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Basketball notes ...

Missed this story from the Daily News on Don MacLean from couple days ago. Good 'ole Donny Mac really has no desire to coach basketball, but he is satisfying his coaching itch by teaching in two month individual camps for college players who want to improve their positioning in the NBA draft. Here is the story on how Donnie Mac is running Zag's Ammo rugged:

Adam Morrison was having fits. He talked to some of his buddies about their daily workouts, and found he was doing more running. Way more running, and he didn't like it one bit.

He was getting ready to work out for NBA teams, so his shooting needed to be spot on. His legs had to be fresh. And here was Don MacLean, enjoying his retirement, running the scoring machine from Gonzaga ragged.

"We didn't quite get along at first, but I still listened," Morrison said. "He played in the league for a few years, so he knows what he's talking about. It sucked at first, but I stuck with it."

Morrison, a highly rated wing, was MacLean's latest pupil in a two-month crash course on getting ready for the NBA, and more importantly, preparing for individual team workouts leading up to the June 28 draft.

MacLean, a former Simi Valley High standout who went on to become UCLA's and the Pacific 10 Conference's all-time leading scorer, has been doing this for three springs after his agent, Mark Bartelstein, introduced the idea. MacLean's camp helps Bartelstein's clients get ready to work out for NBA clubs.

"I told Mark I'd try it, but in three weeks if I call you and say I don't want to do it any more, you have to let me off the hook," MacLean said.

"Coaching never really interested me that much, the whole process of networking to get the initial job and then moving your family around the country. I've done pretty well, so I don't need to do that. But this kind of quenches my thirst for coaching, in a sense. If you told me I had to do this for eight months out of the year, I don't know if I'd do it. But for two months, I really, really enjoy it."

And if you wondering about the results from this training, here is the feedback:
Lee (Knicks' David Lee) and Granger (Indiana's Danny Granger) both prepped for the NBA draft by working out with MacLean, and Granger is a testament to how much a player can improve under the former UCLA star. Projected as a second-round pick coming out of the University of New Mexico, Granger improved his stock so much he was selected No. 17 overall by Indiana in last year's draft. Granger and Lee came back to work out again with MacLean this offseason.
That is great for Donnie Mac. Not to mention it certainly helps a die hard Bruin greasing the pipeline to the NBA. I am sure recruits who are considering UCLA will take note of this kind of story. Make sure to read the entire article which also reports that Ammo (thanks to Donnie Mac's training?) is projected to be a top-5 pick.

Also, in other UCLA basketball related news, it looks like the Pac-10 is talking to the Big-12 about setting up a conference wide series as early as 2006-07

"What it does, it helps the entire league," UCLA coach Ben Howland said Monday. "There are some teams in our conference that have a harder time scheduling quote, unquote, quality opponents from the other power conferences. We [at UCLA] have a pretty easy time scheduling because of the media market we're in, where others don't.

"But in terms of helping the whole [Pac-10] power rating, it's a real good thing. It locks everybody into another good game every year."

After a season in which its computer ranking lagged, the Pac-10 has been making a renewed push to maximize national exposure, long a sore point in the league.

I am with JD (from BruinHoopScoop) on this. This would be an awesome idea and great way to boost the profile of Pac-10 hoops which often gets unnoticed because of our conference?s less than average TV contract with FSN. Pac-10 unlike other power conferences is not known for creative marketing when it comes to optimizing its visibility and increasing the profile of its powerhouse programs across the Mississippi. If this conference deal with the Big-12 works out, it will be a positive step in expanding on its hoop profile, now that UCLA is back on the national scene as one of the elites in college basketball. So let's hope a deal gets worked out. It?d be awesome to see high profile power conference games involving UCLA and Big-12 powerhouses such as Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.