Blair Angulo from ESPNLA's "UCLA Blog" has an interesting update on incoming Bruin center Josh Smith. Smith the monster center from Pacific Northwest (Seattle) has been on campus for more than a month. Accordingly Angulo he has been strictly focusing on conditioning:
It has been nearly a month since Joshua Smith arrived at UCLA, so the routine is set by now. The projected starting center from Kent, Wash., has been working out daily, hitting the bike machine before class and lifting weights alongside his new teammates.
Oh, and he has yet to pick up a basketball.
"Really, I haven't even touched a basketball since I've been down here," said Smith, ESPNU's No. 2-ranked center prospect in the 2010 class. "It's been all conditioning. I've been working out and that's really all I've been doing."
In fact, Smith, who is listed at 6 feet 10, 305 pounds, doesn't plan on grabbing a ball for at least another couple of weeks. He's staying active by working out three hours a day -- a process with which he's willing to be patient. Last year, Smith watched helplessly as UCLA stumbled through a 14-18 season.
Don't want to get my hopes up too high but I do find the tone of the report encouraging. Also striking encouraging notes was Coach Howland, who has gotten active on his Twitter account this July, after months of inactivity on his account.
Howland tweeted about a staff meeting and evaluating his players over a 10 day stretch:
Had a good meeting with the staff yesterday and certainly got a lot of things sorted out after seeing a lot of players over a 10 day stretch
He wrote about everyone "doing well" in "summer school," and he gave an update on the health of Malcolm Lee, Brendan Lane and Tyler Lamb:
Malcolm is healthy and back playing and working out. And Tyler Lamb and Brendan Lane are making great progress on schedule.
Hopefully he will have an update on the health of Anderson, who also had off-season surgery along with Lamb.
Most of the updates from our hoops team this off-season has been encouraging to date. Yet while we get a little upbeat about the mood around this program, do keep in mind the key questions around this program have not been resolved.
We are not going to know the answers till the first few weeks of this coming season. It seems like Howland has done a good job of restoring some momentum around this program following last year's lost season. The momentum will really be restored when we see the re-emergence of old Ben Ball program, which is winning games based on foundation of defense and rebounding.