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Ben Ball Roundup: Need For Better Defensive Rebounding

Let’s continue to build our game files for Sunday night. Mdjohns4 talked about how staying out of foul trouble will be critical on the defensive side. In addition to that we will have to a better job in the department of defensive rebounding. Defensive rebounding seems to be the dominant theme in this week’s practice heading into this weekend. Here is Coach Howland in the Daily News:

"We have to do a better job rebounding," Howland said. "I was disappointed in our rebounding numbers in the last game. I don't think we're doing a great job blocking out, and that will cost us. We will lose on Sunday night if we don't do a better job of blocking out and rebounding because they're such a good rebounding team, and so athletic."

UCLA is second in the league in offensive rebounds, averaging 12.9 per game, but the 21.7defensive boards per game rates last.

Howland said one of the reasons is UCLA doesn't have a designate big rebounder, like a year ago when center Kevin Love snatched every loose ball, or like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did before Love's arrival.

For Ben Ball warriors to get better they will have to do a better job of getting back to fundamentals:

"We have to do the fundamentals; blocking out, put a body on somebody to create more room to get the ball," Aboya said. "Rebounding is not about height. It's more about your will to get the ball."

And get increased contributions from the entire team:

In the absence of a pure rebounder playing big minutes, UCLA is counting on contributions from the masses.

Aboya, power forward James Keefe (4.6 rpg), backup center Drew Gordon (4.4 rpg), guard Jrue Holiday (3.9 rpg), backup power forward Nikola Dragovic (3.2 rpg) and wing Josh Shipp (3.1 rpg) are each averaging at least three rebounds per game, but more is being requested.

"We need to give a little more effort, I guess, and not try to leak out to get on a fast break," Roll said. "We're all supposed to stick around and rebound."

More on the need for team rebounding in the LA Times:

All five men are supposed to go to the glass every time the opponent shoots, but players said they have been getting sloppy, trying to sneak off to start the fastbreak.

"It's really a team thing," center Alfred Aboya said. "Something we definitely need to fix."

Well the team will hopefully get a boost via return of ML, who appeared to be “fine” after practicing with the team yesterday:

According to UCLA head men's basketball coach Ben Howland, freshman guard Malcolm Lee participated in about one hour and 10 minutes of this afternoon's practice.
Howland said that Lee looked good and that everything appeared fine, other than Lee being a little winded.

ML is still listed as probable for Sunday night. Also on the injury front JM is listed as “questionable” for Sunday’s game as he apparently strained a groined muscle against Oregon last Sunday. Howland is hoping JM will be able to practice on Friday. Hope JM gets healthy soon.