We are getting very close. The season gets started with an exhibition game tomorrow night at Pauley (more on that below). Coach Howland is getting close to having his full squad of Ben Ball warriors back in practice. From the LA Times:
With the team preparing for its first exhibition game against Concordia on Wednesday night, Howland had a relatively large contingent of healthy bodies on the court for Monday's practice.
Only freshman forward Brendan Lane sat out the entire session, because of a sprained ankle.
Guard Michael Roll took part in noncontact drills before wrapping his sore ankle in ice. Point guard Jerime Anderson did even better, lasting about two-thirds of the way.
"The groin's feeling real good, real healthy," Anderson said. "I think they're just easing me back in."
That abundance of caution will continue through the week, with Howland already deciding that Anderson, Roll and Lane will sit out the Concordia game.
The news about JA is definitely encouraging. ML was excited to have almost everyone back at practice:
"This was the first practice that we had where everybody felt really good," sophomore guard Malcolm Lee said. "At one point we only had 10 people practicing, and there were no subs. If one person was about to get hurt, you had to tell them to just suck it up, because we had no more bodies. It felt really good today to have almost everyone out here."
Well apparently ND had a little case of food poisoning (per the Times he hate "pasta that had been left out too long") as he left practice about half way through. He should be fine. ND is still going to be serve a "punishment" and be benched for the opening tip off tomorrow night for missing a team-meeting this week. Howland sounds really serious about it:
"He might have got out of the discipline for missing the mandatory meeting by getting food poisoning," Howland said. "Anything's possible."
LOL. Gotta love Howland.
As for practices RN has made his presence felt early on as a freshman by leading the team in rebounds (no doubt that has Howland's attention). But he sill has lot to learn:
"Just the game speed," he said. "I think all the freshmen are used to dominating on their high school teams. This has been really similar to what I went through my freshman year of high school."
On defense, the 6-8, 228-pound forward has worked on covering opponents along the perimeter, focusing on footwork and lateral quickness.
On offense, he's simply trying to be more patient.
"Instead of dominating the ball and getting the majority of shots, I'm just trying to make good plays when I'm open," he said. "Just trying to play solid."
If you can't wait to see RN and rest of the warriors, you can check them out online tomorrow against Concordia. UCLA All-Access, UCLA Athletics' online multimedia platform, will carry exclusive online video of the games against Concordia on November 4, Humboldt State on November 10 and Delaware State on December 27. You can get more details here. We will throw up an open thread for that game right around tip off so that folks who are following it online or via radio can post away.