Aug. 30, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Lindy's College Basketball magazine hit the newsstands today and has selected the UCLA Bruins as its preseason number one team.
The Bruins' frontcourt was also chosen as the best in the nation. Returning starters junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (8.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and senior Lorenzo Mata-Real (6.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) welcome in the nation's High School Player of the Year, Kevin Love (6-10, 260, Lake Oswego, OR). UCLA also retains the services of junior Alfred Aboya (4.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and sophomores James Keefe (1.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg) and Nikola Dragovic (1.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg).
UCLA's backcourt was rated the sixth-best in the country. The Bruins return two junior starters the in the backcourt in Darren Collison (12.7 ppg, 5.7 apg) and Josh Shipp (13.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg). UCLA will also have junior Michael Roll (4.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg) and sophomore Russell Westbrook (3.4 ppg, 0.7 apg) available, both of whom have considerable experience in big games.
While the Bruins were picked to repeat as Pacific-10 Conference champions, Collison was also selected as the Pac-10 Player of the Year while Love was named the Newcomer of the Year.
In ranking the positions, Collison was rated the number two point guard behind Michigan State's Drew Neitzel while Love was rated the number seven power forward (and the number two incoming freshman behind Kansas State's Michael Beasley). Mbah a Moute was rated the eighth-best small forward while Shipp was selected as the 14th-ranked shooting guard.
The Bruins open their season on Nov. 9 with a home contest against Portland State after holding two exhibition games on Nov. 2 (Azusa Pacific) and Nov. 5 (Chico State).