So where was Brian Dohn? No one saw him at Karl Dorrell’s football "practice." Well, here is your answer. These guys are back:
Photo Credit: Kevin Sullivan, The OC Register
Yes, Coach Howland (the anti-Dorrell of Westwood) and his Ben Ball warriors had their media day yesterday, and Dohn was there to cover it.
No surprise who was the focus on this much anticipated "Season of Love". However, as Dohn reports, the big guy is maintaining the right perspective amidst the expectation that comes with being one of the focal points on the greatest basketball program in America:
The engaging Love said he was walking on campus Tuesday, on his way to media day, when members of the student body called out to him.
"People were yelling, `K-Love, you gotta win a national championship,"' Love said with a chuckle. "I'm kinda like, `Yeah, OK.' As soon as we lose it will be, `Screw you Kevin. You can't win a game."'
Yet, despite all the hype, Coach Howland is not ready to award KL the starting position yet. More from Dohn:
When it came to a fifth starter, Howland would not commit to Love.
"It would be Kevin vying for it, or Alfred (Aboya), or Mike Roll or Russell (Westbrook)," Howland said. "There's a lot of options."
Now, even though Coach Howland will have a lot of options at his disposal, there are lingering questions wrt a number of injury issues heading into the season.
We all remember the issues with Luc’s knees (along with his jump shot), and Kuwada from the OC Register has more on the Prince:
"I worked on my knees a little more, took a lot of time working on strengthening the areas around it so it can get better for the season," Mbah a Moute said Tuesday.
He missed one game because of a sprained right knee and was hindered by pain during other stretches of last season.
"I feel like, if I'm healthy, that's half the battle. Hopefully that work is going to pay off when the season starts," Mbah a Moute said. "I just did a lot of strengthening around the knees, the muscle and stuff, my hips and my glutes. Talking to the trainers, they found out it was weak and that is one of the reasons why I had pain in my knees. I did a lot of stretching and just trying to get better and it's been working for me."
The shooting touch is a wait-and-see proposition. Mbah a Moute has been great around the basket, leading the Bruins in offensive rebounds with 117 as a freshman and 87 as a sophomore. But he has made just 22.1 percent (15 of 68) of his career three-point attempts.
"I did a lot of shooting, especially during the spring," he said. "I'm still doing a lot of shooting now. It has gotten better, it just has to continue to get better."
Speaking of jumpers, Kuwada as this note on Roll, who is dealing with turf toes:
And we'll end our season’s first Ben Ball roundup with notes from good ole Diane, who started her report admiring Shipp’s "sharp angles and defined muscle"
Shipp says he is fully recovered from surgery in April on his left hip, his second hip surgery in two years. He was all smiles Tuesday when the UCLA men's basketball team reported to Pauley Pavilion for photos, interviews and health reports.
Keefe just this week received doctor's permission to resume running. He's not allowed back in the weight room yet.
There is of course more coverage from Bruin Basketball Report and What's Bruin (Part I & Part II). BBR has Coach Howland’s comments on RW and the primary goal of this coming season:
"Russell may have made more improvement than any other player in the program this offseason," Howland said. "He is really strong, very athletic and explosive, more so than he was a year ago. On defense, no one should be able to get by Russell, he is so much stronger now and actually grew some over the summer."
Howland said his team's primary focus is to win the Pac-10 this year and then let the chips fall as they may thereafter.
"The Pac-10 is by far the best conference in the country," Howland said. "Winning the Pac-10 is so important because it gives you the best chance to get back to the Final Four since it allows you to play close to home during the early games of the tournament."
BBR has a nifty photo gallery from yesterday’s media day, as does the official site. Check them out.
Exactly 30 more days ladies and gentleman till our Warriors open the show at Pauley.