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Friday (Ben Ball) News & Notes

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I believe BN is the best community in blogosphere covering college sports. There is no question in my mind about that. Yet even I have been overwhelmed by the quality of posts/comments showing up in comments and diary section (no I am not talking about posters with username referencing movie characters) have gone to whole another level. Simply amazing. Keep them coming guys.

I will keep the Friday news and notes focused on hoops. Lots of bits and pieces of infos to share. As usual Dohn is keeping things interesting over at his blog with some notes on Luc, AA2 and Dragovic:

I'm told UCLA power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and center Alfred Aboya are both scheduled to go home to Yaounde, Cameroon, this weekend. Mbah a Moute has not been home since he arrived in the U.S. in prep school four years ago. Aboya was last home during his time at the Tilton School in New Hampshire because of a family illness.
Both are expected to spend a month in Cameroon before returning to Los Angeles in late July.
Also, Bruins reserve Nikola Dragovic finished his finals early and is already back in Serbia. I'm told he is expected to come back later this summer and his is committed to remaining at UCLA.
To be honest, I always considered Dragovic's return uncertain because I know he was frustrated at not playing much. Combine that with the fact he told me during the season he could make more than $75,000 playing in Europe, and I always wondered if he would return for his sophomore season.
Like I said, though, he gave every indication to UCLA he would be back.
I am not all that worried about Dragovic. I am confident (not that I have inside sources of info. on this specific case) the kid is coming back. I'd be less certain if this was next year, and he had spent another season getting much action in Howland's rotation. It was pretty clear the 10 game suspension really slowed things down for him. I think if he comes back this year and gets in team practices and in game action from the getgo, he will be able to make some meaningful contributions at the 3. Plus I do have good sources of info when I can tell you Nikola has some very attractive friends in Westwood. The kid is coming back.

Meanwhile, we are going to keep our eyes on Shipp. Here is a FSN report saying Shipp is on track for total recovery:
Josh Shipp has done this before.

The UCLA wing, who will likely be the Bruins go-to guy now that Arron Afflalo (I'm so glad he's gone, so I don't have to worry about the spelling of his name any longer) is off to the NBA, is recovering from his second hip surgery in about 19 months.

Shipp had surgery on his left hip about a month ago. It was the identical surgery he had on his other hip on Sept. 28, 2005.

``He's doing great with his rehab," UCLA coach Ben Howland told FOXSports.com. "He's kept his weight steady and he'll be running on it this coming week. They'll put him on the treadmill."

Shipp averaged 13.3 points per game last season as the Bruins made their second consecutive Final Four run. Howland expects Shipp to be 100 percent in late-September or early October.

``He's already been through the rehab process once," Howland said. "He played the year and there was no issue."
I will keep my fingers crossed on this one. The key thing to watch out for IMHO is to see whether Shipp will have the same quickness he was showing towards the end of season when he was being aggressive on defense and attacking the rim. If Shipp can come back in that form we will go a long way.

Lot of pundits are counting on us to go far next season including Joe Lunardi of ESPN, who has UCLA as a number 1 seed (Insider article) for the 08 tourney along with UNC, Louisville, and Memphis.

Lastly, wanted to share with an amazing site with you which I just discovered couple of days ago. I have already blogrolled it: Coach John Wooden's official site. Check it out. It is ABSOLUTELY amazing.

GO BRUINS.