Quotes from Various Bruins

We spoke with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Lorenzo Mata, Alfred Aboya and Kevin Love this week about many things, including how practice is going, the increase in physical play, how the team is blending on and off the court, and more...

Alfred Aboya...

On how he has improved:

"I have. I think this year I'm a better shooter. During the summer I worked on my ball-handling and my shooting, so I think I've improved in those two areas."

On whether he's improved facing the basket or with his back to the basket:

"Facing the basket mostly. Back to the basket I didn't work on as much but I still think I got better, though."

Lorenzo Mata-Real...

On the benefits of physical play in practice:

"Well, with me, Alfred Aboya and Kevin Love banging each other out there, trying to push each other in practice, it gives us the opportunity to know how to play physically and get ourselves better. If we make ourselves better and more physical, it makes the whole team better."

On Love adding to the physicality of practice:

"He's definitely a great addition to our team. He's another big body that we need. Battling each other in practice all the time is good. He punches me a little bit and I punch him back. It's just great for both of us and makes both of us better."

On him being fresher than the rest of the team since he missed the first five practices:

"Well, they should be in better shape than me because they were in those practices, so I don't think so. I don't feel fresher than them. For one thing, I was in re-hab, and re-hab is hard, too. I guess it all evens out. Right now, I'm not in great shape so it makes it easier for them to beat up on me."

On what it's like to be a freshman in Howland's program:

"When I was a freshman I didn't know what to expect. I came her from playing in high school against little kids and then playing grown men. It was a huge transition. But Kevin's doing well. He's adjusting to it pretty well. He's had no problem with it."

On what has impressed him most about Love:

"How hard he works. He never stops working. When he missed that practice, he said he never missed a practice in high school and didn't want to be inactive. Instead of just sitting and watching practice, he did a swim workout. He just keeps working, no matter if it's a day off or not."

On his ankle (which was being iced at the time):

"It's good. It's a little sore, but it's getting better every day. (He then pointed at his knee being iced) That's the old tendonitis. (Points at the ice pack on the shoulder). That's a little sore from going up and battling for rebounds."

Luc Mbah a Moute...

On getting flattened by taking a charge from Alfred Aboya in practice:

"Yeah, it hurt, but I had no choice."

On anyone else in the Pac-10 being able to be that physical against him:

"I think so. We have a lot of big guys in the Pac-10. I hope it won't be as painful."

On whether practice is more physical than in years past:

"Yeah, I think so. You put Kevin in there, and with Lorenzo back, and then once we get James Keefe back, too. It's as physical as it's been since I've been here. Hopefully it will help us because I think the Pac-10 is going to be a very physical league."

Do you have to be more physical? You won the Pac-10 last year?

"The Pac-10 is going to be three times more physical. Maybe ten times. The Pac-10 is a lot better than it was two years ago and last year. So we have to be a lot better, a lot more physical."

On whether his knees feel better now than they did to start last season:

"They definitely do. They feel a lot better. I definitely don't have the knee pain that I did."

On whether he's quicker now:

"No. Actually I think I'm a little slower right now. I need to work on my quickness."

On whether Love fits in with the team off the court:

"He's always with the team. Everyone gets along really well. Most of the players they recruit here are kind of alike. So everybody ends up liking each other, and we all hang out."

Kevin Love...

On getting injured weight-lifting...

"I squatted a lot today, and that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do before practice."

On where he is on his defense:

"On defense, I have to learn a lot. We didn't do a lot of the hedging in high school. It's just another thing I have to adjust to. With the hedges, I have to stop worrying about my man, going back to my man, and stepping out and hedging, and then turning to my guy."

On what the biggest transition from high school to college:

"The defense. The hedging, all of the little things Coach Howland has me doing. The spacing on the back cuts. I didn't know in college you had to allow them two steps or a step. It's all just the little things that we can look over on film. I can adjust to the speed and the physicality."

On whether Howland demands precision:

"Absolutely. And I think he should. I'm a perfectionist. I'm my biggest critic, so I demand a lot out of myself as well."

On whether he likes it that the rest of the team isn't taking it easy on him, and treating him like anyone else:

"It has to be this way. I think that adds to the chemistry of the team. There are going to be points in this when we're going to be down and we have to pick ourselves up, and that's not going to happen if we're arrogant or have a big head. These are very team- and family-oriented guys. We're going to go far with that."

On looking at the non-conference schedule, and looking forward to playing teams like Yale:

"That's funny you should say that because my coach on my high school team, Chris Dudley, is going to be at that game. So I am looking forward to that. George Washington will be a good game, the 28th of November. Then we play Texas December 2nd, which is four days later, so that will be good game as well. Those are some of the games I'm looking forward to. That's just going to make us better in the long run and prepare us for the conference."

On getting recognized around campus:

"I can't go under the radar. I'm 6-9. Darren Collison is 6-1, 6-2, so he can go under the radar a little bit. I get noticed fairly well because of my size. People will wave and say, 'Hey, Kevin Love, how are you doing?' I enjoy walking around campus. if I get stopped I'm gracious to them and treat them the way I want to be treated."

On seeing Kevin Love jerseys around campus:

"I was in the Men's Gym and saw a #42 UCLA jersey. And I asked the guy, 'Is that a Walt Hazzard jersey?' And he said, "No, man, it's a Kevin Love jersey.'  It's a great number to have here. I feel privileged to wear it."

On talking to Coach Wooden:

"I talked to Coach Wooden a lot. I haven't talked to him in a while. He was supposed to come to practice today but he couldn't. I call him, and I've actually been to his apartment. Where his mail comes in, it's full. He gets so much mail. And his apartment is so filled with stuff, but it's all put together very nicely. He's an Abraham Lincoln freak, too. He'll recite poetry to you when you're there. The thing I like about him the best is, when you're having a bad day or a bad practice, you can talk to him and he'll always be optimistic. He never has anything bad to say. And even if something is negative, he'll always pick you right up."

On how big of an influence Coach Wooden was on Love coming to UCLA:

"It was huge. Coach Howland actually had me sit down with him in June of last year, prior to when I committed in July. I got to sit down with him for an hour and a half. A few weeks prior to that, when I was in North Carolina, I also got to talk to Dean Smith. But who in the coaching world compares to Coach Wooden? So it was huge in my decision. He talked to me about Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor."

On whether his dad suggested he talk to Coach Wooden:

"Absolutely. But my dad, he's funny about that. He's all, 'I didn't have the grades to come to UCLA, but Coach Wooden did recruit me.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, whatever, Dad.'"

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