This new feature -- the "Message Board News" -- will enable you to quickly get the lowdown on the latest news from the message boards!
I happened to stumble into a very interesting pick-up game in the Wooden Center this afternoon.
Eric Boateng, the 6-10 recruit on his official visit, was there and played, along with the entire UCLA team (minus Ryan Walcott and, of course, Trevor Ariza).
But also playing were Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo, Josh Shipp and Lorenzo Mata.
I don't want to get too deep into the details of the game, for various reasons I can't get into.
But suffice it to say that the incoming freshmen played very, very well. Farmar and Afflalo were very good, playing together like they have for years, passing well, and hitting almost every open jumper. Mata matched up physically well against the post players, particularly in rebounding. Shipp didn't have quite the impact of the other three, but he still had his moments.
The four of them just really know how to play -- and it makes such a difference.
Boateng actually played as their fifth, and he looked very good himself. He's about 6-10, somewhere between Mata and Michael Fey. He's still fairly skinny, and needs to improve his strength, and develop more offensively. He has a nice turn-around jumper and good offensive instincts in the post, but just needs more experience. He is nimble for his size, and has good hands. He's similar to the recruits in that he knows how to play. He also kept up with the torrid pace of how hard the recruits played -- and it was just a pick-up game. Boateng benefitted from some great Farmar assists.
The recruits matched up well against the veterans. Next year, the battles in practice will be glorious. You could see it starting to germinate today. Michael Fey probably looked the best among the veterans, scoring around the basket well and looking long defensively. -- Tracy Pierson
Good sources are indicating that Robert Rothbart, the 7-foot power forward who chose Indiana over UCLA Sunday is inquiring into his NBA draft status and could put his name in the NBA draft. -- Tracy Pierson
Kevin Harbour, the redshirt freshman defensive end who was projected to start next fall, has been diagnosed with a torn ACL in his knee. He'll undergo surgery sometime soon. An ACL is a serious injury and commonly takes a year to recover from, while UCLA is hoping he'd be able to play sometime next season.
With Harbour out, JC transfer Justin Hickman and redshirt freshman Bruce Davis took most of the reps at defensive end.
Sophomore center Robert Chai went down with a knee injury in the controlled scrimmage at practice Thursday. Head Coach Karl Dorrell thought Chai would be out for the spring, and that it was a re-aggravation of the injury he suffered previously. Chai couldn't walk and had to be carted off the field.
With center Mike McCloskey still out due to an inflammation of the lining of his lung, walk-on freshman Brian Rubinstein, who is 5-11 and 255, took the majority of the snaps at center. Paul Mociler also will be prepared to play center.
The news wasn't good for Joe Tomasello, the longsnapper/fullback, either. He reinjured his shoulder, the same one he had surgery on. More than likely Tomasello is done with football and will be moved to a medical scholarship.-- The BRO Staff
Whether UCLA has a scholarship under the 5/8 rule for Hairston might not matter. At least it doesn't seem to matter to many involved.
First, let's play it out if Malik Hairston holds to his schedule.
He trips to Oklahoma next Friday, the 23rd, and then Oregon. It's believed he won't take a mid-week visit, since his family emphasizes education and he's missed so much school due to all-star games. So, if he visits Oregon, it very well could be the weekend of the 30th. By the time he's done with these trips, has decided and wants to announce, it's probably the end of April. That's the earliest, in this scenario.
I'm just speculating, but I think the Hairstons found out that the signing period wasn't a week long, but a month long, and then realized they could take their time, and take the two other visits they were alloted. It very well could be May before we hear of Hairston's decision.
On the other hand, the vote for the 5/8 rule is April 28th.
But even so, I'm pretty certain that college coaches will know whether 5/8 will get overturned before the vote. In fact, some have already speculated that the memo Myles Brand sent to coaches recently about the 5/8 could be interpreted as veiled notification that the rule would be overturned. It's unlikely the outcome will be uncertain going into the vote. So, if Hairston does in fact commit earlier than his timetable indicates -- say the week of the 26th -- it could be around the time schools know that the 5/8 rule has been overturned.
But if Hairston does wait until May, it's almost certain that UCLA will know the outcome of the 5/8 vote before then.
Also, as a side note: Oklahoma, if they were to take Hairston, would also be over the 5/8 limitation. They took four recruits last season and currently have four committed. Hairston would make it nine in two years.
At this point, most schools are tentatively planning for the 5/8 rule to be overturned. If not, they'll take the commitments they need and, as I said, sort it out later.
Just speculating, but I don't think the Hairstons are too concerned about it all. I think they've been reassured by all the schools recruiting Hairston that they'll have a scholarship for him. -- Tracy Pierson
It's a misnomer that a college player is actually putting his name "into the draft."
What a college player is actually doing is making himself available to be drafted. And really, what most of them who do make themselves available are really doing is just checking their draft status.
This year, a college player has to declare by May 10th. And then, if he decides not to be drafted, he has to pull his name out by June 17th. The draft I believe is June 24th.
If he's drafted, he's lost his college eligibility.
If he does indeed keep his name eligible for the draft -- and doesn't get drafted -- he can still return to college.
So, most of the players make themselves available to find out their draft status. Most, if they're not satisfied with the feedback, will take their name out of consideration for the draft by the designated date. But if you take the risk, and keep yourself in consideration for the draft, probably the worst that can happen to you is that you get taken, say, as the last pick of the second round. That's the risk. If you think you're going to get drafted, you'd better hope it's at a significant level. Because if it's not significant enough for you to get a good contract and then you also lose your college eligibility also it's a lose-lose.
Now, another real problem is that most of the players get so over-enthused about making themselves available they stopped going to class -- even way before spring. So, even if they don't get drafted, they make it academically impossible for them to return. They essentially not only don't get drafted, but flunk out. That's probably why we haven't heard about too many college players who actually did put their names in the draft, weren't drafted, and then returned to school.-- Tracy Pierson
Junior wing Dijon Thompson will put test the NBA waters this spring.
UCLA's leading scorer a year ago announced he'll put his name into consideration for the NBA draft.
He has until June 17th to take his name out of consideration. The draft is June 24th.
Sources indicate that Thompson doesn't have a great chance to be drafted. He very well might not even be invited to the NBA draft camp in Chicago, which limits itself to about 60 invitees. -- The BRO Staff
I watched three games of Osaar Rasshan from last season over the weekend.
Rasshan is a nice-looking athlete, with a great body and good quickness for his size (he looks to be about 6-3).
The one problem, though, is that he plays on a team, Garey, who didn't throw the ball much. In fact, in one of the games I watched, there were only 5 passing plays the entire game, and on two of them, Rasshan got flushed out of the pocket and ran.
He threw more in another game, but never more than ten times in any of the three games I watched.
In those three games, he looks raw as a passer. His throwing motion is good, even though it can change a bit from throw to throw. In three games, he only threw the ball down the field five times, and two were touch passes, so it, again, is very difficult to judge from even three games, given Garey's offense. In those throws, he was rushed and didn't throw the ball well generally. He did, though, look like he had a good feel for throwing his routes, knowing when to put some touch on the ball. He also had a great instinct scrambling, and did so a couple of times for big gains.
It's really difficult to judge because of the Garey offense, but it looks like Rasshan is a very nice athlete with a good, basic feel for quarterback, and the physical tools, but is still very raw (at least at the time of these games). It wasn't only raw from a throwing standpoint, but from experience at the position. -- Tracy Pierson
Jordan Farmar, UCLA's committed point guard, sprained his ankle and didn't play in the Hoop Summit game Sunday. But he's still hobbling around stalking Malik Hairston. In fact, if you might have noticed at the beginning of the Hoop Summit telecast, Farmar and Hairston sat next to each other for the team picture.
It is obviously a definite sign that Hairston is coming to UCLA. -- The BRO Staff
Harvey Perry is a senior from Las Vegas, who will go to prep for a year and be part of the 2005 class.
He took an unofficial visit to UCLA last week.
From a talent perspective, he would be someone you'd have to watch.
I think there'd be some other questions about him. He has had some academic issues, and changed high schools four times in four years.
I would bet that Perry would be looking to make a commitment to the school of his choice before fall, and I would probably guess that UCLA wouldn't be prepared to offer him by then, wanting to see how he was going to do in prep school. And UCLA very well could have their rides filled by the time they'd be ready to offer him. So, IMO, it's not a very likely scenario.
I haven't seen Perry since last fall, and haven't seen Douglas-Roberts since last summer, so it's hard to rank them.
For many reasons, I think that Anthony Goods might be the best fit for UCLA.
Then Chalmers, and then Collison.
But if UCLA gets Hairston, UCLA very well could take three bigs for 2005. -- Tracy Pierson
UCLA's spring football practice begins April 7th. All practices will be open to the public. Here is the complete practice schedule (4:00 p.m. unless noted): April 7, April 8, April 9, April 12, April 13, April 15, April 17 (9:00 a.m.), April 19, April 20, April 22, April 23, April 26, April 28 (this is a change from the original announcement), April 30, May 1 (11:00 a.m.). The BRO Staff