to Notre Dame). No wonder Neuheisel and Chow jumped on this kid so fast when they took control in Westwood.
Lastly, we will end the walk with a quick visit with LA’s other marquee basketball team. Lakers are experiencing what the world of Ben Ball was going through this past March, as rest of the country is whining about a close no call in their last playoff games. Apparently even the NBA officials just like the Pac-10 ones did after the Cal game, have stepped in. All I will do is echo, what our friends at Forum Blue and Gold, the super blog covering the best basketball team in the history of NBA said following game 4:
Let’s talk about the obvious, the no-call on Brent Barry in the final seconds of the game. I’ll say again (this time to Spurs fans) what I have said many times before on this site (and made some Lakers fans mad at me) — if you leave the game up to the refs in the final few seconds, you get what you get. The Spurs had 47:58 to do the things that take the game out of the hands of the referees — hitting more than 7 of their 24 three pointers, keeping the Lakers off the offensive boards, and much more. I thought Fisher should have been called for a before-the-shot foul (two shots), but if you depend on the refs in that situation you take chances.
Let’s hope the Lakers close it out tonight (tip off 9pm EST).
Flipping between Lakers and Bruins. Should be a great night in this Nation.