UCLA Basketball: And Then There Were 10

March 7, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins center Anthony Stover (0) blocks a shot by USC Trojans guard Byron Wesley (25) during the first half of the game of the first round of the 2012 Pac 12 Tournament at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

As freesia39 posted yesterday, Anthony Stover was kicked off the team yesterday for academic reasons. While many, including me,thought Stover was the eleventh man and the odd man out in many rotations, Stover always made an impact on the defensive side in his limited minutes.

Stover, a 6-foot-10 big man from Windward (Calif.), averaged 1.4 blocks last season, despite playing just 8.4 minutes per game. He provided depth on the inside behind Josh Smith, who played just 17.2 minutes per game due to conditioning and foul trouble.

I am going to quote an "expert" who got the details wrong but his point is interesting.

The 6-foot-10 Stover only averaged 8.4 minutes in 28 games last season, but he led the Bruins with 39 blocks last season and was a solid option behind center Josh Smith (who's usually out of shape or in foul trouble).

That leaves UCLA with Smith, Travis and David Wear and Brendan Lane up front, along with incoming freshman Tony Parker

Of course Brendan Lane already transferred. For the second year in a row, UCLA's deepest position was supposed to be in the post. And for the second year in a row a big man was kicked off the team. Of course Anthony and Reeves Nelson were good friends. Anthony like Reeves is not arguing he was kicked off unfairly and is owning up to the responsibility for his troubles:

Stover, meanwhile, expressed his disappointment on his Twitter account.

"Thank you for all the support and I apologize to all those I've disappointed," Stover tweeted. "Most of all I would like to apologize to my coaching staff, teammates and all of #bruinnation please forgive me."

Anthony finally says the right thing but it is too little and too late. Anthony was the last of the partying crew and is the last of the disaster recruiting classes of 2008 and 2009.

But now it is not about Anthony. The point goes back to the expert talking about Brendan Lane. It is hard to keep track of the UCLA roster because someone is being kicked off or transferring. It is hard to just dismiss Stover as another bad apple leaving. We could really use a Lane now in practice. We could use another big who transferred, Mike Moser, on the court. Shoot we could even use Tyler Honeycutt if he stayed (even though I will admit Tyler was not likely ever to be a four year player).

So while Stover was a guy who had some issues and never took life seriously enough to take advantage of his massive potential, it is now on Howland. He has ten players. Little margin for error. Josh Smith is even more important for the season as the backup option now is a raw freshman or some out of position fours.

Go Bruins.

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