Let's start our Monday with some good news from the basketball front. Per Dohn JMM is working out again:
UCLA hoops sophomore-to-be center J'mison Morgan is back working out after offseason knee surgery. He was doing individual shooting and jumping drills with coaches last week.
Keeping fingers crossed for the big fella's full recovery. It is great to hear how the kid instead of feeling discouraged from his recent surgery is doing everything he can to get healthy and get in shape for next season. No doubt this kind of perseverence will pay off for him in Westwood.
Switching gears let's work in some football and softball. Bruin FB Tobi Umodo has a passion for sports writing. During the off season he pens a weekly column entitled, "Keeping It Bruin: A Look Into UCLA Athletics," for the Canyon News, which I am assuming is a publication serving the Westside. This week Tobi is bummed out about the softball team's early exit from the NCAA tournament:
WESTWOOD—I was hoping I would not have to write this article at all, but unfortunately life does not always work out the way you want it to. This holds very true for the UCLA softball team as they were ousted from the Super Regionals by the Missouri Tigers on Sunday, May 24, in the third game of the series.
The Bruins went into the series defeating the Tigers earlier during preseason 2-1, so it was a tad bit ironic that after the first game on Saturday, the Tigers came out on top 2-1. Defensively the Bruins had no problems. Their ace, junior Megan Langenfeld pitched a complete game, allowing only five hits, two runs and one walk in seven innings while striking out six batters.
Unfortunately they were not able to translate their success on defensive over to their batting. They finished the game with only five hits, two by sophomore Katie Schroeder, and left seven runners on base. After the disappointing lost, they came Sunday with the need to win both games to move on in the tournament.
"It was a combination of a lot of different things," said junior Kaila Shull about their performance on Saturday. "We came out Saturday and lost and that changes the dynamic of everything, knowing your going into Sunday having to win two games. We need to execute better offensively."
You can read Tobi's writeup over here. Of course in case you haven't make sure to read Daynuh's full season wrap which is currently in the recommended section of our fanposts.
Moving on, we have notes from couple of NBA alums who have prospered despite having to suffer through Lavin era in Westwood. Jason Kapono recently traveled to Korea and spoke to the youngsters over there about making the best out of his talent and ability in the NBA:
At the camp, which wrapped up Sunday, Kapono shared a bit of his knowledge and experience with Korea's best young players. He talked about the importance of helping the team win by doing what you do best.
``Not everyone is going to be a LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, who does everything well. You've got to figure out what your strengths are and try to perfect them.
``You have to figure out how to take your skills and mesh it in with five other guys. There's a lot of players who care more about their stats, but if you don't win, it's not a lot of fun.''
As a specialist, Kapono comes off the bench and receives about 20 minutes of playing time per game, taking about 10 shots, including a few from downtown. Over his career, Kapono has proved his worth by making the best of limited opportunities.
Kapono embraces his role as a specialist and said he's modeled his game after players like Kerr, who play a similar style and have similar strengths. He said he planned to advise the young players at the camp to do the same.
While the specialists never get the glory of the superstars, the 28-year-old does have an NBA championship ring he earned with the Miami Heat in 2006 and he's also a two-time NBA All-Star Weekend 3-Point Shootout Champion (2007-2008).
From reading the piece, I was pretty amazed to find out that Jason is currently tied with Arizona alum Steve Kerr as the greatest 3-point specialist of all time, with a career average of 0.454. Good for Jason. He was always classy and maintained his composure while his talent was being wasted by an incompetent individual posing as a head coach at UCLA.
Another kid, who has been able to make the best out of his basketball talent despite getting no coaching at UCLA is Baron Davis. B'Diddy is currently enjoying his off season and just like KL and MJD, is setting examples on how to pimp UCLA every opportunity he gets. Here was his twitter feed from this past weekend: