UCLA: Jordan Farmar

Past stars appear at L.A. Hoop-A-Thon

August, 28, 2010
UCLA men's basketball coach Ben Howland hosted the second annual HDSA LA Hoop-A-Thon inside Pauley Pavilion on Friday night, with many former players stopping by to promote the awareness of Huntington's Disease.

HD is a genetic disorder that causes uncontrollable body movements and deprives people of their abilities to walk, talk, eat and think rationally. Howland's father-in-law passed away from the disease six years ago.

More information on the disease can be found by clicking here.

Recent Bruins Arron Afflalo (Denver Nuggets), Trevor Ariza (New Orleans Hornets), Darren Collison (Indiana Pacers), Jordan Farmar (New Jersey Nets), Ryan Hollins (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee Bucks) attended the event.

What has gone wrong with UCLA basketball?

March, 10, 2010
If there's a bright side to UCLA's disastrous 13-17 season, it's that UCLA fans don't need to worry about anyone leaving early for the NBA.

For now, at least.

But the fact that not one player is even thinking about jumping to the league is a cause for concern. It's a pick-your-poison situation, really. Needless to say, coach Ben Howland has missed on some players, or else there would be some rumbling about possible early exits.

UCLA fans were spoiled with guards Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook making Final Four runs. Jerime Anderson, the guy who was supposed to be next in line, has not shown any resemblance to them.

In order for the Bruins to stay atop the Pacific 10 Conference, Anderson had to take over for Collison -- just as Collison did for Farmar and Westbrook did for Afflalo. But Anderson has underperformed, losing his starting spot earlier this season. The sophomore was so bad that Howland was forced to move Malcolm Lee from the off guard position to a ball-handling role.

Lee has struggled there too, at times too sped up to think. His decision-making has been spotty at best. Lee has committed a team-high 82 turnovers. Anderson has 62 while averaging 10 minutes less.

On offense, Anderson is as reluctant with the ball as Farmar, Collison and Westbrook are assertive in the NBA. Granted, the three former players were also restricted by Howland's limit-the-possessions philosophy (let's just say guards dribble more than they drive). But unlike Anderson, the preceding guards showed glimpses of greatness when the clock was winding down and they had the ball in their hands.

Anderson has not.

Howland's misjudgments are not limited to the back court. Six-foot-10 center J'mison Morgan, a former five-star prospect who had conditioning problems coming in, was supposed to be thrive in Howland's methodical and slow-paced offense. Instead, Morgan has seen the kind of minutes that are more appropriately suited for walk-ons.

Morgan is adequate with his back to the basket and can block shots when he finds a defensive rhythm. That's really all we can draw from his two seasons in Westwood. Many expected Morgan to be great (i.e. Kevin Love), but he doesn't rebound with the aggressiveness of No. 42.

If you're seeking an explanation for UCLA's fifth-place finish in the conference, look no further than the Bruins' bench, where Anderson and Morgan have become staples.

(Read full post)

Former UCLA guard Collison nets career-high

March, 8, 2010
In case you missed it, former UCLA standout point guard Darren Collison dished out a career-high 20 assists in the New Orleans Hornets' 135-131 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Collison's rookie season has taken off since New Orleans' all-star leader Chris Paul was sidelined with a knee injury in late January. He is averaging nearly 19 points and nearly nine assists in 25 starts.

Monday's stellar performance may have left Bruins fans wondering where this double-double machine was last season when UCLA exited the tournament in the second round.

The same goes for Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who averages nearly 17 points and eight assists per game.

Perhaps these two were not used correctly during their time in Westwood. Perhaps their numbers have benefited by the fast-paced style of the NBA.

Whatever Collison and Westbrook's success -- along with the continued progression of Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar and Jrue Holiday -- may be attributed to, it only raises the standard by which coach Ben Howland's current batch of underachieving guards is judged upon.

That may not be fair to Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson, but that's just the way it is.



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