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Instant Impact

From future seniors in football, let's talk about some incoming freshmen Ben Ball warriors. Some of you are already on this. If you are anywhere near Portland (OR) today, you may want to check out our Fab-4 playing in the Nike Hoops Summit. The Oregonian ran a feature today on our future Ben Ball warriors, who are excited about coming in an making in an instant impact:

"You're going to see what we're going to do at UCLA," Holiday said after a practice at the Nike campus near Beaverton. "Everybody up here, all of them are great players, and they all do everything. I think we're going back to the Final Four. If those guys leave, I think all four of us that are here have the ability."

"Those guys" are center Kevin Love and guards Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison, who will surprise few if they make themselves available for the NBA draft. Regardless of their decisions, Anderson also is excited about the possibilities next season.

"All of us are real capable guys, so it's a lot of fun to see what each other can do," said Anderson, who has played with Holiday on a traveling team. "I've been playing with Jrue for a couple years now, so I know his game pretty well, but seeing Drew dunking on people and Malcolm doing his thing, it's a lot of fun."

Holiday -- whose parents played basketball at Arizona State and whose brother, Justin, is a freshman forward at Washington -- is the jewel of the class.

He averaged 25.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 4.4 steals and 2.4 blocks for North Hollywood (Calif.) this past season and became the 16th player in California history to score more than 2,600 career points. and rate him the No. 3 recruit in the class of 2008.

Lee (6-5) and Anderson (6-1) aren't as polished as Holiday but have tremendous versatility. The fleet and muscular Gordon (6-8) is a relentless force inside, having averaged 17 rebounds as a senior.

The four are primed to play big roles as freshmen. If Love, Westbrook and Collison leave for the NBA draft, as expected, coach Ben Howland will need the newcomers to get acclimated quickly for the Bruins to make the Final Four for the fourth year in a row.
Read the rest of the feature here which has more quotes from  Gordon and Anderson. Although let's not get way ahead of ourselves and start thinking about another Final-4 at this point. I think they key to next year will be the return of LRMAM and AA2. If we get those two guys back, we are going to have a chance to put together a very decent season allowing us to take a run at our 4t straight conference title (which is going to have a down year with defection of boat load of NBA talents up and down the conference).

However, it is a testament to the kind of job Coach Howland has done that even if in the worst case nuclear scenario, he has a kind of class lined up that had the mindset to make immediate contributions, and do what they can to keep our basketball program at a good place.