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Collison ready to take charge

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Jordan is gone. Now Collison is ready to take charge.  Andrew Skwara, Rivals.com College Basketball Staff Writer, has a nice article on Darren Collison and Andre Allen (Memphis State), two point guards who are going to take over as floor generals of their respective basketball program after early departures of elite point guards from both program:

The 6-foot, 160-pound Collison, who grew up in Los Angeles suburbs, will bring a new dimension to the Bruins' offense. The son of world-class sprinters - his mother competed in the Olympics and his father in the Pan-American Games - he is one of the fastest players in college basketball.

That blinding speed often breaks defensive pressure and turns into quick baskets. Collison scored 15 points in 23 minutes to lead UCLA to a win over Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. He was often the first player off the bench, averaging 19.2 minutes and 5.5 points per game for a team that went 32-7 and reached the national title game.

"I play with a lot of enthusiasm and energy and I'm still going to bring that spark," said Collison, who was a counselor at the Adidas camp in Suwanee, Ga., earlier this month. "That is never going to go away.

"There will be some changes though. With my quickness, Coach (Ben) Howland wants to run a lot more."

Collison is most concerned with gaining his teammates' respect, a quality that he admired in Farmar. He'll be aided in that venture by junior shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who tested the draft waters before deciding ultimately to stay in school.

"Jordan knew how to lead a team and I know I can do that myself this season," Collison said. "He was a well-known leader at this school on and off the court. I played against him every day and tried to pick up things on how I could do that."
I think the key here is speed. I have a feeling DC is going to change the pace of UCLA games. We may see a little running and gunning (controlled) from Howland's offense next season and perhaps (if possible) even more intensity in our inside-the-jersey defense. I think given how DC operated against Zona and other games he already has respect for the team-mates. And I am sure all of them are taking note on how hard he is working to improve his game this off season. Frank Burlison has a nice update on BRO (subscrip. req'd) on how DC has been making an impression this off-season.

With Afflalo back, Collison in charge, improving Aboya, Luc et al. and infusion of Shipp, Keefe, and Westbrook, we are probably in store for another exciting hoops season. Not sure if we are going to get back to the Final-4 this year but I have not been as optimistic about the start of a UCLA basketball season for more than a decade. Of course let's keep our fingers crossed that we don't experience the kind of injury problems we went through last season. Given the MASH unit Howland had to deal with the whole year it's still a miracle how we ended up winning both conference regular season conference and tourney, and then made the memorable run in the Big Dance.

GO BRUINS.