Howland Conference Call

Coach Ben Howland talked about the rash of injuries in practice, the battle for the starting shooting guard spot and more...

Q: Can you talk about going up against Fullerton tomorrow and what you hope to get out of that?

A: Yeah, it's always good to play against someone different. We've had twelve practices now, and we've still got a lot of work to do. I think our players are excited about playing someone else. And we're also playing down at the Sports Arena for the first time, so they'll get used to the setting they're going to be playing in.

Q: Have you had a chance to go see what the Sports Arena looks like?

A: No, in fact, I did meet with Ken Weiner today, who's in charge of facilities here at UCLA, and there's still a lot of work to be done before the 11th comes around. For example, they're painting the arena, they're installing the carpet in our locker room. We don't even have a scoreboard up yet. That goes in on November 7th, and then we open up on the 11th. We've got portable baskets in there now, but we're getting new portable baskets before we play our first game. They're still a lot of stuff to be done to it, but they've already painted the inside of it. I noticed that because I was watching the news and I saw the free health clinic they have for people in the Sports Arena last weekend for a few days.

Q: Will the floor look like Pauley's floor?

A: No.

Q: What will be on it?

Ryan Finney (UCLA Sports SID): If I'm not mistaken, Ben, I think it's the same floor we used in the Pac-12 tournament.

Q: What's the logo going to be at midcourt?

A: You know, I honestly don't know. Ryan Finney's…scoot up Ryan…

Ryan Finney: I believe it's the Sparks floor but I do believe we are also repainting it. I'll find out.

Q: Why the closed scrimmage against Fullerton instead of an open scrimmage against a D-II team?

A: Normally we would do that if we were playing at home because we're practicing there on campus. This may be something we continue to do in the future, because playing against a Division I team with Division I athletes is a good thing.

Q: How‘s practice going? Any injuries?

A: Well, Anthony Stover, after being out for a week with a concussion, today, I was just watching the film, subluxed his left shoulder and he will be getting imaging studies done tomorrow. And then hopefully we'll know more here in the next 48 hours. But he's going to be out for some time, a couple weeks maybe. We'll see. It's really lousy luck for him to just be coming back and then boom get hurt again. De'End Parker is still out with his concussion that he sustained Saturday at the scrimmage. And he's doing a lot better today. He had a pretty severe concussion that affected him in terms of sensitivity to light and sound. He missed a midterm. Today's the first day he felt better since Saturday. He's actually feeling a lot better. He was at practice today for the first time, sat there and watched practice. I'm hopeful that we'll have him back somewhere towards the beginning to middle of next week. There's a whole protocol, he's got to go through a bunch of steps before he'll be cleared to play again.

Q: Is there any concern about this rash of concussions? Is it just a freak thing?

A: Yeah, I mean it really is. Norman (Powell) got an elbow on the head in individual workouts before we started practice. Stover's head was hit by someone else's head and De'End's concussion was driving and he down really low and just kind of ran into an elbow. All just odd.

Q: How are the battles at the 2 and 3 shaping up?

A: Tyler Lamb has played well for the most part. He's done a good job. Norman Powell is working really hard. He's going through the freshman learning curve. There's a lot of different levels of learning. He's really helped us in practice because he gives us another very good player to go against, to compete against every day. He's actually done a really nice job for us. Zeke's really competing and doing a really good job for us. So those guys on the perimeter, and then the three spot, De'End and Dave Wear are playing the minutes there. When Dave's not at the three, we're going to be playing three guards until De'End gets back.

Q: And then Travis is playing exclusively at the four?

A: 4 and 5, he's played both. He's been playing very well.

Q: Where would you say you are compared to this time last year? It seems like you might have a touch more experience.

A: I don't know. We improved throughout the year last year. We're still pretty green right now, but the tough part is just staying healthy. Brendan Lane, by the way, he wasn't at practice today. He had a procedure where they did an endoscopy to check his stomach out. He's been having some problems, some stomach issues. Bennett Roth, who's the chair of the Gastroenterology department, did the procedure today and that came back normal.

Q: Will he be back tomorrow?

A: Probably tomorrow, yeah.

Q: What time does the scrimmage start?

A: It's gonna start around 4 o'clock, maybe a little bit before.

Q: Will it be two 20 minute halves?

A: Yeah. We're going to do two 20 minute halves. They're really banged up, they've got a couple of key guys out for them. Omondi Amoke, who's the Cal transfer, hurt his shoulder in practice and won't be playing tomorrow. And then D.J. Seeley, who actually played at the same high school as Reeves his senior year, clipped his knee and I'm not sure what his status is for tomorrow.

Q: Are you bringing Zeke with you to media day on Friday?

A: Yep.

Q: What do you expect out of him this year?

A: He's really had a great offseason, worked really hard at his game. He's really done a good job trying to lead us. I'm excited about that.

Q: How's Josh Smith looking thus far?

A: Josh is coming along. He still needs to get better and better conditioned as we progress forward, but part of the problem with that is we don't even practice on a college length court up here in the men's gym. We're practicing on a high school length court, and so tomorrow playing on a normal court is going to be good for our guys as well.

Q: Is this a good dress rehearsal as far as getting the kinks out at the Sports Arena as far as things you might want to fix?

A: I don't know that. I'm going out for the first time to see it since the last time we played in there. And that was in 2006.

Q: Are you going to be consciously aware of the environment and maybe notice something you might want to tweak?

A: I'm not really. It is what it is. It's going to be fine. We're in there for twelve games. I just looked to see today, I went to the training room to check on Anthony Stover and they've already got the glass going up outside of Pauley in that corner across from the Acosta Center. I'm more focused on what's happening here on our campus in terms of facilities than worried about the Sports Arena. We'll be in there for 12 games. What I'm going to try to do, Ben, is reach out to our fans and our fan base, especially our students. They're providing busing to go down, free buses, or at least I think it's free, for the students. And then they're charging a nominal fee for people from Jackie Robinson Stadium, for the normal fans that aren't students so they can be bused out and bused back if they want to leave their cars over there. So I think the Athletic Department is really doing everything they can to try to help people get to those games and support our team.

Q: Will they keep stats at the scrimmage?

A: We'll keep stats. Our managers will. There's going to be no one there except for trainers, managers and squads. We can't even have our SID's there.

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