Say No Summer League: <br>Bruins on Display

Nine present and future Bruins were on display at the Say No Summer League this weekend, providing us a glimpse of Michael Fey, Dijon Thompson, Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo, walk-on DeAndre Robinson and more...

Nine present and future UCLA Bruins played in the Say No Summer League Sunday, seven on one team. Here are some stats and thoughts:

I should start out by saying that I've never seen any correlation between how a player performs in the summer league and how well they play in the regular season. Defense is also lax and players get a high percentage of zero footers, inflating field goal percentages and scoring averages. My estimated heights for players are based on the assumption that Dijon Thompson is 6-7.

In the first game of the day, Hank's Big Time defeated Hank's Team CTS, 88-74. Mike Fey plays for Hank's Big Time and Dijon Thompson plays for Hank's Team CTS.

Mike made 10-13 shots from the field and all 4 of his FTs and finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block. He has grown into his body and is now a huge young man, perhaps 6-11 or 7-0 and at least 260. He seemed to display better hands, a softer touch and a better sense on where he is on the floor in relation to the basket when posting up. He continues to play without a live body and his reactions to the ball both on defense and coming off the glass are not encouraging. He overpowered some very good 6-8 college post players today (Chris Davis and Dan Brown) and I suspect he will do the same this year from time to time. Whether he starts consistently will be determined by how improved he will be as a rebounder and defender.

Dijon was 8-17 from the floor, 1-3 from 3, and 2-3 from the FT line en route to 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Dijon also made 5 turnovers and continues to show the careless, nonchalant attitude when passing the ball which has infuriated many Bruins fans in the past. On the plus side, Dijon was aggressive going to the basket and on the boards playing his more natural forward position (he looked very uncomfortable last year when asked to play guard). He displayed a soft shooting touch and made some nasty one on one moves to free himself up for scores. Given the Bruins' depth in the backcourt for the upcoming season, playing guard shouldn't be a problem for Dijon this year. Dijon looks a little more built up than last season, maybe he weighs about 210 right now.

Later, the aptly named Sinclair's Bruins used 7 UCLA players to beat CABC 74-67. Basically, you have the 5 incoming Bruin freshmen playing with SR Janou Rubin and SO Matt McKinney.

Arron Aflalo, 6-3-1/2 190: Arron was 10-17 from the field and 4-5 from the line en route to 27 points (he made 1-2 from 3-point range). He also had 4 rebounds and an assist. Arron displayed a good shooting touch from both inside and outside, and used his strong body and athleticism well to post up and score on drives into the lane. He was active on defense and worked hard off the ball to help his teammates set him up to score. Arron did nothing to dispel the widely-held notion that he is an excellent young guard prospect and probably the best "2" guard prospect at UCLA since Shon Tarver and Toby Bailey (and maybe farther back than that).

Jordan Farmar, 6-1 170: Jordan hit 3-4 shots and made all 6 of his FTs as he registered 12 points, 3 rebounds and 8 assists. Jordan has been hampered by a gimpy ankle prior to today and this marked his summer debut. He displayed his fine playmaking skills and also his marked tendency to try and do too much and force plays as well, making 5 turnovers. His clever ballhandling skills and body control enabled him to score on drives despite a lack of muscle which put him back on his heels against some mature college players who were in the 5-10 range. He showed good defensive instincts and quick hands and of course is very unselfish. Jordan is a pure point guard not because he knows how to pass the ball, but because he knows how to attack a defense in such a way as to create a scoring opportunity for either himself or a teammate, whether it be off the first pass or the second. A highly-skilled player with all of the tools, but not a high-grade athlete.

Jordan and Arron comprise the best pair of Bruin guards to enter the program since Baron Davis and Earl Watson. Fans should be advised, however, that Jordan and Arron aren't Earl and Baron. However, their presence gives the Bruins incredible depth in the backcourt and UCLA should be able to play high pressure defense and offense from the backcourt slots for 40 minutes a game. Both player should see considerable time this season and then start as sophomores. Since both Ced Bozeman and Brian Morrison have histories of injuries, both freshmen could see starting assignments in the upcoming year.

Josh Shipp, 6-5 185: Josh had 7 points and 7 rebounds, hitting 3-9 of his shots. Josh was very active around the basket and made a number of good drives from the wing after receiving a pass from one of the guards. He was frequently out of position on defense, but has long arms and quick hands and could develop into a very good defender with the right coaching and effort. His shooting form on his outside shot has a Billy Knight style to it, more of a set shot, and he needs a little time to get it off, but he has deep range. Hopefully, he'll shoot a little like Billy as well.

Lorenzo Mata, 6-8 205: Lorenzo had 2 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. He did not display any actual skill, but he showed a very live, active body and great enthusiasm for crashing the boards and flinging himself around in the paint, making his defensive presence known. Looks like an eager young puppy (or dangerous bear cub) who's still finding his feet. Lorenzo should be a very interesting player after a couple seasons of college coaching and weight lifting.

Matt McKinney, 6-7-1/2 220: Matt had 4 points and 6 rebounds. He's really developed his body in the weight room and showed a physical, active style of play, especially on the defensive glass. He showed he can hit the 17-footer as well as post up inside. He also made some good passes from both the high and low post. He was probably the most pleasant surprise from the standpoint of productivity, but as I said there usually isn't any correlation between summer league play and the regular season. Otherwise, you'd figure Matt has a very good shot to see some backup minutes this year since he seems to display the prototypical skills of the "Ben Howland 4" as described by Tracy.

Janou Rubin, 6-2-1/2 190: Janou was 4-9 from the field on his way to 8 points and 5 assists. Janou gave the Bruins some solid minutes last year as a backup guard and he displayed a fine jump shot, good driving skills, good passing instincts, good defense and played very unselfishly here. I think he will have a hard time holding onto his minutes in the face of the freshmen onslaught.

DeAndre Robinson, 6-5 180: DeAundre had 2 points and 2 rebounds. He has pretty good shooting form on his jump shot and some ability to drive to the basket. He has long arms and good quickness and could be a fine defender when he learns the fundamentals and puts in the effort. Despite his size and skill, it's hard to see him playing much on a team which might have the deepest backcourt in the Pac-10.

Sinclair's Bruins next plays on July 3 at 6:30. Games are at West Los Angeles College, which is at Overland and Freshman Drive, just south of Jefferson.


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