Who Will Stay and Who Will Go?

Good sources are indicating to us which way many of the Bruins are leaning in terms of going to the NBA, testing the NBA waters, or leaving the program altogether. UCLA could lose anywhere from one or two to possibly upwards of six or seven players next season...

As we've maintained for quite a while, freshman Kevin Love intends to go to the NBA, according to many good sources.

According to some NBA sources, Love projects to be taken anywhere from 7 to 14 in the NBA Draft this spring.

It's been known that it was the plan of the Love family for Kevin to be a one-and-done college player for some time.

It's also known around the program that junior point guard Darren Collison has fully intended to jump to the NBA after this season for the last year. Collison perhaps hurt his draft status with his performance against Memphis' Derrick Rose in the semi-final game Saturday, but it's still believed he fully intends to leave.

Also, sophomore guard Russell Westbrook, at this time, intends to leave for the NBA, according to good sources. Westbrook is projected by NBA scouts as a late first-round pick. NBA scouts believe he needs to improve his shooting, ball-handing and feel for the game to be an NBA point guard, which is the position he projects to on the next level. If he did, it's thought he could be a lottery pick by next season. But the word is that Westbrook believes he's ready to make the jump after this season.

Westbrook's departure could be the most devastating in terms of next season, since it's been expected that Love and Collison would leave and that Westbrook would return.

In addition, we've heard from good sources that junior Josh Shipp and junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute intend to put their name into the NBA Draft. We've heard that Shipp, even if he isn't drafted by the NBA, could still leave after this season and try to play professionally overseas.

Of course, it's one thing to put your name into the draft, and another to actually keep your name in the draft. Most NBA scouting experts believe, at this time, Shipp and Mbah a Moute would not be taken in the draft or be a low second-round pick. Things can obviously change, and sometimes don't always go logically. A player can improve or hurt his draft stock with workouts in the spring, or a player can keep his name in the draft and leave his college program without a strong indication that he'd get drafted.

College players can put their name in the NBA Draft and test the waters, and then return to their college team as long as they don't hire an agent.

Also, we've heard that it's a very real possibility that Alfred Aboya leaves the program. We reported it earlier in the season, and it was dismissed, but again we've heard that Aboya, who completes his degree this year, could very well leave to pursue graduate studies elsewhere or play basketball overseas. What Mbah a Moute does could impact Aboya's decision, since the two Cameroonians are close. Aboya, though, could still leave the program if Mbah a Moute returns.

We're also hearing that there is a definitely possibility that Nikola Dragovic could return to his native Serbia to play professionally, but there is some pressure on him to complete his education at UCLA.

Again, many things can change between now and June, after the NBA workouts and as a result of other developments. But, according to many good sources, this is how it is as of now.

If everyone returned to UCLA next season, UCLA would be one over the NCAA-allowed 13 scholarships. If, say, Love, Collison and Westbrook left, UCLA would then have two scholarships available for the 2008-2009 season.


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