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December 1, 2011
UCLA sophomore guard, De'End Parker's results on his MRI returned and it came back exactly what the doctors thought. He has tendonitis on his patella and he should be okay.
The doctors told Ben Howland that it is common with athletes and if the doctors gave MRIs to the whole team, they would find at least a couple more on the squad with same diagnosis. With Parker though, it's really bothering him. He has been out for close two weeks.
Anyone who has watched Bruin basketball this season have been impressed by Bruin freshman guard, Norman Powell. He has improved and had his best game as a collegiate against Pepperdine.
It is not surprising that Powell is taking steps forward. He has been putting in extra time and it is showing up in his play. He played well on both ends of the floor against the Waves. His early miscues were the cause of being a true freshman and he has seen his learning curve take a jump forward. He is a good coachable kid.
For the moment, Reeves Nelson will be coming off the bench. Howland wants to see how it goes. He won't be starting against Texas. He was suspended, but it was uncharacteristic of Nelson missing the plane. Howland never had a problem with Nelson before and he didn't think Nelson was acting out on, or done on purpose, but still it was a problem. It will come down for Nelson being positive and having the work ethic on the defensive end. That is what Howland is looking for. Nelson didn't play a lot against Pepperdine because he was in early foul trouble. He only played two minutes in the first half.
The reason that Howland likes Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson in at the same time it gives the Bruins quickness and senior leadership. Powell is going to see more time and because of Parker's injury, David Wear will see more action at the three.
It was good to see Travis Wear get 10 boards in the first half of the last game. It was his best game as a Bruin.
Howland was happy with the team defense against Pepperdine. They were doing the things that a Howland coached team are known for. UCLA's defense was energized and motivated. Hopefully that trend will continue against Texas.
Joshua Smith has to do a better job staying out of foul trouble. He has 26 fouls in six games. According to Howland the biggest thing for him is his conditioning. He is putting in the extra work and that is a positive. Smith's skill as a basketball player is not the issue. It's the fatigue factor that he gets after a few runs up and down the court. Howland had hoped he would have taken off where he left off a year ago. Smith said his beginning of last season is about the same as it was this season.
Getting to the Texas game, Howland thinks the Longhorns are a very talented team and J'Covan Brown is about as good a guard as the Bruins have seen this season and that is saying something when you think about Middle Tennessee State, Kansas and Michigan.
Texas has experience and they are athletic. They will play a little man, a little zone and attack the boards. They could play up to eight or nine players. They are very strong in the front court and as a whole Texas can do a lot of things.
Howland was happy with the crowd last Monday Evening, it being a late game, coming off two losses in Maui. He was pleased for the die hard Bruins that were there. He hopes for a good crowd on Saturday for Texas.
Rick Kimbrel is the publisher of BruinBlitz.com. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on twitter at @BruinBlitzcom.
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