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Ben Ball News & Notes: Getting It Together

Now let’s pivot back to our basketball team. While there are thousands of Bruin fans who are disgusted with what happened during the closing mins against the Huskies, our team is quietly working on getting it together. And it was encouraging to see these comments from Love in today’s LAT in which he backtracked from previous ridiculous comments following the game:

Kevin Love backtracked a little from his contention that he should have gotten more than eight shots in UCLA's 71-61 loss to Washington on Sunday.

Love, the Bruins' 6-foot-10 freshman center who leads UCLA in scoring and rebounding, found out thinking he was open wasn't the same as being open.

"I don't have eyes on the back of my head," Love said. "I can't see the defender behind me sometimes." […]

"I'm starting to get double-teamed 15 to 17 feet from the basket," Love said. "I've still got to get touches as much as I can from out there. Then I've got to find open teammates and we have to start picking them apart up top.

"Guys have to start getting open jump shots and knocking them down."
That sounds right. When Kevin airs public comments he has to keep in mind UCLA basketball is lot bigger than one freshman phenom. His comments notwithstanding we adore him and we more than appreciate the new dimensions he has brought to Coach Howland’s program. However, that doesn’t mean he can operate out of the team structure in his public comments. He has to work with rest of his team-mates through the tough times and figure things out. His team-mates know how good he is and they have looked for him in the past (as evidenced by so many of his monster performances leading up to last Sunday). DC echoed those sentiments in the same writeup by Pucin:
Point guard Darren Collison said all the Bruins are aware of Love's offensive abilities.

"He needs shots," Collison said, "he's going to get shots. But there's nothing to do when two guys are on him. He's a great player; a lot of teams know that. I told Kevin he's not the only player to have attention on himself. The solution is a team game. . . . Everybody has to be on the same page."
Well DC can make those comments. He has been in this program for three years and he has been one of the cornerstones of the Final-4 teams from last two years. And it sure looks like at least in this community he has the standing to take the leadership mantle of this basketball program on the court. So Love would be well served by listening to his floor general.

Westbrook was in the same frequency as DC in Dohn’s report:
"We have to all be on the same page," Westbrook said. "If you're all not on the same page, than everybody's on different pages, and that's going to be a problem."

Westbrook said the mental aspect of UCLA's game was in flux.

"On offensive plays, people were in different offenses," Westbrook said. "The point guard was in one and others are in another."

Rather than go through a normal Tuesday practice on the court, UCLA coach Ben Howland opted for a team film session to go over what went wrong at Washington.

"It's going to be a rough session," UCLA wing Josh Shipp said.
Well I hope Josh et al. were playing close attention during that session because if they didn’t it is going to get rougher on Sunday night.

Speaking of rough Luc is not 100 percent. He went through shooting drills yesterday which involved no cutting and he is still listed as probably for Sunday night’s game. One guy who is out for Sunday night is Southern Cal guard Daniel Hackett. Hackett was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back. That sounds very painful. And as much as I loathe that program, I hope Hackett has a speedy recovery and gets back on the court soon. I cannot imagine having to endure that kind of injury. Of course we will have more on Sunday night’s game later in the week. The thing to keep in mind for everyone here is that right now our main goal is to hold on the Pac-10 title. Don’t worry about what other teams like UNC, KU, Memphis are doing. Just keep an eye on the Pac-10 race. Sunday night is going to be brutal. But if it doesn’t go our way, it will not be the end of the world. We will have two games at home to get our issues figured out against Oregon schools and set us up for an out all stretch run in the last four games.

As for Sunday, with or without Luc we can expect an all out battle. Even without Hackett I would expect those guys to be the favorite in this contest going into Saturday. And if we don’t have our issues (on ball defense, regain our rebounding edge) we will have problems. If our guys come out with the same focus and intensity they showed in the five games preceding last Sunday, we will have an opportunity to pull it out. Hopefully the boys are paying close attention in those film sessions.