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By popular demand a countdown clock is now up.

I cannot wait for another year of this:

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

As we are just less than a month away from Ben Ball, articles are starting to pop up in national websites. Yes our guards are getting a lot of love. Sportsline has AA has the second best SG in the nation:

There is an argument to be made -- and I'll make it -- that UCLA needed Afflalo to return more than backcourt mate Jordan Farmar. Lose Farmar, and it merely opens minutes for highly regarded Darren Collison. Lose, Afflalo, and the drop-off is more significant, meaning Ben Howland got a gift when Afflalo withdrew from the NBA Draft. He'll score at least 15.8 points per game again, and could lead the Bruins back to the Final Four.

While it listed DC listed as the 13th ranked PG in the nation. I think before it is all said and done this year DC is going to be ranked higher. Sportsline came out with its list of top SFs, which doesn't include Josh Shipp.  Shipp will be the wild card for Coach Howland this season.  If he gets back to 100 percent (and some reports have him back at 100 percent), then he should emerge as one of the lethal all around offensive machines in the Pac-10 (if not in the entire county). And then we have Luc who supposedly work to develop a regular post move during the off -season, and may even have a jumper at his arsenal (we will have to wait till the games to see if he does).

Of course we will have some questions to answer when our boys take the court in 28 days:
  • who will be the first guy to play point against CS Pomona, when DC goes to bench?
  • will Shipp's healthy hold up?
  • more fast breaks given the increasing offensive options in our depth chart?
  • will Zo stop breaking his nose this season?
  • how much time will the Serbian assassin get early in the season?
  • will Michael Roll have a more consistent outside shot?
  • will a healthy Alfredo Aboya emerge as a beast in the low post?
  • will Ryan Wright's show us some of the moves (and confidence) he showed us against Michigan last season?
We will have those answers and we are going to have our first look at a new group of Howland freshmen coming in. All eyes will be on Keefe, who could emerge as the freshmen rockstar for this hoops season. This of course is becoming somewhat of a Howland tradition in Westwood, as we had the Prince exploding into conscious of Bruins Nation last year, who followed the superb debuts of Jordan and Arron.

Oh speaking of Jordan, the former superstar is getting ready for his pro debut with the Purple and Gold. And he has nothing but love for his former team-mates and coach:
Describe that whole run to the championship with UCLA.
Farmar:It was a great one, very magical, very special. I think it really started when we lost the last game before we lost in the championship. We played at USC, our cross-town rival. We beat them by 30 the first time so we were expecting to run right through them, just another regular season game in our quest for a Pac-10 title. And they embarrassed us. We went there and they outplayed us. We couldn't play defense at all. And after the game, the media was really harsh, and we were really hard on each other. It kind of sparked a fire into us. We needed to play with one another. We needed to play together. And we needed to play on the defensive end. And form that day forward, we just really picked it up, really played for another, became really close and spent a lot of time together. We were like a family. We were really close to one another. And it just carried on, Every time we stepped on the floor, everyone was going to bring it. We had each other back, all the way to the end. It was very special and it was magical. What stands out to me in that run is the Sweet 16, down 11 with two minutes to go against Gonzaga University, looking into each other's eyes and saying, `We can do it. We've done this before. We got this far and we're not ready to go home.' And we played defense. That's all it was. Defense started our offense and we sparked a run and it was very special.

You talk about playing defense, that's something Ben Howland brought over there. What's it like to play for a guy like Ben Howland?
Farmar: Playing for a guy like Ben Howland really got em ready to become a professional. He really, really really, really emphasizes the defensive side of the ball. There were times at practice where we wouldn't score the ball. We'd go back and forth for 10 minutes, and no one would score, talented defense both ways, and he would love it. He'd be cheering us on and vibing it, not caring if the ball went in the basket ever. It got frustrating at time, but it helped me understand how important that side is and that part of basketball really is. That's all vital to me being a leader. Me being very offensive minded, being able to buy into the defensive end and defensive competence really helps us come together. And to see how far that actually took us, if you look at the games, you watch, we didn't score much. We just got enough to secure the victories. But to see how important it was to play defense and how far it took us, it really prepared me to play for the Lakers.
(emphasis mine) Awesome stuff. Yeah Coach Howland really hindered the development of Jordan's emergence of a collegiate superstar and a first round NBA draft pick (whatever). The Jordan's interview pretty much sums it up why blue chippers are lining up to play for Coach Howland (BTW rumors are circulating that some more good news may be on the way).

We will of course try to keep track of all the major stories related to Bruin Hoops during the heat of the football season.  Once the season tips off and we get into the actions, we will be all over it. Meanwhile, keep in mind our friends over at Bruin Hoop Scoop and Bruin Basketball Report are keeping track of every single story coming out on Ben Ball. And of course make sure to post any updates we are missing in the diary section. We will probably need all the good vibing from the hoops front given the status of Dorrell football.

Just 28 more days till we get to ROCK AND ROLL under the leadership of our coach:

AP Photo

Less than a month left till Ben Ball.

Can you tell if this Nation is a little jacked up about college hoops?