Bruins Face Tigers in Final Four on Saturday

March 27, 2006

Ben Howland Press Conference Audio

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SATURDAY, APRIL 1 - No. 7 (AP)/NO. 8 (ESPN/USA Today) UCLA (31-6, 14-4, Pac-10 Regular Season/Tournament Champions, No. 2 Seed in Oakland Regional) vs. No. 19/No. 18 LSU Tigers (27-8, No. 4 seed in Atlanta Regional) in NCAA Semifinals in Indianapolis, IN (RCA Dome) (Tipoff - approx. 8:47 p.m. EST (5:47 p.m. PST)/TV- CBS/Radio- 570 AM, with Chris Roberts and Don MacLean).

(Overall 31-6/Pac-10 14-4, Pac-10 champ)

21Cedric BozemanF6-6Sr.7.73.2
23Luc Richard Mbah a MouteF6-7Fr.8.98.1
15Ryan HollinsC7-01/2Sr.6.94.6
1Jordan FarmarG6-2So.13.42.5
4Arron AfflaloG6-5So.16.24.2

Series History vs. LSU - UCLA leads it, 7-0. The last meeting was at LSU on Dec. 17, 1994, with UCLA winning, 92-72. The Bruins would go on to win the 1995 NCAA Title that season.

The Tigers have won their last four games and 11 of their last 12. In the NCAA Tournament, LSU has beaten No. 13 seed Iona 80-64, No. 12 seed Texas A&M 58-57, No. 1 seed Duke 62-54 and No. 2 seed Texas 70-60(OT). UCLA's 11-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.

This is UCLA's second appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Ben Howland.

The No. 2 seed is UCLA's highest since 1997, when the Bruins were No. 2 in the Midwest. That year, UCLA advanced to the Elite Eight, defeating Charleston Southern and Xavier in Auburn Hills and Iowa State in San Antonio before losing to Minnesota.

Overall, this is UCLA's 40th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA holds the record for most championships won (11 in 1964-65-67-68-69-70-71-72- 73-75-95) and longest winning streak - 38 games between 1964 and 1974.

In addition, in NCAA Tournament play, UCLA is tied for second in games won (89, Kentucky is No. 1, 99 and North Carolina is tied for No. 2, 89) and is second in tournament winning percentage (.736).

This is UCLA's 16th Final Four, tying North Carolina for No. 1 on that list. In its 15 previous appearances, UCLA has won 25 games (No. 1 on that list) and lost just five (.833).

UCLA HEAD COACH Ben Howland - In his third season at UCLA and 12th year as a collegiate head coach (in his 25th season of college basketball, as an assistant and head coach), he has led the Bruins to their first Final Four since 1995.

In the last two years, UCLA is 49-17 (.743) under Howland's direction.
2005-06 - UCLA (31-6, 37 games/.838)
2004-05 - UCLA (18-11, 29 games/.621)
2003-04 - UCLA (11-17, 28 games/.393)
UCLA Totals - 60-34, 94 games/.638
2000-03 - Pittsburgh (89-40, 129 games/69.0)
1995-99 - N. Arizona (79-59, 138 games/57.2)
Overall Totals - (228-133, 361 games/.632)

A prime candidate for National Coach of the Year honors, on March 6 was named the Pac-10 and USBWA Dist. IX Coach of the Year and on March 1, he was named a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award. He is also a finalist for the Clair Bee Award (sponsored by Chip Hilton Sports and endorsed by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame). Has also been honored by, CBS and SI. com as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

It's Howland's third conference Coach of the Year honor overall (2002-Big East Coach of the Year/at Pittsburgh and 1997- Big Sky Coach of the Year/at Northern Arizona). It's only the fifth time a UCLA coach has won Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors since the award was first handed out in 1976 (Steve Lavin (2001), Jim Harrick (1995), Walt Hazzard (1987) and Gary Cunningham (1978).

He has led a team to at least the "Sweet 16" for the third time in five years - Pittsburgh in 2002 and 2003 and UCLA in 2006 - and is in the Final Four for the first time in his career. Howland's overall NCAA record is 8-4 (4-1 UCLA, 4-2 at Pittsburgh and 0-1 at NAU).

Howland recorded his 50th Bruin win against Oregon State and is now 60-34 (.638), including 49-17 (.743) in the last two years as the Bruins' head coach. The USC game on Feb. 19 was his 350th game as a collegiate head coach.

He has led UCLA this season to three Pac-10 road sweeps (at the Oregon schools, first time since 2000-01, at the Arizona schools, first time since 1996-97, at the Bay Area schools, first time since 2000) - not since 1994-95 have the Bruins had three Pac-10 road sweeps (at the Arizona, Washington and Bay Area schools/1995 was the last year UCLA won the NCAA Championship). This season the Bruins have swept (home/away) the Oregon schools (first time since 2001) and the Arizona schools (first time since 1997).

He recorded his 200th career victory on Nov. 19, when UCLA defeated Delaware State 56-37 in Pauley Pavilion.

In Howland's second year (2004-05) at UCLA, he joined an elite list of college coaches (28) who have led three different teams to the NCAA Tournament (Howland's overall NCAA record is 8-4) - 2006 UCLA (Final Four), 2005 UCLA, 2003 Pittsburgh ("Sweet 16), 2002 Pittsburgh ("Sweet 16") and 1998 Northern Arizona. In 2005, Howland led the Bruins back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002; he directed the Bruins to a win over nationally-ranked Washington; led UCLA to a third-place tie in the Pac-10 and to a Pac-10 Tournament appearance. In Howland's first year (2003- 04) at UCLA, highlights included a 9-3 start (5-0 in the Pac-10), wins over NCAA Tournament teams Michigan State, Washington (twice) and Vermont and an appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament.

In his last two seasons (2002-03) at Pittsburgh - in 2003, he led the Panthers to a 28-5 overall record, No. 4 national ranking, NCAA "Sweet 16" and the Big East Tournament Championship and in 2002, Pittsburgh was 29-6 overall (school record for wins), advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16" and the Big East Tournament title game and Howland was the consensus National Coach of the Year.

HONORS- Here's a list of the Bruin team and individual player honors. On March 6, Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo were named first-team All-Pac-10 (UCLA leads the conference with 104 first-team selections).

Jordan Farmar - A member of the Oakland Regional and All Pac-10 Tournament teams, on March 10, named a All-American. On March 7, was named first-team USBWA All. Dist. IX, on March 6, he earned first-team All-Pac-10 and was named to the Wooden Award finalist list (22 players) and on March 1, was named the Pac-10 Most Valuable Player by On Feb. 18, Farmar was named first-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He was on the mid-season Naismith Trophy (30 players) and Wooden Award (30 players) lists. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (nation's top point guard). Farmar is one of just four players, he's the only underclassman, mentioned for all three honors (joining senior guards, Illinois' Dee Brown, Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser and Syracuse's Gerry McNamara).

Arron Afflalo - A member of the Oakland Regional and All-Pac-10 Tournament teams, on March 21 was named a fourth-team All-American. On March 7, was named a first-team USBWA All-Dist. IX and Defensive All-American, on March 6 was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and named Pac- 10 Player of the Week (for his play in the Bruins' sweep of the Bay Area), and on Feb. 18, Afflalo was named first-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He was named an earlyseason All-American by and named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team.

Farmar and Afflalo - were named the nation's No. 3 backcourt by (Jan. 25).

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - on March 7 was named the CBS and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, on March 6 was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (and Honorable Mention All-Pac- 10) and a Freshman All-American by He was named to Seth Davis' All-Glue team on Feb. 15 (given to players who emphasize team play over individualism). He was named the National Freshman of the Week (Jan. 30) for his efforts in UCLA's two victories at the Oregon schools.

Ryan Hollins - was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Oakland Regional and joined Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo on the All-Region team. Darren Collison - on March 6 was named a Pac-10 Honorable Mention All-Freshman selection.

March 25 - No. 7 UCLA 50, No. 4 Memphis 45 - before 19,689 at the Oakland Arena in the NCAA Regional Final, UCLA's tenacious defensive effort stymied highscoring Memphis and the No. 2 seeded Bruins advanced to the "Final Four" for the 16th time in school history (tying North Carolina for most appearances in the Final Four), with a 50-45 win over the No. 1 seeded Tigers. It was UCLA's 11th consecutive win (longest winning streak since 1997/longest current winning streak in the nation) and stopped Memphis' seven-game winning streak.

Although UCLA had just four, two-point field goals in the second half, UCLA's defensive game-effort limited Memphis to a season-low 45 points (the Tigers were averaging 81.0 points a game) and a season-low 21 first half points. Earlier in the season (Nov. 23, in an NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal at Madison Square Garden), Memphis scored a Bruin opponent season-high 88 points, to defeat UCLA 88-80. For the Bruins, their 50 points tied a season-low and it was the eighth time this season UCLA has held an opponent to 50 points or less, including twice in the NCAA Tournament (UCLA 78-Belmont 44).

In UCLA NCAA Tournament history, the Bruins' 50 points is their second lowest ever (scored 41 vs. Princeton in a 1996 43-41 loss to the Tigers in an NCAA first round game in Indianapolis) and Memphis' 45 points was the third-lowest scored vs. UCLA (the lowest is UCLA's 1969 West Regional win over New Mexico State 53-38, followed by Princeton's 43).

With 4:51 left to play, Memphis closed the gap to four points (40-36), on a dunk by Joey Dorsey. But in the next four minutes, the Bruins outscored the Tigers 10-3, including 6-8 from the foul line (3-4 by Cedric Bozeman and 3-4 by Arron Afflalo), to lead 50-39 with :12 remaining. In the final 11 seconds, Memphis scored its only three-pointers of the game.

The Bruins led at halftime (28-21) and held the Tigers to .278 (10-36) from the field and .000 (0-10) from threepoint range.

UCLA was led by Afflalo's 15 points and Ryan Hollins' 14 points and season-high tying nine rebounds. Hollins was named the Oakland Regional Most Outstanding Player and joined Affalo and Jordan Farmar on the All-Tournament team.

The Bruins (31-6, one game of tying the school record for wins in a single-season) shot a season-low .350 (14- 40) from the field, .250 (2-8) from three-point range and .513 (20-39) from the foul line, with 36 rebounds (the Bruins have been outrebounded the last three games and four of the last f ive), seven assists, 17 turnovers, two blocked shots and four steals.

Memphis (33-4) shot .315 (17-54) from the field, .118 (2-17) from three-point range and .600 (9-15) from the foul line, with a game and opponent season -high 41 rebounds (Memphis held the previous opponent seasonhigh with 40 in its earlier win over UCLA), five assists, a game-high 18 turnovers, one blocked shot and eight steals. The Tigers were led by Darius Washington's 13 points.

March 23 - No. 7 UCLA 73, No. 5 Gonzaga 71 - before 19,596 at the Oakland Arena in an NCAA "Sweet 16" contest that will go down in NCAA Tournament history for its frenzied ending, UCLA held Gonzaga scoreless for the final 3:27 and overcame a nine-point deficit by scoring 11 consecutive points to defeat the Bulldogs 73- 71 and advance to the school's eighth Regional Championship game since 1975 (and 23rd in school history). The loss snapped Gonzaga's 20-game winning streak and it was UCLA's 10th consecutive victory.

Here's a breakdown of the final 3:27 (courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle) -
3:27 - GU 71, UCLA 62 (Adam Morrison FTs)
3:12 - GU 71, UCLA 64 (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
3:04 - GU 71, UCLA 64 (Gonzaga turnover)
2:19 - GU 71, UCLA 64 (Gonzaga miss)
2:06 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Mbah a Moute layup)
1:33 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Gonzaga miss)
1:30 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Gonzaga miss)
1:02 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Gonzaga miss)
0:49 - GU 71, UCLA 68 (Jordan Farmar jumper)
0:24 - GU 71, UCLA 68 (Gonzaga miss)
0:19 - GU 71, UCLA 70 (Ryan Hollins FTs)
0:12 - GU 71, UCLA 70 (Gonzaga turnover, steal by Farmar)
0:09 - GU 71, UCLA 72 (Mbah a Moute layup, assist
by Farmar)
0:04 - GU 71, UCLA 72 (Gonzaga turnover, steal by Mbah a Moute)
0:01.9 - GU 71, UCLA 73 (Arron Afflalo 1-2 FTs)
0:00 - GU 71, UCLA 73 (Gonzaga miss)
Gonzaga led by 13 points at halftime (42-29).

In "Sweet 16" contests and beyond, the Bruins overcoming that 13-point halftime deficit tied for the second-biggest halftime comeback in NCAA Tournament history.

UCLA had four players in double figures - led by 15 points each from Jordan Farmar (he's led UCLA in scoring the last two games and three of the last four/his steal with :12 left led to UCLA's winning basket by Mbah a Moute) and Arron Afflalo (11 in the second half, including a free throw, with 1.9 seconds remaining, that gave UCLA its final 73-71 advantage). Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had his eighth double/double of the season, 14 points and game-high 10 rebounds (he's led the Bruins in rebounding the last four games and in 30 of UCLA's 36). In the final 3:12, Mbah a Moute scored six points and a steal with four seconds remaining that led to Afflalo's foul shots).

The Bruins (30-6, winning exactly 30 games for the fifth time in school history/the school record is 32, 1995) shot .404 (23-57) from the field, .286 (6-21) from the foul line and .700 (21-30) from the foul line, with 32 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 turnovers, four blocked shots and five steals.

Gonzaga (29-4) shot .471 (24-51) from the field (including .577, 15-26 in the first half), .300 (3-10) from three-point range and .769 (20-26) from the foul line, with a game-high 37 rebounds, 14 assists, a game-high 17 turnovers, four blocked shots and three steals. The Bulldogs were led by Adam Morrison's 24 points.

The Last Nine - UCLA enters the NCAA Final Four with the nation's longest active winning streak - 11 games - its longest since 1996-97 (12 games). During those 11 games, UCLA is averaging 70.4 points while holding opponents to 54.7 points. Only one of the 11 teams has scored more than 60 points in a game. UCLA has outrebounded seven of the 11 opponents and has a margin of +3.8 (32.5 - 28.7) in that span. UCLA is shooting .492 from the field and .391 from three-point range while holding the 11 opponents to .396 from the floor and .312 from the arc.

The Bruins Are - 31-5 when holding the opponent under 80 points, 23-1 when leading at halftime, 17-1 when shooting .500 or better from the field, 15-1 when holding the opponent to under .400, 26-2 when outshooting the opponent from the field, 20-2 when outshooting the opponent from three-point range, 23-3 with a rebound advantage and 28-1 when leading with five minutes to play in regulation.

Defense - UCLA has held 10 of its last 20 opponents under .400 and three under .300. Only four times in the last 20 games has an opponent shot better than .464. Sixteen of those 20 opponents scored 60 points or less, including 10 of the last 11. WSU's 30 points was the lowest total by a Bruin opponent since the 1966-67 season, when Oregon scored 25. Last season (all games), the Bruins allowed 71.7 points a game (this season, 58.6, a difference of -13.1 points).

In the final Pac-10 games only statistics, UCLA was first in scoring defense (59.3) and first in scoring margin (+8.4) and rebounding defense (28.1) and third in FG% defense (.427) and fourth in 3PT FG% defense (.338). In league games, the Bruins are also first in offensive FG% (.469).

In the Second Half - In the NCAA first round game against Belmont, UCLA outscored the Bruins 25-5 to start the second half after leading by 12 (35-23) at halftime. Against Alabama, UCLA built an eightpoint second half lead (the game was tied at halftime) and won by three. In the Sweet 16 contest vs. Gonzaga, the Bruins outscored the Bulldogs 44-29 in the final 20 minutes. In the Pac-10 Tournament, UCLA led Oregon State by 11 at halftime and outscored the Beavers by 21 in the second half. It led Arizona by seven at halftime and outscored the Wildcats by five after intermission. It led California by three at halftime and outscored the Golden Bears by 16 in the final 20 minutes.

On the final regular-season trip, UCLA trailed at California by 11 points (31-20) at halftime but rallied to outscore the Golden Bears by 20 (47-27) after halftime (11 in the second half and nine in overtime). UCLA trailed both Oregon schools at halftime (OSU 32-26 and UO 28-23), but came back with big second half rallies (season high for a half 52 vs. OSU and second-highest season high for a second half 47 vs. UO). Vs. Oregon, the Bruins shot their best second-half FG% (.625, 15-24) of the season. Prior to the win at Stanford, the Bruins trailed in five consecutive games at halftime, but came back with strong second-half efforts (averaged 23.6 in first half/44.0 in second half).

30 Wins - UCLA has won 31 games this season. It's the sixth time in school history UCLA has won at least 30 games and the Bruins won the NCAA title in each of the other five seasons. UCLA won 32 en route to the 1995 NCAA title (31 on the court plus one game later won by forfeit) and 30 in 1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973, all NCAA Championship teams).

INJURY UPDATE (every scholarship player has been injured this season/seven players have missed a total of 87 games).

Sophomore forward Josh Shipp (missed 33 games/out for season) - on Sept. 28, had an arthroscopic right hip procedure. During his initial rehabilitation, he was on crutches for almost a month (came off of crutches on Oct. 26). Shipp returned to the starting to start the Pac-10 season (he missed the first 11 games) and started the first four league contests, scoring in double figures (11.3ppg/4.8rpg/29.8mpg) in every game. On Jan. 10, because of constant and increasing pain in the right hip, Shipp announced he would not practice or play for the remainder of the season (UCLA will petition for a medical hardship waiver at the conclusion of the season).

Sophomore center Lorenzo Mata (missed 16 games/returned March 9) - suffered a concussion in practice on Dec. 1 and did not play on Dec. 4 vs. Coppin State and vs. Nevada on Dec. 10. Since then, he started seven of eight games (played with a bloody nose/slight fracture at Arizona State, suffered in the first half). Vs. Washington State, suffered a nondisplaced right tibial plateau fracture (he missed 14 games before returning on March 9).

Senior center Michael Fey (missed 16 games) - before the start of practice (Oct. 14), was diagnosed with a severe groin strain. On Tuesday (Nov. 8), Fey was cleared for a one hour workout (once a day, starting Nov. 9). Fey participated in team practice on Saturday (Nov. 12). He played 17 minutes vs. New Mexico State (seven points/two rebounds) and 15 minutes vs. Temple (0 points/two rebounds), but sprained his left shoulder. He did not play vs. Delaware State and his status was "day-to-day". In New York, Fey played a season-high 21 minutes vs. Memphis (season-high 13 points/four rebounds) and five minutes vs. Drexel. On Thursday (Dec. 1), suffered a right ankle sprain in practice and did not play vs. Coppin State on Dec. 4 and Nevada on Dec. 10. He did play two minutes at Michigan. Fey did not play vs. Wagner, came in for nine minutes (two points/three rebounds) vs. Sacramento State. Fey missed the Bruins' first five Pac-10 contests. He did play one minute vs. Washington and Arizona State, but did not play vs. USC, WVU, Oregon, OSU and Arizona. He played two minutes at WSU, but did not play at Washington or at USC. He started against Oregon State and Oregon and played at California and Stanford. He's appeared in three of the last five games, including four minutes vs. Belmont in the NCAA Tournament.

Cedric Bozeman (missed eight games) - The senior forward who had started every game before Stanford, on Dec. 27 injured his left shoulder in practice (an MRI revealed torn cartilage). At the time of the injury, Bozeman was averaging 31.2 minutes, 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. He missed eight games. Bozeman was cleared the week of the USC and WVU games to resume shooting and dribbling, but did not play. He returned to action at the Oregon schools, has played in the last 16 games and started the last 15. He suffered a sprained left ankle on the first day of the Pac-10 Tournament but did not miss any games.

Freshman forward Alfred Aboya (missed six games) - had a right knee arthroscopic procedure on July 11 and had a left knee arthroscopic procedure on Oct. 12. Aboya was re-evaluated on Nov. 2 and he did not have any basketball activity for the next two weeks. His first game was Coppin State (Dec. 4 -16 minutes, two rebounds and assists) and he's appeared in every game since (24). Vs. Washington, Aboya suffered a right knee injury, but an MRI revealed no new articular cartilage damage and he started both the USC and West Virginia games. Suffered a left hip flexor strain in practice on Thursday before the USC game, but played 16 minutes at the Sports Arena. Reinjured (left hip flexor strain) in practice on Feb. 21 and was questionable for the Oregon schools in Pauley, but played against the Beavers and Oregon.

Senior center Ryan Hollins (missed six games) - strained his groin during warm-ups vs. Sacramento State (did not play) and missed six consecutive games. He has now played in the last 19 games and started 15 of the last 16 contests.

Sophomore point guard Jordan Farmar (missed two games) - suffered a right groin strain in practice on Thursday (Oct. 27) and was held out of practice for five days (Thursday-Tuesday, the Bruins did not practice on Sunday, Oct. 30). After a Nov. 1 examination, Farmar, who had shown significant improvement, continued to strengthen and receive treatment. He did not practice or play the rest of the week and did not play in UCLA's exhibition game vs. Carleton (Friday, Nov. 4). Farmar was cleared to resume practice on Monday (Nov. 7) and started vs. CS Monterey Bay. Farmar started the first two NIT Season Tip-Off encounters, but sprained his right ankle vs. Temple and did not play vs. Delaware State. He started vs. Memphis and Drexel. Following an inconclusive early MRI on Tuesday (Nov. 29), another MRI was taken later that day which showed Farmar did not have a right foot stress fracture. He did not play vs. Albany (Nov. 29), but came back to start vs. Coppin State (Dec. 4) and responded with his first career double/double (16 points-then career-high 10 assists) and has started every game since Coppin State.

Farmar sprained his right ankle in the second half vs. Stanford (played only four minutes), but came back to start vs. California (36 minutes). Started vs. the Arizona schools - had the ankle retaped in the first half of the Arizona game (hit four consecutive free throws late in the game to preserve UCLA's win) and at ASU, hit two baskets at the end of the contest to win the game for UCLA. Led the Bruins in scoring vs. USC (15) and WVU (22) and led the Bruins to two wins in Oregon for the first time since 2001.

Vs. Arizona in Pauley Pavilion, he sprained his left ankle in the second half, got retaped, and played 31 minutes (X-rays on Saturday night revealed no abnormalities and an MRI on Monday confirmed the sprained ankle). He was in a walking boot during the week leading up to the WSU game. Injured his left wrist in the NCAA second-round game against Alabama but X-rays and MRI were negative.

Freshman forward Michael Roll - jammed his right thumb in practice on Jan. 31 (before Arizona State game) and Feb. 1 X-rays revealed a sprain. He played 15 minutes vs. ASU and 14 vs. Arizona.

Freshman guard Darren Collison - suffered a sprained left ankle in the West Virginia game. The X-rays were negative, he did not practice Monday or Tuesday (before the Oregon games), but played at both Oregon (17 minutes) and Oregon State (13 minutes).

Freshman center Ryan Wright - sprained his right ankle in the Stanford game (Pauley Pavilion), but continued to play in the Cardinal contest (22 minutes, five points, four rebounds) and vs. California (15 minutes, three points). He has played in every Pac-10 game and started vs. Washington.

Sophomore guard Arron Afflalo - suffered a left quadricep contusion on Oct. 29. He was listed as day-today, resumed practice on Nov. 3 and has started every game. He leads the Bruins in points (17.1/No. 7 in the Pac- 10) and minutes (34.3, No. 4 in the Pac-10). At Arizona State, fell heavily to the floor at the end of the game, suffering a left hip pointer and right backside bruised soft tissue. But came back to start vs. the Washington schools in Pauley Pavilion. Injured his right wrist in the Elite Eight game vs. Memphis but X-rays were negative.

Freshman forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - before the start of practice (Oct. 14) was diagnosed with a sprained right shoulder. He returned to full-time practice status on Oct. 22 and has started every game and leads the Bruins in rebounding (8.4, No. 3 in the Pac-10/No. 3 freshman rebounder in the U. S.).

Redshirt Freshman Walkon Joey Ellis - On Oct. 7, had a left knee arthroscopic procedure and has not appeared in a game.

NATIONAL POLLS -Entering the NCAA Tournament, UCLA was ranked No. 7 by AP and No. 8 by ESPN/USA Today. Entering the Pac-10 Tournament, the Bruins were ranked No. 13 by AP and No. 12 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to the Bay Area trip, the Bruins were ranked No. 15 by AP and No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to the Oregon games in Pauley Pavilion, UCLA was rated No. 19 by AP and No. 17 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to the USC game at the Sports Arena, UCLA was rated No. 15 by AP and No. 14 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to traveling to Washington, the Bruins were rated No. 13 by AP and No. 12 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to hosting the Arizona schools in Pauley Pavilion, UCLA was rated No. 14 by AP and No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today. Before going to the Oregon schools, the Bruins were No. 17 by AP and ESPN/USA Today. Prior to USC and WVU, the Bruins were ranked No. 18 by AP and No. 16 by ESPN/USA Today. Before facing the Washington schools in Pauley, UCLA for the second time this season was No. 11 (AP) and No. 12 (ESPN/USA Today). Traveling to the Arizona schools, the Bruins were No. 17 in both polls. UCLA was No. 11 in both polls (before facing Stanford/California in Pauley Pavilion/UCLA's highest regular season ranking since 2001-02/No. 10-the Bruins that season had a preseason ranking of No. 3). UCLA was No. 12 in both polls (before facing Wagner and Sacramento State). The Bruins were No. 14 in both polls going into Michigan. Prior to facing Nevada (Dec. 10) in the Wooden Classic, the Bruins were No. 16 (AP) and No. 18 (USA Today/ESPN). The week of Nov. 28, UCLA was No. 16 (AP) and No. 17 (USA Today/ESPN). The week of the NIT Season Tip-Off Final Four (Nov. 21), the Bruins were No. 16 in both polls (UCLA's highest ranking since the start of the 2002-03 season/No. 14). UCLA was preseason rated No. 19 by AP and tied for No. 18 by USA Today/ESPN (it was the Bruins' first preseason rating since 2002-03/No. 14).

THE WOODEN CLASSIC - On Dec. 10 in the 12th annual Wooden Classic at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, No. 16 UCLA defeated No. 17 Nevada, 67-56. It was UCLA's third consecutive Wooden Classic appearance, snapped a two-game Bruin losing streak at the Classic, and overall, UCLA is 6-3 in the Wooden Classic. It was announced that UCLA and USC will appear in the 2006 Wooden Classic (Dec. 9-opponents to be announced at a later date).

UCLA in the John R. Wooden Classic (6-3)
2005-06(W) -No. 16 UCLA 67, No. 17 Nevada 56.
2004-05(L)-Boston College 74, UCLA 64
2003-04(L)-No. 9 Kentucky 52, UCLA 50
2001-02(W)-No. 20 UCLA 79, No. 16 Alabama 57
2000-01(L)-Georgia Tech 72, UCLA 67
1998-99(W)-No. 18 UCLA 69,No. 11 Okla. St. 66
1997-98(W)-No. 15 UCLA 69,No. 8 New Mex. 58
1995-96(W)-UCLA 73, No. 20 Maryland 63
1994-95(W)-No. 2 UCLA 82, No. 7 Kentucky 81

On Nov. 30, 2002 in Indianapolis, No. 14 UCLA's 84-73 loss to No. 4 Duke was the Bruins' only appearance in the then third-annual Wooden Tradition.

2005 NIT SEASON TIP-OFF TOURNAMENT - For the first time since 1996 and for the fourth time in school history (2005-1996-1992-1987), the Bruins played in the NIT Season Tip-Off and for the second time in school history, placed third.

At the NIT Season Tip-Off at New York City's Madison Square Garden, on Nov. 25 Duke defeated Memphis 70- 67 for the championship and in the third-place game, the Bruins beat Drexel 57-56. In the semis on Nov. 23, Duke defeated Drexel 78-68 and Memphis beat UCLA 88-80. The first-round NIT matchups were - Nov. 14 - Boston U. at Duke (D 64-57), Manhattan at Seton Hall (SH 66- 52), Sam Houston State at Missouri (SHS 80-77) and Drexel at Princeton (D 54-41); Nov. 15- Miami (Ohio) at Alabama (A 64-58), Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Memphis (M 79-52), Army at Temple (T 69-37) and New Mexico State at UCLA (U 83-70). Second Round results - Nov. 16- at Duke 93-Seton Hall 40; Nov. 17 - at Drexel 72- Sam Houston State 61, Memphis 87-at Alabama 76 and at UCLA 54-Temple 47.

In UCLA's preseason NIT history, the Bruins - in 1996, lost in the first round to Tulsa in Pauley Pavilion (77-76, OT); in 1992, lost a semifinal game to Seton Hall 73-64 and defeated Florida State 86-83 for third-place and in 1987, lost a second round contest at New Mexico 77-66.

UCLA REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE - In the Preseason AP poll, the Bruins will face five teams on this year's schedule - No. 9 Arizona, No. 12 Memphis, No. 13 Stanford, No. 15 West Virginia and No. 25 Nevada. UCLA's 2005-06 men's basketball schedule will feature nine teams that advanced to postseason play last season (NCAA/NIT) and the Bruins will also participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off and Wooden Classic. Teams from last year's NCAA include - Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Delaware State (Saturday, Nov. 19 in Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m.), Western Athletic Conference Nevada in the Wooden Classic (Saturday, Dec. 10 in Anaheim, 2:30 p.m./KCAL), Big East West Virginia (Saturday, Jan. 12 in Pauley Pavilion, 12:45 p.m., CBS/the Mountaineers in the 2005 NCAA advanced to the Albuquerque Regional final, losing to Louisville 93- 85OT) and Pac-10 foes Washington, Arizona and Stanford. Also in 2005, conference opponents Oregon State and Arizona State participated in the NIT, as did Memphis. For the fourth consecutive season, UCLA will play Big 10 Michigan (Dec. 17 in Ann Arbor, 9 a.m. PT/ESPN) -UCLA leads the series 9-3 and has won the last two games, 68-61 on Dec. 17 and last season, defeating the Wolverines in Pauley 81-79.

PAC-10 MEDIA DAY-BRUINS SELECTED THIRD IN PRESEASON VOTE - Nov. 3 was Pac-10 Media Day at the LAX Hilton. According to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball, Arizona was picked to win the 2006 conference title.

Here's the vote total -1. Arizona (23) 325, 2. Stanford (9) 294, 3. UCLA 263 (2), 4. Washington 238, 5. California 212, 6. Oregon 183, 7. Oregon State 132, 8. USC 87, 9. Washington State 86, 10. Arizona State 50. PRESEASON HONORS- Here's a list of the Bruin preseason team and individual honors.

-Athlon - Team - Postseason Prediction, NCAA "Sweet 16"/3rd in Pac-10; No. 2 recruiting class in Pac-10. Individual -Jordan Farmar - Honorable Mention All- America/1st-team All-Pac-10; Arron Afflalo - 3rd-team All- Pac-10.

-Blue Ribbon - Team - No. 21 in the U. S./3rd in the Pac- 10; No. 2 Top Backcourt in Pac-10. Individual - Jordan Farmar- All-Conference Team. - Team - No. 16 in the U. S./3rd in the Pac-10. Individual - Jordan Farmar - 1st-team All-Pac- 10.

-Lindy's - Team - No. 25 in U. S./3rd in Pac-10; No. 6 backcourt in the nation; No. 18 recruiting class in the nation. Individual - Jordan Farmar - No. 11 point guard in the U. S. /second-team All-Pac-10.

-Slam Magazine - Team - No. 18 in U. S.

-Sports Illustrated - Team - No. 15 in the U. S.

-Street & Smith's - Team - No. 16 in the U. S. /3rd in Pac- 10; No. 3 recruiting class in Pac-10. Individual - Alfred Aboya - Top 100 college freshmen, Ryan Wright - Impact Rookie.

-The Sporting News - Team - No. 17 in U. S. /3rd in Pac- 10; No. 5 backcourt in U. S.; No. 3 recruiting class in Pac-10. Individual - Jordan Farmar - No. 4 point guard in U. S. /first-team All-Pac-10; Arron Afflalo - No. 13 shooting guard in the U .S./second-team All-Pac-10; Ryan Wright - No. 5 Pac-10 recruit; Alfred Aboya - No. 8 Pac-10 recruit; Darren Collison -No. 12 Pac-10 recruit.

-Dick Vitale's Top 25 - Team - No. 20 in the U. S.

James Keefe, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from Santa Margarita Catholic HS (Rancho Santa Margarita), on Feb. 23 was named a McDonald's All-American. The McDonald's game will be March 29 at San Diego State's Cox Arena. He's the 26th McDonald's All- American to attend UCLA and the third recruited to the Bruins under UCLA head coach Ben Howland (joining 2004 McDonald's All-Americans - Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo).

Considered one of the nation's top-rated power forwards entering his senior high school season, Keefe has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend UCLA, Bruin head coach Ben Howland announced Nov. 9. Wednesday is the first day of the early signing period that extends until Nov. 16.

Under head coach Jerry DeBusk, Keefe led the Eagles in March to a second consecutive CIF Southern Section Div. III-AA Championship (28-5 overall), averaging 17.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots. Santa Margarita Catholic HS advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern California Regionals (Div. III) as Keefe earned State Junior Player of the Year honors and was first-team All-Serra League.

"I'm elated that James is joining our program," said Howland. "He's an outstanding player, a great person and an excellent student. James plays hard, is an outstanding rebounder, a good defender and plays very intelligently. His attitude and work ethic are going to help him improve and get better and better year-in and year-out"

A recent first-team Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West Selection, Keefe is rated the No. 27 high school player in the nation by Bob Gibbons' All-Star Sports Top 100.

Entering 2005-06, his other preseason prep honors include - Street & Smith All-American (second team), The Sporting News' No. 36 player in the U. S., No. 37 player in the U. S. (No. 11 power forward in the U. S.) and Athlon Sports No. 38 player in the U. S.

Last summer, Keefe participated in the Gibbons' Memorial Weekend Tournament, playing for the titlewinning Southern California All-Stars. He also played in the adidas All-America Camp in Suwanee, GA and with his high school team in the Reebok Las Vegas Big Time Tournament (an all-tourney choice) in July.

"Keefe puts as much energy and focus into his performance while screening for teammates and playing defense, as he does when the ball is in his possession," said Frank Burlison, national basketball columnist for, long-time sportswriter for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and a member of the USBWA Hall of Fame. "He'll need to make fewer adjustments, especially on defense, than almost any other player in the class to be an immediate contributor in college. Keefe has been extremely well-coached by Jerry DeBusk and should make an immediate impact with the Bruins, perhaps even as a starter at some point during his freshman season." Marko Spica, a 6-9, 225-pound post player from Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at UCLA, Bruin head coach Ben Howland announced Tuesday. Spica will be an incoming freshman for the 2006-07 school year.

From the High School of Sport in Belgrade and considered one of the top young post players in Europe, Spica, since the age of 13, has been a member of the Beovuk Club. Within his club team, Spica for two years has been playing on his country's Junior squad, averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. Prior to that, for three seasons on the Youth team, he averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds. "Marko is a skilled post player," Howland said. "He can score down low. He can step out and shoot. He rebounds, he blocks out and he plays physical. Marko and James Keefe give us two talented inside players for next season."

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Thursday, Feb 25
at California
Berkeley, CA
L, 63 - 75
Saturday, Feb 27
at Stanford
Stanford, CA
L, 70 - 79
Wednesday, Mar 02
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
L, 68 - 76
Saturday, Mar 05
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
L, 82 - 86
Wednesday, Mar 09
vs. USC
Las Vegas, NV
L, 71 - 95