Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Gordon no longer on UCLA's team
By Andy Katz ESPN.com
Drew Gordon's departure from UCLA had been in the works for weeks, according to a source. Ultimately, conduct that was detrimental to the team led to a "mutual parting," between the two parties.
UCLA coach Ben Howland said in a statement that "after several discussions with Drew, we both have decided that it is in the best interests of our program and Drew that he continues his career at another school. He is no longer a member of our team and will transfer at the end of the quarter. This is not a spur of the moment decision and ultimately, it's what's best for all parties."
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Gordon's conduct was detrimental to the team. He was not viewed as having positive energy in the locker room. Yet, during last weekend's 76 Classic in Anaheim, the UCLA staff said Gordon had to be the focal point offensively in the post.
Gordon, the Bruins' third-leading scorer with 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, scored well in the Bruins' two wins this season with 19 and 18 points, respectively. But he was in foul trouble and didn't perform as well in losses to Cal State-Fullerton (5 of 12, 10 points, four fouls, two blocks), Portland (5 of 11, 10 points, four boards, three fouls and three blocks) and Butler (4 of 8, eight points, four boards and fouled out). He was in foul trouble in the loss to Long Beach State, too, picking up three fouls, playing only 12 minutes and scoring only two points and grabbing one board.
The Bruins haven't had a true post presence the past two seasons since Kevin Love's one-and-done season. Gordon, a 6-8 sophomore out of San Jose, hasn't played up to his potential with the Bruins. He was hurt this past summer, injuring his knee on the first day of workouts at the Under 19 USA Basketball trials in Colorado Springs. A possible destination could be San Diego State. Gordon would likely fall to a Mountain West destination unless a WCC school is willing to take a gamble on him.
With Gordon gone, the Bruins will need seniors Nikola Dragovic and James Keefe to post up a bit more, especially against top-ranked Kansas and Cole Aldrich Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. But Howland seemed to be falling for the efforts of freshmen Reeves Nelson and Brendan Lane during the winless weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. The other option is J'mison Morgan, who logged a season-high seven minutes against Long Beach State. The 6-10 Morgan was highly sought after he got out of his commitment to LSU two seasons ago. But Morgan has yet to produce well enough to command the attention he received out of high school.
The Bruins were never going to possess a dominant post and the 2-4 start isn't a result of weak scoring inside. If the Bruins are to turn this season around then the guard play of Jerime Anderson, Malcolm Lee and Michael Roll has to be much more exceptional than it has been through the first six games.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.