2004 UCLA Men's Basketball Summer Outlook
June 26, 2004
Entering 2004-05, second-year UCLA head coach Ben Howland returns a senior-laden (six) Bruin club that will feature three starters and an additional seven lettermen, including five players who averaged at least eight minutes a game, along with an incoming freshman recruiting class rated No. 5 in the U. S. (rivals.com).
Returning Starters (3)
In 2003-04, UCLA was 11-17 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10, tied for seventh. The Bruins return three starters for the 2004-05 collegiate campaign - 6-7 senior guard/forward Dijon Thompson, 6-6 senior guard Cedric Bozeman and 7-0 junior center/forward Ryan Hollins.
Thompson, who declared his interest in the 2004 NBA Draft on April 7 (did not sign with an agent) and withdrew his name from consideration on June 16, was UCLA's leading scorer (14.4, No. 11 in Pac-10) last season and is the Bruins' top returning rebounder (4.3, tied with Hollins). A 2004 Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 performer, Thompson last season lead the Bruins in scoring on 12 occasions, including two of the last three games and scored in double figures 25 times (in 28 games). A starter in 27 of 28 games, Thompson was second on the team in minutes (33.2) and assists (2.3). His free throws clinched Bruin wins at Washington State (1/8) and at Washington (1/10). In 2003-04, Thompson had a season-high 25 points at Oregon State (3/4), including a career-best 7 three-pointers at OSU, a season-high nine rebounds vs. Vermont (11/29) and a career-high tying six assists twice.
'Our staff is very pleased that Dijon has decided to stay in school and complete his degree, which he can do at the end of the upcoming winter quarter,' Howland said. 'Dijon had a very good spring and has been working hard in the weight room. He's improved his overall game and I'm excited about the work ethic he's displayed. I'm confident he's going to have a solid senior campaign.'
Bozeman, who has been UCLA's starting point guard during his initial three years as a Bruin, went through his first injury free season in 2003-04. A starter in all of UCLA's 28 games (he was the only Bruin to start every game), Bozeman led the Pac-10 in assists (5.54/No. 5 in assist/TO ratio, 1.85) and led the Bruins in minutes (33.7). He averaged 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. He had back-to-back career-high 10 assists at California (1/24) and vs. USC (1/28). In UCLA's 69-66OT win over Loyola Marymount (12/13), Bozeman's three-pointer with two seconds left in overtime sealed UCLA's victory (he also recorded his first double-double/16 points, 10 rebounds). Last season Bozeman tied his career-high in points (17 vs. UC Riverside, 12/3) and set a career-high in rebounds (10 vs. Loyola Marymount, 12/13).
'Ced has worked equally as hard in the weight room and has gained 12 pounds,' Howland said. 'He's had a very good spring. I'm excited about his improvement and I'm expecting him to have a good senior year.'
Hollins, who has been invited to participate in the 2004 USA Basketball World Championship for Young Men qualifying trials (July 16-18 at East Rutherford, NJ), has been the Bruins' starting center the last two years. In 2004, he led UCLA in blocked shots (1.0, No. 8 in Pac-10), averaged 4.3 rebounds (tied for No. 3 on the team) and had the third-highest FG% (54.7, 64-117). He started 16 of 28 games, including 13 of the last 15 contests, and averaged 25.4 minutes and 6.5 points. Last season, he scored a career-high 21 points vs. USC (1/28) and a season-high nine rebounds vs. Loyola Marymount (12/13).
'Ryan came on strong during the latter half of last season,' Howland said. 'This year I expect him to play more minutes at power forward. I'm looking for big things from Ryan in his junior year.
'These three players bring a lot of experience to the floor,' Howland said. ' I'm looking to our six seniors to provide leadership and guidance to our younger players.'
Returning Lettermen (7)
UCLA returns seven lettermen, including five who saw significant playing time. They are -- 6-2 senior guard Brian Morrison, 7-0 junior center Michael Fey, 6-3 senior guard Janou Rubin, 6-8 senior forward Josiah Johnson and 6-1 senior guard Ryan Walcott, along with 6-3 junior guard Quinn Hawking and 6-1 sophomore guard Ike Williams.
When healthy, Morrison's play last season proved he was one of UCLA's top performers. But a left hamstring strain suffered early in the season (12/20) and a right ankle sprain later in the year (2/4), limited his playing time to just 13 games, including starting the first five games of the season. His best games were at the beginning and end of the season. In UCLA's 84-70 win over UC Riverside (12/3), Morrison scored career-high 28 points, including 6-8 from three-point range, with career-high nine rebounds. In the Bruins' 91-83 loss to Washington in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament (3/11), Morrison played 22 minutes off the bench and scored 23 points, including five of seven from three-point range. In UCLA's statistics for its 11 wins (in those victories, Morrison played in four games, including three starts), he was the team's No. 2 scorer (14.0), averaging 31.5 minutes, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists and shooting 50.0 (19-38) from the field, 50.0 (13-26) from three-point range and 1.000 (5-5) from the foul line.
'As with our starters, there is a lot of experience among our returning lettermen,' Howland said. 'Not having Brian Morrison available for most of last season because of injuries really hurt our team. He's a tough defender with a consistent outside jumper and his presence will help us considerably this year.'
Fey last season appeared in all 28 games and started the first 13 contests at center. He averaged 15. 3 minutes, 6.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and shot 56.1 (64-114, team leader) from the field and 74.1 (40-54) from the foul line. In UCLA's season-opening victory over Vermont (11/29), Fey scored a career-high 20 points with a career-best eight rebounds.
'Michael started last season very strong,' Howland said. 'We need that same early presence from him, but we need Michael to maintain that consistency throughout the season. This spring he has worked hard in the weight room, gotten bigger and stronger and showed solid improvement.'
Rubin last season earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for his performance off the bench vs. the Oregon schools in Pauley Pavilion as the Bruins started the conference season 2-0. In UCLA's 77-66 victory over Oregon State (1/2), Rubin scored a career-high 13 points (all in the second half), including 3-3 from three-point range, with three assists in 18 minutes. Two days later, in the Bruins' 81-74 win over Oregon, Rubin equaled his career-high in points (13), including 2-3 from three-point range, with three rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot and steal in 24 minutes. For the season, Rubin averaged 14.8 minutes, 4.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and shot 40.5 (15-37) from three-point range.
Johnson, son of NBA and Bruin great Marques Johnson, appeared in 20 games last season and started once. He averaged 8.8 minutes, 1.4 points and 2.4 rebounds (his average of 10.7 rebounds per 40 minutes was best on the team). He recorded career-highs last season in minutes (26 vs. Kentucky, 12/6) and rebounds (9 vs. Loyola Marymount, 12/13). He missed the last seven games of the season with a sprained left knee.
Walcott enters 2004-05 with the second-highest career appearances on the team (80, behind Thompson's 89 and ahead of Bozeman's 75). Last season, he appeared in 25 games and averaged 8.3 minutes and 1.1 points.
Hawking and Williams are walkons and both appeared in one game last season.
Also back for the Bruins will be 6-8 sophomore forward Matt McKinney. McKinney originally redshirted during the 2002-03 campaign and then missed all of last season with a fractured bone in his left foot.
Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo, Josh Shipp and Lorenzo Mata Lead Bruins Incoming Recruiting Class, Rated No. 5 in the Nation by Rivals.com
McDonald's All-Americans, 6-2 point guard Jordan Farmar and 6-5 guard Arron Afflalo, along with Parade Magazine All-American, 6-5 guard Josh Shipp and CalHi Sports All-State performer, 6-9 center/forward Lorenzo Mata, highlight UCLA's incoming freshman recruiting class, rated No. 5 in the U. S. by Rivals. com.
Farmar, from Taft HS in Woodland Hills under coach Derrick Taylor, was called the 'best true point guard in the nation' by recruiting guru Bob Gibbons. As a senior, he averaged 27.5 points and 6.5 assists and led Taft to the school's first Los Angeles City title and a 28-3 final overall record. In the southern California Regional playoffs, Farmar scored 36 points in a quarterfinal victory over Mission Viejo and 38 points, including 27 of Taft's final 29 points (20 in the fourth period), in a semifinal loss to Etiwanda. Along with the McDonald's All-American game, Farmar was also chosen for the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Select team and the Jordan Capital Classic. The Los Angeles Times Player of the Year and named the southern California Prep Player of the Year at the annual Wooden Awards dinner banquet, Farmar earned Parade Magazine second-team All-American, Slam Magazine Honorable Mention All-American and CalHi Sports All-State honors.
Afflalo, from Compton Centennial HS under coach Rod Palmer, led the Apaches to the school's first-ever Div. III CA State title, scoring 24 points in a 60-36 win over Oakland Bishop O'Dowd. He averaged 23.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists and led Compton Centennial to a 32-3 overall record. A starter in the McDonald's All-American game, Afflalo was also selected to the EA Sports Roundball Classic. A third-team Parade Magazine All-American and Honorable Mention Slam Magazine All-American, Afflalo was named CalHi Sports All-State, CIF SS Div. IIIA co-Player of the Year and to the Los Angeles Times All-Star Boy's Basketball team.
Shipp, from Fairfax HS under coach Harvey Kitani, led the Lions to their first-ever CA Div. I State title, scoring 22 (he tied a Div. I State record with five 3-pointers, all in the second half), of his team's 51 points in a 51-35 win over Concord De La Salle. In the southern California Regional final, Shipp scored 33 points (a Regional record for points and field goals,14) in Fairfax's 75-68OT win over Etiwanda (Shipp scored nine of the Lions' 14 overtime points). He averaged 30.4 points and led Fairfax to a 27-5 overall record. Shipp was a third-team Parade Magazine All-American, CalHi Sports All-State and named to the Los Angeles Times All-Star Boy's basketball team. His older brother Joe, was a standout forward at California and led the Pac-10 in scoring in 2003 (20.4 points a game).
Mata, from South Gate HS under coach Sal Serrano, is the first South Gate player in history to earn a Div. I scholarship. Mata, who averaged 25 points and 18 rebounds and was TheInsidershoops.com No. 2 West Coast power forward, led the Rams to an 18-8 overall record, an unbeaten Eastern League record and one playoff victory. In an LA City Sectional quarterfinal game, Shipp's Fairfax club defeated South Gate, 89-65 (Mata had 19 points and 12 rebounds). A determinded shot blocker and rebounder, Mata earned CalHi Sports All-State and was a member of the Los Angeles Times All-Star Boys Basketball team. As a junior, he had 25 double-doubles (points/rebounds) and averaged 25.0 points, 18.0 rebounds and 7.0 blocked shots.
The Bruins will also have on their roster 6-5 freshman guard DeAndre Robinson, a walkon from Riverside King HS. The InsidersHoops.com rates Robinson the No. 8 shooting guard in the West.
'As a staff, we feel we've recruited the nation's No. 1 class,' Howland said. 'We think Jordan is an outstanding pure point guard, that Arron and Josh are two of the top shooting wings in the nation and that Lorenzo will give us immediate help in rebounding and blocking shots. These four recruits will really help our team this coming season.'
Bruins Lose Two Starters, Three Lettermen from 2003-04
UCLA loses two starting forwards from last season, 6-9 T. J. Cummings and 6-7 Trevor Ariza. Cummings, an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 performer in 2004 as a senior, led the Bruins in scoring eight times and in rebounding on 12 occasions. He was the team's second-leading scorer (12.8, No. 16 in Pac-10) and leading rebounder (6.7, No. 10 in Pac-10) and shot 55.2 (128-232, No. 6 in Pac-10) from the field and a team-leading 86.3 (44-51) from the foul line. He started 23 of 24 games and averaged 29.7 minutes. Cummings scored in double figures 21 times and had five double-doubles (the Bruins were 4-1 in those games). His season-highs were 22 points at Washington (1/10) and 12 rebounds vs. Arizona State (1/15). In his career, Cummings' 1,062 points was No. 44 in school history and he's the 29th UCLA player in history to score over 1,000 points with 500 (518) rebounds.
Ariza, who earned Pac-10 All-Freshman team honors, on April 13 announced he was declaring for the NBA Draft, signed with an agent and on June 24 was a second round (43rd pick) selection by the New York Knicks. UCLA's No. 3 scorer (11.6) and No. 2 rebounder (6.5, No. 12 in Pac-10/he led the Bruins in rebounding on 10 occasions), Ariza started 23 of 25 games, averaged 31.6 minutes and led UCLA in steals (1.68, No. 4 in Pac-10). He scored in double figures 14 times, with three double-doubles. His season-highs were 24 points twice and 14 rebounds at Michigan (12/27).
Crispin, who transferred to UCLA from Penn State in 2001, last season as a senior appeared in nine games and started twice. Crispin had a presence at the end of the season, playing in five of the last eight contests, starting twice, and in three of those games, playing double-digit minutes (California, 2/19, 17 minutes, season-high six points; Stanford, 2/21, career-high 28 minutes as a starter, four points, career-high four rebounds, career-high two steals; Notre Dame, 2/28, 14 minutes as a starter, three points). For the season, he averaged 10.3 minutes, 2.0 points, 1.2 rebounds and shot 1.000 (4-4) from the foul line.
Hoffart, who transferred to UCLA from Cal Poly-SLO in 2000, appeared in five games last season, including two Pac-10 contests. His best game last season as a senior was at USC (2/25), playing five quality minutes at the end of the first half (UCLA was in foul trouble), with one point and one rebound. In 2003-04, Hoffart averaged 3.0 minutes, 0.6 points and 0.2 rebounds.