Nikola Dragovic, despite scoring 11 points, had a pretty dreadful game. We could laundry list the many things he did poorly, on the majority of UCLA’s offensive and defensive possessions. He only scored on lay-ups created by his teammates’ assists, or free throws; he missed every other shot he took from beyond 3 feet, and actually missed a couple of lay-ups, too, that were barely contested. Usually, at least, he rebounds well, but he didn’t even do that in this one. To start the game, Dragovic on a break missed a teammate on a sloppy behind-the-back pass, had a couple of more bad passes and poor defensive trips, but he inexplicably stayed in the game. In the second half, Dragovic missed a wide-open three, and then drove the lane and tried to go up for a flashy one-handed dunk and was easily called for a charge. A couple of minutes later, Howland did, in fact, pull Dragovic and his back-up, freshman Brendan Lane, came into the game and immediately hit a three-pointer.
It seemed like an obvious message from the basketball gods.
Lane played a very encouraging 14 minutes, getting five points and 1 rebound (even though it seemed like he got a couple more), with two assists and 3 blocks. He was better defensively, which probably kept him on the floor longer, and he looked far more comfortable in the flow of the offense, setting screens without obviously having to think about it. He does, though, still look a bit tentative – but if this is tentative we’re looking forward to when he can play without thinking.
Needless to say I trust Tracy's opinions when it comes to basketball observations a lot. This is not the first time Tracy made those observations and they jive with what I have seen in pretty much ever game (the Dragovic part) this season. It's encouraging to hear his positive take on Lane's game (BTW make sure you read rest of TP's take here). I hope Lane can keep it up and Howland gives him the same margin of error he has given Dragovic last two years.
While Dragovic has been bricking away, Keefe has been rehabing. Right now he is hopeful enough that he thinks he can be back by ASU game this week. Apparent he "warmed up with teammates," ran the floor, shoot jump shots and even dunked according to LAT (prior to the Delaware State game):
"I'll play in the next game," he said.
Doctors cleared him for noncontact work last week and he is expected to begin contact drills in a few days. The Bruins face Arizona State at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday.
It will def. be a huge help in terms of depth purposes to have JK back by the Pac-10 season. Speaking of getting ready for the conference season all eyes are of course on Anderson. It sounds like he had a great start last night before getting sloppy at the very end. Howland offered the following thoughts on his starting pg:
Sophomore point guard Jerime Anderson, who had seven assists and five turnovers Tuesday, had five assists and didn't turn the ball over in the first half Sunday. He had six turnovers after intermission but Howland was willing to cut him some slack.
"Maybe he got a little complacent (after the Bruins built the 29-point advantage)," Howland said. "But he did have six steals and six assists.
"If he had limited the turnovers, it would have been a great game (for Anderson)."
We haven't seen a consistent performance from Anderson the entire season. Wonder if we will see any signs of it this week.