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Ben Ball News & Notes

To lift our collective mood here are some fun notes from the world of Ben Ball.

Love is learning to be a warrior:

Love sat out the last five minutes of Friday's practice so he could ice his left calf, where he was kneed three times over the past couple of days and sustained a bruise.

The freshman is expected to practice today. Love also had two nasty scratches on his back.

"He's pretty tough," coach Ben Howland said. "When you're playing in the post, in general, it's so physical in there. Somebody scratched the heck out of him (Thursday). So, I checked everybody today to make sure everybody had nice, short fingernails.

"I saw it when it happened. It was a pretty significant scratch."

Love was accidentally kneed by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute one day and Alfred Aboya another.
Guys note how Coach Howland is checking his players' fingernails. When I read that sentence it made me think of our Doofus from Spaulding field, whose staff cannot make sure their running backs have proper equipment (sending Ramirez out there with Fullback's shoulderpad) when they go out to practice.

Again, I will never get tired of pointing this kind of example out, because it drives home the distinction between Howland's coaching and Dorrell's assclowning in the same school.

Anyway, more on Love's learning process from the LA Times:
Love, even with his bumps and bruises, is making a difference.

"The best thing is, he's playing a lot down low and if a team doubles the ball in the post, he's really good at reading that and making quick passes before the double team gets there and he's finding teammates wide open," the coach said.
And we have some fun notes to share thanks to Diane. Mata-Real is gutting it out, From Diane:
And there is one more physical player participating in practice. Center Lorenzo Mata-Real has gone through two full practices. Mata-Real, the team's only senior, has been recovering from a foot injury.

"The foot was a little swollen, a little sore this morning," Howland said, "but he's gutting through it and doing a good job."
Howland is liking what he is seeing from Dragovic:
Howland also says he has seen progress in sophomore forward Nikola Dragovic, who played little in 2006-07 after serving a 10-game NCAA suspension to start the season.

"He's smart, he plays within himself," Howland said. "He's a good passer and shooter and knows how to move without the ball. He's also understanding that to play minutes for us he's got to play defense."
And he and his staff are entertaining our 2008's Fab-4 class (crossing my fingers that it could round into Fab-5) on campus:
The four recruits who have given oral commitments to UCLA for next season -- guards Jrue Holiday of North Hollywood Campbell Hall High, Jerime Anderson of Anaheim Canyon High and Malcolm Lee of Riverside North High and post player Drew Gordon of San Jose Archbishop Mitty High -- are on campus for the weekend.

While Howland can't comment specifically on the players until they officially sign letters of intent, he did lay out their itinerary:

Friday the group went to classes, toured campus and ate in the dorms. "Our dorm food is really good," Howland said. The UCLA team and the recruits were to have dinner at Howland's home Friday night. There is a Saturday morning practice from 10 until 11:45, and then a trip to the Rose Bowl to watch the UCLA-California football game.
Uhm, let me personally testify wrt to our dorm food. It is awesome compared to the crap you get fed in other schools (like Cal, Georgetown, Michigan campuses I have hung out at before). It is pretty damn good. Oh I also met Mrs. N in the Sunset Village cafetaria (it was Puzzles back in 1991) during first week of our freshman year. So I guess I am little partial. It is all good.

It is all good in the world of Ben Ball which always lifts our mood here on BN.