Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2009-10 UCLA Basketball Update

Just a little post on UCLA basketball:

The season has started! 3 'official' games so far (2-1). We lost 4 starters from last year (and the remaining starter has already been suspended for 2 games for legal reasons) so a lot of new faces are getting playing time. The starting lineup last night against Pepperdine (Victory!) looked like this:

PG Jerime Anderson (So.)
SG Malcolm Lee (So.)
SF Michael Roll (Sr.)
PF James Keefe (Sr.)
C Drew Gordon (So.)

Coming off the bench senior walk-on Mustafa Abdul-Hamid got a lot of minutes (25ish) at guard. True freshman Reeves Nelson, Mike Moser, and Brendan Lane each got 8/9 minutes. Notable in their absence were Tyler Honeycutt (injury), Bobo Morgon (is not very good), and Anthony Stover (true freshman who might redshirt).

I have watched most of the games and my first impression is that we are VERY raw. Coach Ben Howland likes to ride his starters and usually rotates about 3 bench players, especially during Pac-10 play, so most of these guys played very little last year. Dragovic's suspension will actually help Nelson and Lane a lot as they will get a lot more playing time than they would have otherwise. If Dragovic comes back I expect their minutes to decrease significantly. Howland should really think about redshirting two or three of his bigs (Morgan/Stover/Lane).

We have very little depth in the back court, and Honeycutt's return from injury will be key. Moser has been getting a little playing time but our ball handlers need to get a lot better at facing pressure (Anderson and Hamid both looked pretty bad when they had defenders in their respective faces).

Overall we should actually be okay - middle of the road in the Pac-10 assuming our guys make improvements between now and January. No-one looks like they will make enough of a leap to jump ship early to the Pros but someone (like Lee or Honeycutt) could pull a Westbrook and make significant in-season improvement. We can only hope.

Anyway, you can read a lot more about this season at BruinsNation, Bruin Basketball Report Online, Jon Gold's blog , or Scout.

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