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Hoop Exhibition Notes

While Karl "the Thinker" Dorrell is too busy licking boots in Morgan Center,  Coach Ben Howland is going about his business rebuilding the best program in the history of college hoops. Sure Kevin Love signing was not a surprise but it was still an important official moment for the best coach in Westwood since the days of Dick Vermeil:

Stare of a Champion, AP Photo

That's a shot of Coach Howland, the best coach of college basketball from the Pac-10 Media Day. Coach Howland was exuberent yesterday talking about K Love. You can listen to podcasts of Coach Howland and Kevin Love about Love's arrival in Westwood via AM 570 KLAC by clicking here and here.

Meanwhile Coach Howland's boys are back in action for more tune up against D-11 Humboldt State. These Lumberjacks are actually a pretty scrappy and experienced bunch. BBR has the scouting report:

The Lumberjacks are a veteran club and return all 12 players from last year's squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament II West Region.  The team prefers to play an uptempo offense and has excellent shooters on the perimeter.

Humboldt St.'s best all-around player is forward Kevin Johnson (Sr, 6'7, 215) who averaged 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last season.  He is a very active player with a strong perimeter game and can also take it to the basket.

With senior Jeremiah Ward (6'2, 195) averaging 13.8 points, including 44 three-pointers, and junior Will Sheufelt (6'2, 185) averaging 10.4 ppg and 46% from beyond the three-point arc last season, the Lumberjacks return a potent scoring duo in the backcourt.

In addition, swingman Grayson Moyer (Jr, 6'5, 205) can also light it up from three-point distance.  He averaged 14.2 points last season.

Although Junior Devin Peal (6'4, 230) is not big for an interior player, nonetheless, he can cause trouble in the paint and is a solid rebounder.  He averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds last season for the Lumberjacks.

Big Cy Vandermeer (Jr, 6'9, 255) is in the post for Humboldt St.  He looks to improve upon his 6.4 points and 4.8 rebound numbers from last season.
Also as BBR notes these guys are one of the better teams in D-11 and they pulled off an upset victory over Nevada (who we played in the Wooden Classic last year) two years ago.

Still these guys will probably be in awe when they visit of the Mecca of college basketball tonight. Their hometown newspaper has some tips for dos and don'ts for the visiting team in the House that Wooden Built:
* When it's quiet, listen for the squeaking sound of past UCLA players being put through their drills, the constant sliding back and forth and side to side.
* Visiting coaches have often led their players to the court, giving them a walk-through and then returned them to the entrance door and let them do it over again for real.
* The most vivid memory is an almost scary picture of Lew Alcindor, then a UCLA sophomore, soaring high above the visiting team's basket to barehand an opposition shot attempt.
* The Bruins are good hosts, very good hosts, actually.
* Watch the down stairs that lead to the pavilion. They're steep and uncompromising, and the walk up has become particularly difficult for members of the opposition.
* Try to time your pregame warm-ups at the same time as UCLA's. There was nothing worse than having the Bruins take the court when your players are trying to get prepared.
* It's a no-frills college basketball arena, though the 16-ounce cup of frozen Carnation chocolate ice cream, disguised as a malt, remains a favorite.
* Crowds have averaged almost 10,900 in the 41 years, but there may be less than half that Thursday.
* Who can forget watching the UCLA freshmen beat up on the two-time NCAA champion UCLA varsity team in a preseason warm-up in November 1966? A year later, in his first varsity game, Alcindor had 56 points.
* Jump off U.S. Highway 405 at Sunset Boulevard, go a little more than two miles east to the campus, go a little farther and you'll run into the real LaLa Land - Hollywood.
* The Sixth Man has returned.
* There's no swagger or trash talking because the coach is in charge.
* Don't gawk at the championship banners overhead.
* Show your respect for Coach John Wooden, who may or may not be in attendance. But, don't gawk.
The game time is set for pm 7:30 pm PST. You can watch it/follow it online by going here.

If you are at the game as always please feel free to take pictures, and then post them or email them to us, in addition to sharing your takes, impression right here.

It is fun to follow a team with an awesome coach who is more concerned about winning the right way than worrying about boot licking desperately trying to hold on to a cushy job.