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Not only has it been apparent to fans that Karl Dorrell has been more animated, but the players are noticing it.
Many of the players have commented that they've noticed Dorrell is not only more animated but showing more emotion.
And it's funny because, since Dorrell has a rep as being a guy who doesn't show much emotion, the players have said that when he does show emotion it really has an impact on them.
And it's not only jumping-up-and-down emotion. Dorrell, apparently, was pretty choked up when he addressed the team after the Oregon game. And from what I've heard, those genuine feelings really had an impact on many players.
Matt McKinney, the sophomore power forward practiced Friday and Saturday.
He sprained his ankle last week and sat out the second exhibiton game.
He's wearing a brace on the ankle, but is expected to play Saturday in the season opener against Chicago State.
UCLA head coach Ben Howland on Monday announced UCLA's fourth and fifth National-Letter-of-Intent (NLI) signees - 6-8, 242-pound Alfred Aboya (Tilton Prep Academy/Tilton, NH) and 6-7, 215-pound Luc Richard Mbaha Moute (Montverde Academy/Montverde, FL). Both players, who will be freshmen at UCLA next fall, are from the African republic of Cameroon* and attending high school in the U. S.
Rated the No. 18 center in the U. S. by Athlon, Aboya's other preseason honors include - Street & Smith's High Honorable Mention All-American, Lindy's No. 89 player in the U. S., The Sporting News' No. 91, Scout.com No. 92 and Basketball News' No. 100.
As a junior in 2004, Aboya led Tilton Prep Academy to the New Hampshire Class B State title. He averaged 22.0 points and 12.0 rebounds as an inside player for coach Scott Willard. From the African republic of Cameroon, he has played for the Cameroon National team. "I'm very pleased with Alfred's commitment," said Howland. "He was the last of our five commitments. He's a very gifted athlete at 6-8 and 242-pounds. He's tough, physical and athletic. As he continues to develop, he's going to be a very good player."
Luc Richard Mbaha Moute
A good rebounder and defender with exceptional quickness, Mbaha Moute is a Street & Smith's Honorable Mention All-American, a Scout.com Top 150 and rated the No. 15 prospect in Florida by FloridaHoops.com Last summer, Mbaha Moute improved his perimeter play and he can play either guard position or small forward.
As a junior honor roll student in 2004 at the Montverde Academy, he averaged 12.0 points a game for coach Kevin Sutton.
Mbaha Moute, who came to the U. S. last season from the African republic of Cameroon, is slated to be a prince in his village after he graduates from UCLA.
"At 6-7, Luc has a long wing span and he is very athletic," Howland said. "He has good ball handling skills, can pass and shoot the basketball. He has a chance to be an outstanding defender, who could guard three positions -the point, off-guard and wing. He's extremely versatile."
Aboya and Mbaha Moute join UCLA's first three NLI signees, announced last week - 6-0, 165-pound point guard Darren Collison (Etiwanda HS/Rancho Cucamonga, CA); 6-5, 195-pound guard/forward Michael Roll (Aliso Niguel HS/Aliso Viejo, CA) and 6-9, 225-pound center/forward Ryan Wright (Loyola Catholic HS/Mississauga, Ontario, Canada). "I am happy with this year's class," said Howland. "I think we filled our team's needs with quality players, as well as outstanding young men who will be joining our program."
Cameroon Facts* (compiled by Bruce Tenen) Cameroon is located in west Africa, just south of Nigeria and has a population estimate of 16 million. The principal languages are English and French. Cameroon is slightly larger than California and its capital city is Yaounde. President Paul Biya has ruled the republic for over 20 years. Industries include oil production and aluminum processing and the main crops are cocoa, coffee and cotton.
Ben Olson visited practice tonight.
Olson was on campus for about a total of four hours. He met with Head Coach Karl Dorrell before practice and spent some time taking with offensive coordinator Tom Cable. He then walked off the field after practice with Drew Olson.
Also: Center Mike McCloskey practiced. Ed Blanton ran but didn't practice. Jarrad Page is in a boot, injuring his foot on Tuesday. He's expected to practice tomorrow. Maurice Drew did not practice, but he and the coaches were a little more hopeful about his ankle today. 11/11
Matt McKinney sprained his right ankle in practice Tuesday.
The x-rays were negative.
It's not serious, but he's doubtful for the exhibition game Thursday night.
Also, in regard to the two outstanding National Letters of Intent from Luc Richard Mbah A Moute and Alfred Aboya:
I think it's more a matter that the NLIs have to also be signed by the parents in Cameroon, and that is a bit more involved and taking a little more time.
I would suspect they'll be finalized in the next couple of days.
I was with a friend at the pickup games when Wright, Aboya and Luc were on their official visits. After watching for about five minutes, I told him, "I don't know how good these guys will be but, for the first time in awhile, you look out at the floor and see a bunch of guys with the bodies/athleticism you expect at UCLA."
While this class might not have any one surefire star, I think the class will bring a huge upgrade in athleticism. As talented as some of them might be, the current UCLA squad is not filled with quick or explosive athletes. Next year, Collison will be their quickest guard, Luc their most explosive wing and Wright/Aboya their most athletic power forwards. That's not to say they'll play over any of the returning players, but they bring some physical attributes that are lacking right now. -- Greg Hicks
UCLA has just started to get interested in junior point guard Curtis Eatmon. It's in its early stages.
What I'm going to write here I was saving mostly for a recruiting update after Alfred Aboya decided. But heck, he's taking a bit too long.
And by the way, Aboya should be deciding soon (Shock, huh? Since signing day is Wednesday).
But in regard to scholarships for 2006, you never really know how many scholarships you're going to have available months from now. I mean, look what happened with Bozeman.
But it's absolutely certain UCLA will have at least three available for the class of 2006. The uncertainty would be if more become available. The one big uncertainty would be Alfred Aboya. If he decides on UCLA, the Bruins have three. If he decides to go to Georgetown, they'd have four.
But then again, that could change in spring, if UCLA decides to take someone for the class of 2005 then. There are always rumors of transfers, and sometimes high school players that are late bloomers.
So, we really don't know.
But I do think recruiting for the class of 2006 is going to be quite a bit different than it was for 2005. There are many prospects that are available in the west, that have academics, that UCLA is extremely interested in, that they have a very good chance with or are leading for. That's a complete departure from 2005.
And, tthey might only have three rides available.
So, if I had to project, I'd say that the rides are going to be in high demand and will probably go fast, with these players actually thinking that they'd better snap up that UCLA offer soon or it's not going to be there.
As we've said, I think James Keefe, the 6-9 power forward from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita, is getting closer to possibly committing.
So, if UCLA only has three to give, that would leave two more. And it would be the first to jump on board among Deane, Stepheson, Hawes, Hall and Budinger. I think if they only have three total to give (as a result of getting Aboya), two of those rides would go to bigs and one to a wing, so I think one of them would be ear-marked for Budinger. So, then you have Deane, Hawes, Stepheson and Hall. I think UCLA is by far the biggest longshot with Hawes, and he's not going to make a decision soon anyway.
So, by process of elimination, it comes down to Deane, Stepheson or Hall. If you get Wright, Aboya and Keefe (who can move over and play the three, too), I think you need more of a true center type, and that would be Hall primarily, but Stepheson can also easily play the five. Deane would be limited to playing the four, in my opinion. So, I'd like to see UCLA focus some concerted effort into getting Hall to jump on the bandwagon early, or Stepheson.
But I think the process for recruiting the class of 2006 will be quite a bit less stressful than it was for 2005.
In regards to Andreas Schreiber, it's going to be interesting. While you think he'd probably even want to walk on to UCLA, given his ties to Howland, I've heard that it's no way certain that he wants to go to UCLA. If he shows that he's a legitimate high major prospect this season and next summer and, say, Stanford offers him, he very well could go to Stanford, from what I've heard.
Shawn Oatis, S, Chino, Committed
Aleksey Lani, OL, Crenshaw, Committed
Chinonso Anyanwu, DE, Crenshaw, Committed
Reggie Carter, LB, Crenshaw, Committed
Osaar Rasshan, QB, Gary, Committed
Logan Paulsen, DE/TE, Chaminade
Andrew Ramer, DL/OL, Chaparral
George Hypolite, FB, Loyola
Travis Smith, DB, Jefferson
Chase Moline, DL, Mission Viejo
Chane Moline, FB, Mission Viejo
Michael Herrick, QB, Valencia
Spender Paysinger, WR, Beverly Hills
Sonny Tevaga, OL, La Mirada