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To Darren & Russell: THANK YOU

I am not going go through the roller coaster of up or down re. whether DC, RW or KL will stay or go. I don’t have any inside sources ala Dohn, Pucin or any other beat reporters. I don’t talk to the coaches or players.

However, given what I have read to date and based on my two decades of following UCLA (and the world of college hoops on a day to day basis) I believe we have seen the last of DC, RW, and KL at UCLA. I believe they are gone and it will be nothing short of an absolute miracle if any one of them decides to come back for another season at UCLA.

I will throw up another thread sometime later saying goodbye and thank your to our best center since Bill Walton, but this one is dedicated especially to these two:

Photo Credit:AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian (via ESPN)

Let me start with DC. If anyone here thinks about being ungrateful and selfish and hold a grudge about him not coming back, just think back to at this point last season, when his stock was just as high as he could have gone pro. Instead out of loyalty to Coach Howland and his program, he decided to come back for another season, and give another shot at number 12. He came close and took us all the way to our 18th Final-4 (his 3rd straight) and in the process of doing so gave us moments like the one above (against Stanford at Pauley). Thank you from the bottom of my heart Darren. I believe you are gone. I am going to miss you.

As for RW, again just think back to the time when Coach Howland and his staff was recruiting him out of high school in his senior season (05-06). During the beginning of the year, Howland didn’t have a scholarship to offer him. He didn’t have to wait till Spring of 06 to wait for an UCLA offer. He could have gone ahead and committed to another Pac-10 program. Instead he dutifully waited (because he wanted to be a Ben Ball warrior) and as soon as JF decided to go pro, within days he committed to Coach Howland. RW is a great place in his life. If a family member (and I consider RWpart of my extended Bruin family) had the kind of options RW has in front of him right now, there is no way I would stand in his way of making the decision that is best for him. He has already given us enough in his two incredible years as a Bruin. RW if you are reading this … thank you and we are behind you, and yes we are going to miss you.

So, thank you Darren and Russell. I hope everyone else will join me in wishing these two kids - two of our all time favorite Ben Ball warriors - luck, best wishes, and gratitude for all the memories of last few wonderful years.