Let's get back to our school and our program. While the freakshow across town has been on the national stage all week here is once again a little reminder on just how lucky we are to have this guy leading our basketball program at UCLA:
That was also at the alumni event at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza in Westlake Village on May 12th, 2009 (You already saw CRN's (now well publicized remarks) address from that event earlier this week).
The speech is a basketball junkie's dream. Again listening to him it always hits me about how fortunate we are to have this taking care of Coach Wooden's program.
Coach Howland's remarks above tracks very close to what he told the alumnis up in Bay Area. He gives updates on all of our Ben Ball warriors in great detail. He talks about his returning players and he also specifically advocated for a two year rule for college kids before going to the NBA (he brought it up interestingly when he was talking about Jrue Holiday).
It was striking to me how Coach Howland talked about his seniors PAA, DC, and JS. To me he sounded emotional when he was describing the physical battle JS went through to contribute as a Ben Ball warrior at UCLA. And speaking of JS he recently worked out with the Portland Trailblazers. Sean Meagher from OregonLive.com posted the following update:
|Trail Blazers NBA pre-draft workout: UCLA's Josh Shipp|
And this evaluation from Trail Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan (via Casey Holdahl):
"Josh seems like he's been around for years. A very smart, intelligent player. He's got great shooting mechanics. More athletic than you would think from a guy who's battled a lot of hip and leg injuries. He had a bad back there for a little bit but he's bounced back physically and looks really good.
"Trying to figure out where he fits in to our league. Is he a two? Is he a three? He's probably a second round type candidate. He could go undrafted possibly, but he's got size for his position and he can shoot a little bit. If he doesn't get drafted he'll end up on a summer league team somewhere."
Coach Howland and the entire Bruin Nation will be rooting hard for Josh.
Moving on from Ben Ball, it's the season of college football previews. We have already read about Phil Steele's take on UCLA, which I think is a little too optimistic. Now CFN has chimed in with their 2009 preview of UCLA football:
When Neuheisel accepted this job, he knew it was going to be a process. He and his staff are good, but he also inherited a mess from Karl Dorrell. Narrowing the divide on USC and the rest of the Pac-10 required more talent, so the staff has the recruiting trail with a vengeance, piecing together back-to-back solid classes. The rewards from all that time on the road should start being reaped this fall, as talented freshmen and sophomores begin to command larger roles on both sides of the ball.
UCLA is going to be better. How much better depends on the play of an offense that was downright impotent a year ago. Too bad, too, because the defense has loads of talent and the special teams boasts Kai Forbath, one of the nation’s premier kickers. That offense, though. After averaging only 17 points a game, a 37-year low, the Bruins are handing the reins of the attack to Kevin Prince, a precocious redshirt freshman with a lot of responsibility and opportunity ahead of him. Rest assured, he won’t get a ton of help from the nation’s 116th-ranked running game, a young corps of receivers, and a flimsy offensive line. As the offense goes, so goes UCLA in 2009.
The Bruins are headed in the right direction, thanks to the recruiting of Neuheisel and his assistants. Tangible proof of that will come if they can piece
Sounds reasonable to me.
Lastly, we found yesterday that Coach Howland joined the twitterverse. It looks like more UCLA coaches are joining that bandwagon including Coach Nikki Caldwell and UCLA Women's Volleyball.We are already following them via our account and you can keep tab on all of us by following us as well.