First Glimpse at Basketball Practice

The media was allowed to watch practice for the first time this season Wednesday, so here's our quick rundown on the 2008-2009 Bruins. It's just our first glance, but it's clear that one of the freshmen is going to star on this team...

The media, and some season ticket holders, got their first glimpse of the 2008-2009 Bruins at practice in Pauley Pavilion Wednesday.

Head Coach Ben Howland obliged with a limited amount of individual drills and more team drills.

Freshman guard Malcolm Lee sat out practice with a strained groin. He should return by Friday. Lee did spend time on the side of practice shooting and didn't look too inhibited by the injury.

Nikola Dragovic, after practicing two days last week, is back in a boot for his injured foot.

If you want to hear more about the injuries, watch the video interview of Coach Howland after practice.

Also in the interview Howland said that, if the team were to play a game today, the starting lineup would consist of Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, Josh Shipp, James Keefe and Alfred Aboya.

Wednesday's session was made up mostly of Howland taking the team through some offensive sets and the zone offense, and on defense doubling the post.

On one team was Jerime Anderson, Mike Roll, James Keefe, Josh Shipp and J'mison Morgan.

The other was Drew Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Alfred Aboya, Darren Collison and Mustafa Abdul-Hamid.

Hopefully it won't cause dissension or resentment, but it's clear the best player on the team is Jrue Holiday. He was effortless in his play, being able to drive with each hand, knocking down shots from all over the court, passing the ball well, while also being very team-oriented. Perhaps, even, too team-oriented.

Collison was good – showing that he has retained his quickness despite getting physically bigger, finding seams in the defense to exploit.

Mike Roll had a very good day, not only draining shots, but passing the ball very well, being particularly good on entry passes to the post, while looking quicker on defense.

James Keefe was good on the glass, and showed a capability of being more physical inside, with a couple of nice conversions in the block.

Josh Shipp's body is the best it's ever been. He seemed out of sync shooting, and hesitant to take his shot at times, while also was looking to penetrate quite a bit.

Jerime Anderson made some mistakes, and Howland rode him for jumping to pass. But Anderson was very good throughout practice, with great vision and passing ability. He perhaps will rival Roll as the best post entry passer on the team.

The most encouraging for Aboya was how he looked confident in knocking down a couple of turnaround jump hooks in the paint.

Morgan looks all of 6-10, with a great, wide frame. He also showed a couple of nice baseline jump hooks, played good post defense and rebounded well.

Gordon was active around the basket, getting some good rebounds, and hit an open 12-footer, but then missed a few. Like we thought he would, Gordon brings a lot of energy to the floor.

Even though we didn't get to see him, we've heard that Lee has been exceptional in practice so far, showing an uncanny quickness for his size and shooting the ball very well.

We'll have some video of the practice up on the site by Friday.

Thursday is Pac-10 Media Day so we'll have coverage of the event.


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