- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. UCLA coach Ben Howland said that North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II will start at the point. “That’s going to happen,’’ said Howland. “He’s our most indispensable player.’’ Drew is getting a second chance at his college career after he was removed from the Tar Heels' starting lineup two years ago in favor of Kendall Marshall. Drew subsequently left the team in the middle of the ACC season. But he has won over the UCLA coaching staff and offered needed experience on the recent trip to China. The current eligibility issues surrounding Kyle Anderson make Drew’s role even more important. Anderson is considered an offensive possibility at the point, but is lacking on the defensive end.
2. Marquette sophomore Todd Mayo said the player who might have improved the most over the summer for the Golden Eagles is Vander Blue. “His jump shot,’’ said Mayo of what aspect of the junior guard's game has changed for the better. Meanwhile, Mayo shrugged off the firing of Marquette assistant Scott Monarch for an NCAA violation. “The team handled it pretty well,’’ said Mayo. “We’ve lost five coaches and Monarch is the last to go. We just looked at it as a business and there are consequences so we just keep moving forward.’’
3. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is incredibly positive about the upcoming season. Anderson said last Friday that the summer tour the Hogs went on was a huge success. He also promised that the Hogs are ready to embark on playing his fastest 40 minutes of basketball, a knockoff of the 40 minutes of hell made famous by Anderson's mentor, Nolan Richardson. The SEC needs Arkansas to be a program of record again. If Anderson's good feelings are indeed borne out, it will give the league the depth that it so sorely requires, especially with the addition of two more teams this season.