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Bringing back the MAGIC ...

Nice to see the word "magic" headlining Steve Dilbeck's column on UCLA basketball. He must be reading some of the posts here on the Nation. Here is Dilbeck on Howland bringing back the magic:

A lot of things could have gone wrong for UCLA and coach Ben Howland this season, instead of evolving into a dream run to the Final Four.

In just his third season at UCLA, Howland has guided the Bruins through an improbable dash through the NCAA Tournament.

He has emphasized toughness, discipline, fundamentals, defense. Has focused on preparation. Has the Bruins playing together and believing.

Has them headed to Indianapolis for Saturday's NCAA semifinal against LSU.

The Bruins arrive at least a year earlier than anyone realistically imagined. They arrive 31-6, the highest-seeded team left standing and with unexpected opportunity at their first NCAA title since 1995.

They arrive with Howland having firmly placed his stamp on a program he idolized growing up in Santa Barbara and Cerritos. In three short seasons, a program somewhat inconsistent under the seven coaches who first followed legendary John Wooden now seems moored, seems poised for a long run under a single successful coach.
It's a great read. Make sure to read the entire article. One reason we are poised for a long run under Coach Howland is the kind of recruits he is bringing into Westwood. We have already had back to Pac-10 FOY in Jordan and Luc. And we just may have another one next season. Warren alerted everyone yesterday about James Keefe, this year's Mickey Der from UCLA. Here is more on Keefe from the DN:
Keefe was a four-year varsity starter at Santa Margarita, and he averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds as a junior and 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks as a senior en route to back-to-back Southern Section Div. III-AA Player of the Year awards.

Recruiting services listed him among the top forward prospects in the nation, and Keefe committed to UCLA before his junior season.

"James has all the tools: offensively, defensively, on the boards," Santa Margarita coach Jerry DeBusk said. "He can play with his back to the basket or take you outside. If you don't come out on him, he can stick the 3-pointer. If you overplay him, he puts the ball on the floor, creates, finds the open man or just goes by the defender and dunks.

"We've never had a player like him, with his credentials, around here before. His work ethic is tremendous. It doesn't matter if it's a game or a practice, he's very workmanlike, which is a novelty for today's type of basketball player."

Keefe hopes to make an immediate impact for the Bruins, who have depth returning in the frontcourt with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alfred Aboya and Lorenzo Mata.
Good times. The Daily News has been on fire. They have another good report on Bruin Final-4 memories and also another Brian Dohn special - this one on sacrifices being made by Ryan and Ced:
After games Bozeman ices his surgically reconstructed knee (tendonitis), his left ankle (sprain) and his left shoulder (torn labrum), and he said the pain is severe.

"I can deal with it because we keep winning," Bozeman said.

After the season Bozeman has a decision to make. Rest should do his ankle and knee fine. But his shoulder, which kept him out of eight games in the middle of the season, may require surgery, and could impact his training for the NBA draft.

"I'm not too sure yet," Bozeman said about shoulder surgery. "Right now, I'm going to wait it out and then rehab and build some strength around it."

Yup, Bozeman said he was going to tough it out, setting an example for the rest of the team.
You can bet if Ced was playing for Duke, UNC, Indiana, Kentucky or another ESPN darlings Ced would be treasured as a national hero and the ultimate role model for today's kids aspiring to play college hoops.

Meanwhile, while Daily News continues to be on fire providing great coverage on UCLA hoops, the LA Times continues to be a mess. Case in point Bill Plashcke penning another column on UCLA hoops that has absolutely zero substance and really has nothing to do with Bruin hoops. Plaschke's pathetic column today is basically the continuation the ongoing whining about UCLA basketball being boring and get this - the douchebag actually ponders out loud whether Bruin's current style of basketball is going to cost us in the recruiting trail:
Is our society so skewed that UCLA could win a national title and get hurt in recruiting?
I wonder how this idiot is allowed to keep his job. Just how much does LA Times pay him for his weekly assclownery. T J Simers is the court jester of sports reporters. So I get his jokes. I understand he is trying to be silly and get on people's nerves. And he is good at it. But Plashcke - this assclown is at the LA Times (supposedly one of the premier daily rags in America) to give serious thoughts and perspectives on Southern California's sports landscape. It's a travesty the garbage that he writes week in and week out devoid of original thinking and full of incoherent sports musings which clearly demonstrates he just has no clue about the topic he is writing about. Anyways ... let this stooge write away. After all this is the moron who stuck for Lavin and who questioned the hire of Howland (it was not inspiring enough for him) when he arrived in Westwood just three short years ago.  Let the LA Times continue to sully its reputation through Plaschke, while the Bruin Nation continue to go the Daily News for get substantive stories covering UCLA sports. We are sure Dohn and his crew will give us the real scoop on the magic coming out of Westwood. GO BRUINS.