As usual, our favorite UCLA beat writer, Jon Gold has provided some interesting nuggets of UCLA basketball related news. First, let's start with the bad news:
A few days ago, UCLA sophomore guard Norman Powell posted on Facebook that he'd broken his foot, possibly jeopardizing the beginning of his season.
Luckily for the Bruins, it's not quite so bad.
A UCLA spokesman said that Powell just suffered a rolled ankle, resulting in a sprain, and he is considered day-to-day.
Whew. Powell is going to be a critical piece of the puzzle if Howland is going to truly re-establish Ben Ball style tough defense. Losing him to a broken foot would have been a blow to the squad in the early part of the year, which is now a time of the year that the Bruins can't afford to be lackadaisical if they are going to punch a ticket as a protected seed in March.
And speaking of the schedule, there has been some change-up of the Bruins' Pac-12 schedule, as noted by the ever-on-the-spot Jon Gold:
The Bruins' home game against the Trojans will be played Wednesday, Jan. 30 (moved from Saturday, Feb. 2). UCLA will play at USC's Galen Center on Sunday, Feb. 24 (moved from Saturday, Feb. 23).
UCLA's opponents on the trip to the San Francisco Bay Area have flipped. The Bruins will play at California on Thursday, Feb. 14 and will continue the road trip at Stanford on Saturday, Feb. 16.
UCLA will host Arizona State on Wednesday, Feb. 27 (moved from Thursday, Feb. 28) and will play at Washington State on Wednesday, March 5 (moved from Thursday, March 6).
Thursday road game against Monty and Cal. Mark that up as a must-win if Howland is going to show he's truly turned it around and brought UCLA back to being an elite program.
UPDATE (N): Also just spotted potentially great news from the LA Times:
UCLA is also expecting good news on Shabazz Muhammad. The NCAA has reportedly been investigating the financial dealings between the Muhammad family and family friends Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh to determine whether there were any violations. Lincoln paid for two unofficial visits to college campuses. Kavanagh helped finance Muhammad's summer traveling team.
"We showed the NCAA that we have done everything correctly," Muhammad said. "I haven't broken any rules. I expect to play in the first game, when we open against Indiana State."
Per the article, the other incoming freshman phenom Kyle Anderson will be "leared to resume full workouts" tomorrow. So, there will be no excuses early on for this team.