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Ben Ball Gameday Roundup

Let’s start with some heavy dose of good news on this Humpday. And no surprise all of it is coming from the world of Ben Ball warriors. Brian Dohn is reports that DC and Roll "might" play tonight:

UCLA's depth could get a significant boost tonight against George Washington because point guard Darren Collison and wing Michael Roll could make their season debuts.

Roll, who is recovering from a ruptured plantar fascia in the arch of his left foot, said he and Collison, out with a knee injury, were staging a pseudo-competition to see who would get back on the court first.

"Hopefully, we can still play the same game," Roll said. "I'm hoping for it to be (George Washington), but that's up to the doctors at this point."

Collison, a former Etiwanda High School standout, tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in an exhibition game. He went through a full workout and was termed a game-time decision.

Collison was not made available for comment.

"I think the biggest thing with (Collison) is just gaining confidence in it," said UCLA coach Ben Howland, who added Collison will have to play with a knee brace for a few weeks.

"That brace does restrict you a little bit. It's not as mobile as you would like."
More from Diane in the LAT:
Roll had said Tuesday he hoped to get clearance to play against George Washington, but after 50 minutes of full-contact action, a post-practice report said Roll was doubtful.

Collison participated in the full practice Tuesday but was unavailable for comment. According to a UCLA statement, his status against George Washington will be a game-time decision.

"I think Darren looks great," freshman center Kevin Love said before Tuesday's practice. "You can tell he hasn't been on the court for a while because he looks a little tentative, but he was feeding the ball well, running well and you guys all know he's faster than anybody in the country."

"Darren looked real good Monday," said Russell Westbrook, who has been handling the point guard job since Collison got hurt. "He looked very close to coming back."

It was left for Coach Ben Howland to be noncommittal on whether Collison would play any minutes against George Washington or Texas this week.
If these kids return tonight, it would be a huge boost for our warriors. As Roll mentioned later in the Dohn article it seems like right now this is lot more "mental than physical." And there is also the issue of conditioning, which is paramount for player in Coach Howland’s system.

I am sure lot of you of saw during the broadcast of the MSU game they showed clips of DC going through drills and he looked pretty good. I think if this was a situation where we were getting ready for a second round tournament game they would play. But since we are still in the early stages of the OOC season, we have the luxury to be cautious and it looks like Coach Howland is intent on exercising that caution. But if they came in for few moments tonight and get in some game mins going into Sunday’s game against no. 7 ranked Texas, it would be a pretty good lift for all of our warriors.

While DC and Roll "might" play tonight, one kid who is getting in no matter what is AA2. And instead of sulking about his injury he sounds giddy about what goggles he will be wearing!
Alfred Aboya was giddy Tuesday. He was eager to see what kind of goggles were coming his way. He said he can't sneeze or blow his nose, but he can give, and receive, a shoulder to the back or a hip to the stomach, and he can set a screen and play some mean defense.

Aboya, UCLA's 6-foot-8 power forward who broke a bone underneath his right eye last Friday, practiced Tuesday with his new goggles and will start tonight when the second-ranked Bruins (6-0) play host to George Washington (2-1) at Pauley Pavilion.
That was from Pucin’s report as well. I guess we can’t expect from anything less from a guy who grew up eating snakes.

Also speaking of good news T already diaried up the commitment of our latest Ben Ball warrior. LA Times’ Eric Sondheimer has a story on Jerime Anderson’s heir apparent – Kendal Williams – here. Again a huge welcome to Kendall.

As for the game against George Washington, Bruin Basketball Report has the preview:
Coach [Karl ] Hobbs has a very athletic team this season and will try to leverage it by pressing and trapping on defense for the entire 40 minutes of action. They have held opponents to 69 points a game on just 39% shooting.

On offense, they are averaging 75 points a contest while shooting 45.6% from the field and 37.3% from three-point distance. The Colonials have struggled with turnovers in early games perhaps a result of losing their only pure point-guard Travis Knight to season-ending knee surgery.

George Washington returns two starters from last season but will be a decidedly different team after losing three senior starters who accounted for over 40% of the team's production last season.

Senior guard Maureece Rice (6'1, 224) was voted the Most Outstanding Player in last year's A-10 tournament. He has had a rocky start this season averaging 9.0 points on less than 39% shooting. Rice did not play in GW's last game due to a suspension after violating an unspecified team rule. However, he is the team's top returning scorer from last season at 15.9 points on 45% shooting from the field including 43% from beyond the arc.

Rice will be matched-up against Russell Westbrook. Westbrook will be sporting a new, actually an old, look tonight since he shaved off his "flaming mohawk" over the weekend. The sophomore Bruin guard has played splendidly, especially on defense, in the place of injured starting point-guard Darren Collison. Westbrook will need to to handle the full-court pressure applied by GW, as he did against Maryland a few games earlier. This season he is averaging 6.0 assists while turning the ball over 2.8 times a game.

Junior Rob Diggs (6'8, 187) is a very long and athletic forward who is a big time leaper and shot-blocker. He is leading the team in scoring with 20.0 point on 61.5% shooting. He has a good midrange jumper and finishes very strong around the basket.

This will be a good test for freshman center Kevin Love who be challenged with Digg's over-the-top athleticism. However, Love is expected to give Diggs a tough time on the other end of the court as well. Love is the Bruin's leading scorer and rebounder at 19.3 points and 10.5 rebounds a game.
Read the whole post here.

We will have the game thread up later tonight. It will be a much needed relief from all the dreariness of another Dorrellian football week.