While the football program continues to burn down, UCLA's other major revenue program quietly starts its season by breaking into their temporary "home" this evening. That's right. The hoops team is breaking in the Sports Arena by taking on Cal State Fullerton in a closed scrimmage this evening. From ESPNLA's Blair Angulo:
"It will help us get used to the setting," said UCLA coach Ben Howland, whose team opens the season Nov. 11 at the Sports Arena against Loyola Marymount.
Howland said he received an update on the Sports Arena's status from UCLA senior associate athletic director Ken Weiner on Wednesday. Among the bullet points still on the to-do list before the Bruins open up the campaign: The installation of a scoreboard and carpet in the locker room. The scoreboard is scheduled to be installed on Nov. 7, Howland said. The facility will also be adorned with new portable baskets in time for the first game.
The Bruins will scrimmage Thursday without the use of scoreboards, relying on the teams' managers to keep stats.
The scrimmage against D-1 team should be helpful to Howland to get a quick understanding where his team is at this point of pre-season:
Facing Cal State Fullerton instead of a Division II team could give UCLA a better idea of where it stands roughly two weeks before its opener.
"Playing against a Division I team with Division I athletes is a good thing," Howland said. "You can work on situations, [Titans Coach Bob Burton] can ask us to play zone, we can ask him to play zone, things you don't normally do in a game."
Coach Howland said "zone." Heh. I could see us going to it this season ... although that's a discussion for another day.
Howland as usual is dealing with injury issues in his program. More on that after the jump.
First, Anthony Stover is out with "a subluxed left shoulder." He just came back from a concussion. He is going to be out for at least couple of weeks. Stover is not the only Bruin dealing with injuries:
Junior guard De'End Parker is still out because of a concussion he suffered last week but is improving. Team trainers will continue to monitor his progress, Howland said. Parker, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, could return sometime in the next week.
"He had a pretty severe concussion that affected him in terms of sensitivity to light and sound; he missed a midterm," Howland said. "Today was the first day he's felt better since Saturday. He was at practice for the first time. He sat there and watched."
Junior forward Brendan Lane underwent an endoscopy Wednesday for stomach issues and did not practice. His results came back normal, Howland said. Lane will play in Thursday's closed scrimmage at the Los Angeles Sports Arena against Cal State Fullerton.
"We're still pretty green right now, but the main part is staying healthy," Howland said.
Howland's practice is certainly more physical than anything we see from the UCLA football defense (then again we don't have one ... so never mind).