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Ben Ball News & Notes

Let’s get to more hoops notes. In addition to Coach Howland weekly presser yesterday, UCLA also made Darren Collison available for a teleconference in which he updated reporters on his health condition and number of other issues. From KS Wong at Bruin Basketball Report (BBR)

Junior Point Guard Darren Collison on his hip injury

"As of right now, it feels a lot better than it did yesterday. I came in and got treatment this afternoon. At the time, it was really sore and it was sore during the Saturday game. It’s just something I have to get through. Coach [Ben] Howland said that I’m going to have a lot of injuries throughout my career and as long as I push through it, I’ll be fine."

on his offense improving

"I think the more games you have under your belt, the more comfortable you are in the game. I’m getting. I’m getting back to playing, but I’m also getting more rest during the games. It’s just about me getting more games under my belt. I thought I was really coming along in the Washington game, until I got hurt in the second half, and I really got to prove against Washington State that I was ready."
DC is battling through his nagging injuries and finding a way to contribute all over the court. And it’s impressive that despite his injuries he finds himself prominently in a number of UCLA superlative statistics which attempts to measure hustle, toughness, and performance under pressure in Howland’s program:
Points in the Paint
1. Kevin Love – 134
2. Russell Westbrook- 82
3. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 78
4. Josh Shipp - 74
5. Darren Collison - 48
UCLA 516 Opponents 342

3-PT Plays Attempted/Made (the "old" fashion way)
1. Kevin Love - 16/13
2. Russell Westbrook - 8/5
3. Josh Shipp - 5/4
3. Darren Collison - 5/4
3. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 5/4
UCLA 39/30, Opponents 14/11

FT% Last Four Minutes in Game (more than 4 attempts)
1. Josh Shipp - 8 of 8 (1.000)
2. Russell Westbrook - 9 of 10 (.900)
3. Kevin Love - 10 of 13 (.769)
4 Darren Collison - 5 of 7 (.714)
5. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute 3 of 6 (.500)
5. Lorenzo Mata-Real 3 of 6 (.500)
UCLA 40 of 54 (.741), Opponents 19 of 23 (.826)
Make sure to check out all the numbers here.

Of course RW and DC are all over those leader boards as they have emerged as IMHO as probably the toughest defensive oriented back court tandem in the country, who are also as dangerous as anyone in terms of offensive firepower when you combine them with Shipp. That is why I found this quote from ESPN’s Dough Gottlieb very amusing:
"I think the weakness at the end of the day is their guards are just OK. The whole is better than the sum of their parts. Westbrook is very quickly emerging as a talent but he's not the guy who's going to score when the shot clock runs down or have a huge game. Darren Collison is good, but he doesn't have that extra gear Jordan Farmar did to create his own shot. Josh Shipp is a very good shooter and for all his injuries is still a very good athlete, but he's not like Indiana, with Eric Gordon, or Wayne Ellington at Carolina. They don't have that."
That was from a Robyn Norwood in one of those proverbial putting the cart before the horse articles speculating on national championship possibilities just 4 game into a conference season.

I sure hope someone from the program passed those comments on to our boys. They will come in handy later. Also here is another one of those cart before the horse basketball articles from Randy Hill in discussing the best 3 basketball teams in America. Just make sure you read the entire article including the very last sentence.