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Ben Ball Draft Notes: Amazing Night For UCLA

Let’s go back to last night: an amazing one for the UCLA basketball program.

We will let the official word tell the story about RW and KL:

UCLA's Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love were both selected as lottery picks in the 2008 NBA Draft tonight in New York at Madison Square Garden. The pair became the first Bruin duo to be drafted as lottery picks in the same year in UCLA history since lottery picks began in 1985. They also became just the sixth teammates in NBA Draft history to be drafted back-to-back and became the first Bruin duo to be drafted in the top five since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and Lucius Allen were the No. 1 (Milwaukee Bucks) and No. 3 (Seattle Sonics) overall picks, respectively, in 1969.

Westbrook was the fourth overall pick by the Seattle Sonics, while Love was the fifth pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. The tandem was also the first Bruin pair to be chosen in the first round since Ed O'Bannon (9th pick by the New Jersey Nets) and George Zidek (22nd pick by the Charlotte Bobcats) were selected in the 1995 NBA Draft.

Westbrook and Love became the 102nd and 103rd UCLA players to be selected in NBA draft history (UCLA is the all-time collegiate leader in NBA Draft selections, since 1948). UCLA has had at least one player taken in the NBA Draft for the last 12 years (since the 1997 draft). Additionally, Westbrook became the first Bruin selected as a lottery pick since Jerome Moiso was the 11th pick by the Boston Celtics in 2000.

"I'm so excited and elated for them," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "Both Russell and Kevin have worked so hard and I'm not surprised that they went as high as they did. They are both great kids and great players and both the Sonics and the Grizzlies are very fortunate to have them join their franchises."

If you think Coach Howland was excited after the initial hour in the Garden, can’t imagine how pumped he was about LRMAM going at number 37:

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who became the first Bruin to start in three straight Final Fours since Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes and Greg Lee in 1972-74, was selected in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks (37th pick) on Thursday evening at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Mbah a Moute became the third Bruin selected in the 2008 NBA Draft, which is the first time three Bruins have been drafted in the same season since 1998. In that year, all three Bruins were drafted in the second round. Jelani McCoy was the 33rd pick (Seattle Sonics), Toby Bailey was the 45th pick (L.A. Lakers) and J.R. Henderson was the 56th pick (Vancouver Grizzlies) in the 1998 NBA Draft. Russell Westbrook was the No. 4 overall pick in 2008 by the Seattle Sonics while Kevin Love was the fifth overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mbah a Moute became the 104th UCLA player to be selected in Bruin draft history (UCLA is the all-time collegiate leader in NBA Draft selections, since 1948). UCLA has had at least one player taken in the NBA Draft for the last 12 years (since the 1997 draft).

Mbah a Moute, a 6-8, 232-pound forward, was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 2007-08 while averaging 8.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game (2nd on the team and 12th in the Pac-10). The 2006 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year finished his UCLA career ranked 15th in total rebounds with 775.

"I'm very happy and very excited," Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said. "I'm going to a great organization and going to play for a very good head coach who understands me and really values the things I bring to the table, like defense and rebounding. I'm very excited for the opportunity to compete at the highest level."

Congrats to LRMAM, RW, and KL.

Rye delivered the line of the night:

Remember guys

UCLA won’t be able to get top talents because our style isn’t fun and doesn’t prepare guys for the NBA.

I am sure that will not stop the concern trolls (even after recent NBA finals showed how it's defense that wins teams championships) from bad mouthing Ben Ball, still I spit out my drink when I read that comment. Well done Rye.

Anyway as bucknellbruin noted right after getting drafted KL was traded to Minnesota in a blockbuster package deal involving OJ PayoMayo. It will be an interesting situation for Kevin because he will be competing for the starting spot against Al Jefferson. But we have seen his work ethic and dedication up front as UCLA fans. So I am not too worried how he is going to fit in that team.

BTW, speaking of Kevin caught this funny quip from John Ryan in the San Jose Mercury News concerning some of KL’s recent comments on PTI (posted by Tydides):

Kevin Love has lost 20 pounds since we last saw the UCLA center in the Final Four. He said on ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" that it's helping him with the ladies. Yeah, because a basketball star at UCLA struggles mightily in that area.

And of course being a basketball star at UCLA involves lot more than impressing "the ladies."  Here is the money which was flagged by bluestreet yesterday. Last night UCLA overtook Duke as the school with most NBA picks in this decade. After last night UCLA has 13 picks, while Duke has 10. Interestingly that fact was somehow missed by Duke Vitale while bloviating on WWL.

Anyway, we don’t need Vitale or anyone else to tell us this:

Enjoy your Friday.