UPDATED: The Ups and Downs of UCLA Basketball

I will have a more complete and positive update Saturday on the UCLA basketball team players but right now I have a more immediate and not positive update on two players.  Both of these players have suffered serious ups and downs in their UCLA careers. 

First, Jerime Anderson was arrested last night, from the official UCLA site:

UCLA men's basketball player Jerime Anderson has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities and at least the 2011-12 season-opener against Loyola Marymount (Nov. 11) following his arrest Tuesday (July 26) evening.

Anderson, a senior point guard, was arrested on campus by University Police and was charged with suspicion of grand theft in connection with the theft of a laptop.

"This is a disappointing and unfortunate situation for Jerime," said head coach Ben Howland. "We have a high standard and code of conduct that our student-athletes are expected to follow. He knows that he has made a huge mistake and that he has not represented himself, our program or UCLA in a manner that is required."

Two thoughts:

First, CBH dealt with this immediately and appropriately IMO:

What's interesting to point out in this case is Howland's immediate reaction to the arrest. Unlike, say, Jim Boeheim, who has chosen to lay low while Fab Melo's legal battle drifts out over a domestic disturbance case. Some coaches choose to make decisions immediately. I give credit to Howland for going with this choice first and leaving almost every possibility for further punishment open. Not an easy -- or even necessary -- call to make right now. But Howland, who is on the recruiting trail as we speak, made the decision immediately.

Consider it a message from afar that was heard loud and clear by all of his players.

Second, Anderson has had off-season issues, albeit less serious issues, before.  He admitted last year he wasted the summer between his freshman and sophomore years, but to his credit worked hard last summer.  Then this summer, this happens.  This is very disconcerting and hopefully it is all a misunderstanding.

More after the jump.

 

The second less serious development is Josh Smith's weight.  Smith has gained weight since last year.

Even by the relative standards of Division I basketball players, UCLA center Josh Smith is a big, big dude. In many ways, this is an advantage. Smith's girth allows him to push defenders into uncomfortable positions on the low block, which allows him compensate for any perceived disadvantages in the vertical leap department. Put more simply: He leans on people. And quite often, it works. . . .

But there is such a thing as being too big. Smith was listed at 6-foot-10, 305 pounds as a freshman last season, and weight measurement is almost certainly on the generous side. (Don't judge; you know you dropped 15 pounds off your frame at the DMV. I'm onto you.) Smith's game would benefit from trimming down and turning some of that mass into muscle.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be happening. Instead, as Ben Howland told CBS's Gary Parrish yesterday, Smith has actually gained weight in the offseason:


. . . I won't lie: It makes me feel weird to write about this, because I don't really like to criticize people for their appearance. But this isn't about appearance so much as productivity, about the amazing potential the UCLA sophomore -- who has the intuitively soft hands of a much smaller player -- has flashed in his first performances on the collegiate level.

Unlike Anderson, Smith problem is more about reaching potential and he does have time

"Right now, he's about 10 pounds over where he was last season," Howland told CBS Sports on Tuesday.

. . . Smith still has time -- 2 1/2 months until to preseason practices begin -- to drop the weight, but Howland obviously can't be happy about his budding star's offseason work to date.

Josh dedicated himself to losing weight last year and CBH famously would not even let him touch a basketball.  Smith can do it if he puts his mind to it.

However, if the criminal allegations are proven true, a criminal Anderson will not play for UCLA.  It would be a sad ending to a career that was set for redemption.  Smith, on the other hand, is a good player even if he is heavy.  The question to Josh is: does he want to be a great player?

We lost to Florida in the NCAA tourney last year for three reasons.  The first problem, LJ's injury, seems to be fixed.  The second was our weak bench which was out scored 15-2 which will take a hit if Anderson is unable to play.  The third was Josh could not dunk and was blocked on the key play by Florida's Chandler Parsons, a play I have to believe does not happen if Smith weighs 25 pounds less. 

For UCLA to win the Pac-12 and make a deep run in the tourney, Anderson needs to contribute and Smith needs to lead.  There is still time for Smith, but Anderson may have run out of chances from UCLA.

UPDATE (DC):

Here are the details on Anderson's arrest:

[UPDATE: Anderson was arrested on campus after a tracking device on the MacBook Pro valued at $1,541 helped its owner lead police to Anderson, said Nancy Greenstein, a spokeswoman for UCLA Police. Anderson was booked at the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station and released on $20,000 bail.]

Also from the Daily Bruin:

University police stopped Anderson outside of Covel Commons after a report of a stolen laptop and arrested him on suspicion of grand theft. He was held on $20,000 bail and released Wednesday morning. Anderson’s next court date is scheduled for Thursday.

Very disappointing news, for sure.

Go Bruins

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