Thursday, April 8, 2010
Basketball faces uncertain future
By Blair Angulo
Three weeks ago, we projected next season's basketball depth chart. Well, so much for projections.
Sophomore center J'mison Morgan was dismissed from the program and freshman guard Mike Moser announced his decision to transfer. On top of that, freshman forward Brendan Lane is slated to be out five months while recovering from left ankle surgery. All three weren't necessarily slated to be starters on next year's squad, but each case affects UCLA.
Morgan was a potential backup for incoming freshman center Josh Smith. Moser was a versatile guard who could play the two or the three. Lane will be back in time for the season, but missing the summer could be disastrous for a player looking to add bulk and improve in the post.
That only leaves Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, Tyler Honeycutt, Reeves Nelson and Anthony Stover on the current active roster -- not a good sign for a program looking to bounce back from a rough season.
Moser's announcement should not come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the Portland, Ore. native played a total of only 70 minutes this past season. And that was on a bad, bad team.
During postgame conferences with reporters, coach Ben Howland often complained about the lack of depth and the immense amount of minutes Lee and fellow guard Michael Roll were playing. Roll and Lee led the team with an average of 36 and 35 minutes played per game, respectively.
Moser, meanwhile, spent his time sitting on the bench. His decision to leave can't really be questioned.
"The way the season worked out for me this year, I feel it is necessary for me personally, to make a move somewhere else so I can play," Moser said in a statement released by the school. "I have enjoyed my time here at UCLA and have built great relationships with my coaches and teammates."
But what kind of relationships are brewing on the current roster? The two transfers plus Drew Gordon's departure early last season make three for Howland this past year. Assistant coach Donny Daniels left the program too (for the same position at Gonzaga).
There may be more on the way. According to ESPN Insider, Lee is a projected late-first round pick in the NBA Draft.
What awaits around the corner? Stay tuned...