Basketball season will be on us soon. I just thought I would throw out a few tidbits. First, though a commercial break for a worthy cause. If you are in town this Sunday, why not come by Pauley for dribble for the cure? This is an event started by Ben Howland and continued by Steve Alford.
Past-Howland Era Update
Here are a few notes on some of his lesser known players of the Ben Howland era:
Zeek Jones got signed by the Memphis Grizzlies:
But Memphis also has just 14 players with full guarantees, leaving one extra spot on its regular-season roster.
Another point guard, Lazeric Jones, joins what's now a three-man competition for the spot.
Ryan Hollins is also there:
Ryan Hollins reportedly received interest from a few teams earlier in the offseason - the Kings, Wizards and Clippers.
He chose another.
For a win-now team, he's a nice - maybe even necessary - addition at this stage.
A Center the opposite of Hollins is Smith.
Heat summer-camp center Joshua Smith says he has reached an agreement with the Houston Rockets.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) September 17, 2015
Not sure Smith makes it. However, I will say he has the most potential and least desire on this list.
However, let's close with the best from last season. Norman Powell has looked really good throughout the preseason. You can find a number of good stories and highlights out there on him. However, I want to focus on one quote :
DeRozan has been an early mentor, even though they went to rival schools. Of the crosstown rivalry being a cross-locker room issue, Powell laughs off his known upcoming misfortune. 'I think he might get me with rookie duties and things of the nature,' Powell acknowledges before adding 'I'll be sure to tell him that I didn't lose to USC during my time at UCLA.'
Thanks Norman for helping ensure UCLA never loss to just SC.
Present-Log Jam at Four
While I remain dubious of Jonah Bolden playing the three, there is a bit of a log jam of bodies at the four. As I mentioned here, there is a chance Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker play together some. However, if you want pure fours one option is GG Goloman. Goloman:
Gyorgy Goloman grew this offseason. Alford said he is now an inch taller at 6-foot-11 and 20 pounds heavier at 220 pounds.
As Bruinette pointed out, GG does not rebound well for his height. Those extra 20 pounds could help him. While GG is a good shooter and a great passer for a four, the question remains can he rebound? While Powell was the best player last year, Kevon Looney's rebounding may be the hardest thing to replace.
In addition to Welsh/Parker, GG, and likely starter Bolden, UCLA has other options at the four. 6'10" Alex Olenski seems more similar to GG than the rebounding force UCLA may need. From an ESPN scouting report:
Olesinski is a very long and mobile front line prospect that run the floor well.and can finish with his length as opposed to strength. He is skilled and is much more comfortable facing the basket. He has range to the arc and is comfortable in pick and pop situations.
But UCLA is not done with options at the four. Alford has said Ike Okwarabiazie will also get a shot at 4. Ike is the opposite of Alex, GG, and actually any other big on the UCLA roster. He is strong and powerful inside but a relatively recent convert from soccer and still learning the game.
6-10, 245-pounds out of Tyler J.C., Okwarabizie averaged 6.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
"Ike brings great size, strength and physicality to the table and will certainly help our play in the post," Alford said in a UCLA release. "He comes from a very good program at Tyler Junior College and has been coached well. We needed to add depth to our interior, and we know that Ike will help us fill that need."
Despite all these options, I bet Bolden plays the majority of minutes at the four.
Future-UCLA has a AAA team
UCLA has a farm team, Compton Magic. UCLA has the following players coming in from Compton Magic: Kobe Paras (3 star two guard);Ike Anigbogu (4 star center); and two years away Jalen Hill (4 star Center), Jaylen Hands (5 star point guard). (Hat tip DannyGismyhomeboy ). On top of all these UCLA is rumored to be leading for another Compton Magic star Power Forward TJ Leaf (5 star). In other words UCLA has a complete team and then some coming from Compton Magic. Now Lonzo Ball is likely a one and done but that still means there is a chance if Leaf comes that UCLA in 2016-17 could have an all Compton Magic team on the floor.
While obviously, I am kidding on the farm team comment it is an interesting recruiting development.