Bruin Backcourt

The starting backcourt for the 2002-2003 UCLA basketball team is likely to include <b>Ray Young</b>, a redshirt senior shooting guard, and <b>Cedric Bozeman</b>, a sophomore point guard. BRO caught up with both players last week at Basketball Media Day...

Ray Young (6-4, 210) returns to the active roster after spending last season redshirting. He is the last player from UCLA's top-rated recruiting class of 1998 that also included Dan Gadzuric, Jerome Moiso, Matt Barnes and JaRon Rush. As the elder statesman and team captain of the Bruins, Young is expected to provide plenty of leadership, experience and defensive intensity to this young Bruin team.

Since he hasn't played in a UCLA game for the past 20 months, is he ready to get back on the court in a UCLA uniform? "Definitely," Young said. "I mean you're a basketball player and you want to be out there and play basketball games," Young said.

When asked just how tough it was sitting and watching the team play last season, Young said, "You don't want to be just practicing all year, but at the same time you have to make it a positive experience, which I think I did. I took full advantage of practicing and working out and things like that. I am just trying to bring that same attitude in to this year. Now I finally get to show it off in real games."

Young kept busy playing pick-up games, especially through this past summer and into fall, and used the opportunity to concentrate on a number of areas of his game. "I worked on a little bit of everything. I think my shot is a lot more consistent. That will be one noticeable thing. But otherwise I just wanted to come in in shape and the right mindset."

He is looking forward to playing once again in front of the fans as well. "When I get back on the floor I want people to remember my energy and defensive presence. If there is one thing I worked on it was the consistency of my shot, and I'm sure they will see that."

Young has set one particular goal for himself. "I have been here going on my fifth year now, and I haven't won a Pac-10 ring. That is something I would like to share with (Jason) Kapono being a senior, and also with the incoming guys, the younger guys. That's the bottom line; winning the Pac-10 title, win us some games. The individual stats and stuff will take care of themselves."

Bozeman is coming off an injury-filled freshman year. He missed seven games due to knee surgery after starting the first four games of the season. He came back and started 18 of the final 19 games of the season. The jump from high school straight into the starting line-up wasn't an easy one. Bozeman fought through the transition and has worked hard in the off-season, determined to pick up his game as a sophomore.

Most of Bozeman's summer was spent in the weight room. He has noticeably put on some muscl,e displaying much better definition in his shoulders and arms. "I worked out a lot to put on more strength for this year, and it has really helped me out a lot with my shot," Bozeman said.

He also spent plenty of time on the court. "I really tried to pick up the consistency with my jump shot. I played a lot of pick-up games playing with my teammates, and I think we have jelled pretty good. We're young, but I think we know each other pretty well and the chemistry is great."

When asked if a starting line-up has been put in place yet, Bozeman said, "He (head coach Steve Lavin) really hasn't talked much about it. We'll see once practice starts, but you get a feeling for who is going to be out there when the ball is tipped."

While Young has sets some goals, Bozeman wants to hold off committing to any. "No, I don't have any goals right now. Just let them come. Whatever goals are there just let them come, and I will be able to reveal them later."

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