Russell Westbrook just helped the Oklahoma City Thunder power past the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Playoffs to make it to the Western Conference Finals.
Westbrook, the 6-3 point guard from UCLA and Los Angeles (Calif.) Leuzinger, has become one of the best basketball players on the planet.
It's always fun, then, to see someone of Westbrook's stature when he was just a little pup. Here's some vintage Bruin Report Online footage from the summer of 2006. Westbrook was 17 years old, had just graduated from Leuzinger and committed to UCLA, and was participating in UCLA's summer camp. He was probably 6-1 at the time, and 160 pounds, and was really a tweener between point guard and shooting guard. He is #57 in the video.
Also in the footage is Jrue Holiday, the former Bruin who was a rising senior at North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall at the time of this footage, and currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday is #59.
Westbrook was a fairly under-recruited prospect (even though we here at BRO were very high on him, obviously). He had offers from the likes of New Mexico and San Diego until the spring of his senior year. but then-UCLA assistant coach Kerry Keating had been recruiting the late-blooming Westbrook. When it appeared that UCLA freshman point guard Jordan Farmar could leave for the NBA, Keating convinced then-UCLA coach Ben Howland to take a risk on Westbrook and offer him a scholarship. He picked UCLA over Arizona State, Miami, Wake Forest and San Diego.
In the video, you can hear Howland a few times, one time saying, "Nice pass, Russell."
If the above video doesn't work for you, try this version:null