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Ben Ball News & Notes

As bruin8uclap noted in the diaries Coach Howland gave the reporters an update after first 5 practices yesterday. It is so refreshing to hear a real coach giving practice updates that we will go right to the source. From the official site here is Coach Howland on improvement in Luc’s shot:

on Luc changing his shot

"He improved his shot by changing his stroke. He now has a much shorter, more compact stroke. Through proper fundamentals and lots of repetition. He did it, number one, through his efforts and hard work. We started in the spring having him shooting one-handed. So for the first couple of weeks, all he did was shoot one-handed shots, getting his elbow under the ball. In other words, the only way to consistently make it one-handed is to have proper balance and have good follow through. Then he started putting his other hand on the ball and, as you remember, he didn't do any shooting or jumping for three months. So all he did was keep shooting one handed with his guide hand on the ball. He got the managers to come in and rebound for him. So he spent the time and effort, and then he watched film of himself. Even when he went home to Cameroon he took home film. It's really been exciting to see him, as you are for any player, to see hard work pay off.

"He started playing basketball four years total when he got to UCLA. His high school coach did a great job with him. But that was probably his biggest need to improve. He's shooting the ball with a much shorter stroke - less motion, less chance of error.

on what influenced Luc to change his shot

"We talked about it, being able to spend the time doing it. I'll be honest with you - Scott Garson did a great job working with him. Scott was really the one that spent a lot of time with him. Scott really deserves a lot of credit helping Luc improve his shot, without question. It's hard during the middle of the season to change your shot like that. So in the offseason is where it takes place, and he spent the time and the effort. He's going to have to continue to work at it. I just feel good about it and I'm happy for him."
Now as excited as I am reading about improvement in Luc’s shot, I still want to wait till the games start to see how improved he really is. As rye noted in the comment section there was talk about Luc improving his jumpshot last year. But again it is absolutely awesome to hear a coach and his staff providing details on how they have been working on phase of the kid’s game, while making sure he is drilled in defensive fundamentals, providing him with necessary foundation to polish his game.

Coach Howland provided more notes on other players. Diane was there to compile this report for the LAT:
Senior center Lorenzo Mata-Real worked for the first 45 minutes of practice Tuesday when the Bruins did strength and conditioning drills, and Howland said Mata-Real, who is recovering from a sprained foot, has been cleared to compete fully Thursday.

Sophomore forward James Keefe, recovering from shoulder surgery, was allowed to shoot with both hands on the ball Tuesday. "He'd been one-handed up to this point," Howland said. . . . Junior Michael Roll, who will play the second guard spot and small forward, earned Howland's praise for having 11 assists and no turnovers Tuesday. . . . Freshman Kevin Love led UCLA in scoring and rebounding at the last two practices, Howland said. . . . Swingman Josh Shipp, who had hip surgery in April, is "shooting it better than I've ever seen him shoot," Howland said. "He's strong and he's surprisingly in good condition."
BTW have we ever heard Dorrell give us details on what was going down in practice other than working on "stuff," "fixing things," and "disciplining resources"? And, no I will never get tired off drawing this contrast until the doofus remains as UCLA. Every time Howland talks to the press, he gives us the stark contrast we need to drive home wrt the incompetence of Karl Dorrell.

Lastly, Dohn has a hoops story. He gives us the shocking news that Collison might be going pro after this season:
Junior point guard Darren Collison hasn't made an official announcement about his plans after the season, but sources said UCLA is preparing for him to leave for the NBA, and the recruiting pattern shows it.

Three of the four players expected to sign binding letters of intent next month can play point guard. However, with UCLA expected to challenge for a national title, Collison said he wasn't going to discuss the possibility of leaving early.

"I don't buy into that," Collison said. "I'm enjoying my college experience. I don't need to think about it. Personally, we've got so much going for us, as a team. I just feel that for somebody to think about something else, other than the season, it would be a distraction."

Several mock drafts have Collison listed as going in the top 15 picks, and he is coming off a sensational postseason in which the Bruins reached their second straight Final Four.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Collison contemplated leaving after last season, when he averaged 12.7 points and 5.6 assists.

"I love my teammates, I love being around them, joking around and being supportive," Collison said. "And the coaching staff, you can't play for any better coach than coach (Ben) Howland. Something he does is makes you better every day, and he strives for perfection all the time, and that's something you want to do."
Uhm Brian, I don’t think that’s news to any of us over here, and no one here is going to be stressed about DC leaving early this season. It’s a boring, old, stale storyline that none of us really care about. And it sounds like DC is really not all that interested in talking about it either. So, perhaps you can stick to reporting and tell us what is actually going down with our team, and expand or report on the notes Coach Howland provided in practice. It sounds like you are not going to do much digging around the football program, content to cut and paste what your buddies from Morgan Center feed you. So if you are going to cut and paste, why not do it with the substantive content provided by a real coach and his competent staff from the Morgan Center? Otherwise, no one really cares about tired storyline of who may be leaving early, when the season hasn’t even started.

Anyway, thank God for Coach Howland. With someone like him in charge we don’t really have to worry about what we get from local reporters. He tells us all we need to know.