While the focus and excitement is rightly on football, there is some news on basketball.
While the biggest news this week was Edney coming home, there was more Alumni news including a cool story about perseverance. One of the keys to our first CBH final four run was Ryan Hollins emergence as a force. Hollins after years of battling Michael "all UCLA under achieving team member" Fey, emerged as a star. This has been a pattern in Hollins' life of starting slow and overcoming to be a star:
Also among the coaches was Chino Hills boys basketball coach Don Grant, the same coach who cut Hollins his freshman year.
"We cut him because you weren't sure which direction he was going to go," Grant said. "He went in the positive direction, and immediately after we cut him he asked what are three things he could do to make the team in spring. He set his eyes on the next tryout instead of bad-mouthing or pointing fingers. That's when we knew he was special." . . .
"Getting cut, kids take it as a bad thing," Hollins said. "But that made me work even harder. When I talk to these kids, I can talk to the worst kid and the best kid because I was the worst kid once who sat at the end of the bench, and then the kid who was starting. So I can relate."
More after the jump.
Another player who like Hollins had his basketball career rescued by CBH continues to play well overseas. Cedric Bozeman will be going to Belgium.
Cedric Bozeman spent last season in China with Shougang Beijing Ducks averaging 20.2ppg, 6.2rpg and 3.6apg in 32 games in CBA. Bozeman has played also 23 games in NBA (5 starts) with Atlanta Hawks averaging 1.1ppg.
Lastly, maybe the ultimate former bruin traveler, Gerald Madkins (Bobby Knight's favorite Bruin) continues his life as a basketball nomad, this time hooking up with another Bruin's pro team:
According to several sources, the New Orleans Hornets have hired Gerald Madkins as the team's new Vice President of Player Personnel. A league source confirmed the hire to NewOrleans.Com/Sports. . . . Madkins comes to the Hornets from division rival Houston, where he worked for the past two seasons as the team's Director of Scouting. Before working for the Rockets, Madkins served as a scout for the New York Knicks from 2003-2007. He moved from New York to Seattle as a scout for the Seattle Supersonics in 2007-2008. . . . Following his playing career, Madkins entered coaching, working as an assistant at California State University, Stanislaus and at UCLA before entering professional basketball.
On the recruiting front the pursuit goes on for Jahii Carson. Jahii is four star recruit and what is most interesting is the feeling among recruits that we are Point Guard U, even an Arizona writer is admitting it. Of course, as with the McCallum dream the last line of the excerpt points out one must keep in mind loyalty does not really begin until a LOI is signed.
UCLA coach Ben Howland and his staff are selling to Carson the NBA standouts the Bruins have produced at the point guard position, which is more impressive than Arizona in the last decade.
The Bruins boast recent point guards who are on the cusp of making it big in the NBA - Jrue Holiday, Russell Westbrook, and Darren Collison. Arizona's last three regular starting point guards - Jason Gardner, Mustafa Shakur and Nic Wise - have yet to play an NBA game in the regular season.
The letters NBA catch a recruit's attention as much as the words, "Playing time." UCLA is offering both to Carson. Hence, Carson's comment recently that UCLA is the new leader for his services. The merits of that comment lasted a day before Carson started playing in the Duel in the Desert in Phoenix (in front of Miller and ASU coach Herb Sendek) last week.
All recruiting stories need to be taken with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism. Enter the wwl story on the signing with their dads of Ray McCallum and Trey Zigler. According to the story, UCLA was the very close runner up for both boys. Hmm. Not sure I buy that but to all those Dads out there apparently the way to convince your son to go to your school is to talk to them while they are playing video games or otherwise not paying attention.
Sons have chosen to play for their fathers countless times. But rarely has there been a pair of sons who could have played at the highest level -- both were heavily recruited by UCLA -- but chose to play for their fathers at lower-profile schools.
Zeigler, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Mt. Pleasant High in Michigan, ranked as the eighth-best shooting guard and the No. 33 player overall by ESPNU's Scouts, Inc. McCallum Jr., a 6-1 point guard, was rated as the fifth-best point guard and No. 17 overall in the Class of 2010. . . .
Both fathers said their sons wanted to go through the recruiting process. Zeigler coached at UCLA under Ben Howland so there was a natural pull for Trey. McCallum was recruited by the Bruins as well, quite simply because he's one of the better guards in the class.
How the fathers handled the recruitment process was unique though. As hard as it is to believe, neither parent said they pushed their sons -- or even put on the fullcourt recruiting press -- until it got down to the final days. The discussion at home, they said, wasn't about their respective schools. They were dads first -- not the head coaches who could have program-changing players. . ..
They considered going to UCLA together. . . .
McCallum's talk with his son was a bit more intimate. Well, at least it was at home. The two talked in the basement of their home that Sunday morning after the trip to Louisville. "I gave him my final push,'' said Ray Sr., who has been an assistant at Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin as well as head coach at Ball State and Houston. "He just listened. He didn't say anything. He was just playing video games.'' McCallum said he didn't know what his son was going to do on the morning of the announcement April 14. The players were set to make announcements on ESPNU at 4 p.m. "I was getting a haircut when Ray called me at 2 p.m. and said 'Dad, go by the equipment room and go get a UD jersey.' That was just two hours before,'' Ray Sr. said. "He never actually came out and said, 'I'm coming to UD.''' McCallum said Ray called Howland. Ernie said he had Trey call Howland, and he called as well since the two are friends and had worked together previously.
The real moral is UCLA got used, especially by McCallum whose Dad never even looked at another PG. I am not bitter like I was many years ago when JR Reid dissed UCLA but on the other hand I am not sure I would trust the senior McCallum to tell me the time of day.