November 18th, 2008, 10:21 PM #71
Greg Hicks, the guy whose opinion on West Coast prospects I trust almost implicitly, describes Mike Moser thusly. If Honeycutt is the best small forward on the West Coast, it's like 1A and 1B. Honeycutt is probably the more prolific stat sheet guy, a rangy 6'8" shot-blocking/shooting/passing forward best suited to the play the 3 (vaguely reminiscent of Tayshaun Prince). Moser is 1B, a different kind of player but the kind you love to have on a contender. The kid is versatile at 6'7" with the ability to defend multiple positions a la Mbah-a-moute. In the same class as Honeycutt, he would probably see a lot of time at the 2, and if the defections to the NBA go as predicted, he could see a lot of freshman minutes. Moser is a "terrific" athlete and already defends well. With Howland barking at him in practice, this is going to be the guy we've been dying for in the last few Final Fours, the guy you send out to stop the opposition's scoring wing player. Afflalo defended with heart, but he's not a great athlete and not that long. Westbrook defended with athleticism, but he's not that long either. Moser could be a huge piece of the puzzle in a Howland system. His offense isn't very advanced, but with the pieces we'll have in place it should not matter.
Without being too much of a debbie-downer, I'm not feeling it this year. We'll be okay, by the end of the season, and I do appreciate how much Collison and Shipp have done for this program, but I simply don't see them leading us to the promised land. If we march deep into the tournament again, it will require Holiday and others in his class to mature rapidly.
But this is the first season that Howland has really reaped the benefits of those hard-earned Final Fours in terms of recruiting. The depth and talent level across the team in the coming years will be ridiculous compared to what he started with. He's going to have a small army of big men with 10 times the skill of the Aboya/Mata/Hollins trio he succeeded with. Our backcourt will be guys with better upside than Westbrook/Afflalo/Farmar. And we'll finally replace Shipp with some real wing players (IMO, the most glaring weakness of the Howland era, something every elite team seems to have and usually not a hard position to recruit for). Should be lots of fun.
2009-2010 should look a bit like this. Can you imagine how much Howland must be drooling over that big man depth? Me, I think those are the wings of angels... and the backcourt ain't too shabby, either.
Malcolm Lee (can play 1-3)
Jrue Holiday (if we're REALLY lucky / can play 1-3)
Mike Moser (if we're lucky / can play 2-4)
Tyler Honeycutt (can play 3-4)
Nikola Dragovic (this is where they have him now)
And in the pipe dream where Holiday stays for next year, that would mark the first time ever at UCLA that Howland has actually had all 13 scholarships used.
Looking ahead, I think we badly need more guards. Moser can't play point, which is why Gaddy would have been an amazing get. We're pretty thin in the backcourt going forward, relying heavily on Jerime Anderson and the versatility of some guys to hopefully get by. The only two commits for 2010-2011 are guards, one is a lightly-regarded combo (Kendall Williams) that looks like a mistake at this point, and the other is a 2-guard (Tyler Lamb) that Greg Hicks likes a lot.
Last edited by Wolvie; November 19th, 2008 at 07:58 PM.
November 19th, 2008, 07:55 PM #72
2009-2010 looks awfully tall now.
C Anthony Stover 6'10" 207 lbs.
PF Brendan Lane 6'9" 200 lbs.
PF Reeves Nelson 6'7" 215 lbs.
SF Tyler Honeycutt 6'8" 190 lbs.
SG/SF Mike Moser 6'7" 185 lbs.
(After some finger-biting moments due to rumors that USC had scored an upset in his recruitment, Mike Moser committed to UCLA. Class complete.)
Last edited by Wolvie; November 19th, 2008 at 08:00 PM.
November 20th, 2008, 10:32 AM #73
November 20th, 2008, 08:39 PM #74
So Tracy Pierson at Scout.com just wrote up his overlook on the Bruins' 2009 recruiting class. He and Greg Hicks are both very upbeat on the quality of the class. Pierson doesn't think that Scout.com will rank the class near the top, but top 5 is possible, and in his opinion the UCLA incoming class is close to North Carolina's "#1 recruiting class" and actually better than Texas' "#2 recruiting class." Because Pierson and Hicks are West Coast scouts, they know the West Coast kids really well, but a lot of rankings depend on the opinions of scouts from other regions. But since a preponderance of talent comes out of the West Coast, and since they do get to see some of the non-West Coast kids, Pierson at least feels we're going to be underrated by most rankings. Hicks and Pierson flat out dislike some of the West Coast kids that UNC and Texas took.
Here are some brief summaries of Pierson and Hicks' opinions:
Moser - Think Corey Brewer or Luc Richard Mbah-a-Moute. A "freak of an athlete" and quick enough at 6'7" to guard 2's. Not seen enough nationally, and not a great shooter (but has a great stroke) so very underrated by lists. (And he's still in everyone's top 100.) The kind of underrated athletic kid Howland will turn into a shutdown defender and 1st round pick, a la Russell Westbrook. At one point, it looked like we might lay an enormous goose egg on elite wings for this class, the most critical need in 2009, and in the end we landed the two best wings on the West Coast (Honeycutt being the other). You can find some of his highlight reel dunks on youtube...
Honeycutt - He rose quickly up the rankings this year. As the best small forward on the West Coast, one of the two best shot-blockers on the West Coast in the entire 2009 class (the other being center Anthony Stover), great passer, very good shooter, and an underrated rebounder (outstanding per Howland). Top 25 nationally, and an early flight risk.
Stover - A true center but somewhat raw, which means he'll probably be around for more than two years. "Stover is a player we’ve always liked and the national experts caught on this last summer. Whether his national ranking is fitting or not, he has some of the best upside among any player in the national class, with good athleticism and exceptional length, which makes him play even bigger... A few years down the line, when Stover has been in the program, and benefitted from a strength regimen, it’s exciting to think about his potential." - Tracy Pierson
Nelson - Lost some quickness as he bulked up to play football, then got hurt playing football which dropped him off of a lot of scouting radars. Still a top 100 guy, but as high as top 20 before a forgettable summer/fall. Duke was hard after him. A touch short for a power forward, but a tenacious rebounder and still best suited to play the 4. "If perhaps his loss of some explosion last spring was due to the injury, and he can regain it, he’s probably the most under-rated player on the top 100 national list." - Tracy Pierson
Lane - Prototypical Howland #4: good size, good feet, good hands, good rebounder, good mid-range shooter, good energy, good feel, good defender. "Lane also was affected by injury. When he started playing in late spring and summer, he had been off for a few months, recovering from an ankle injury. He never really got in sync for the summer, and didn’t show the capability he had displayed the summer before." - Tracy Pierson
Last edited by Wolvie; November 20th, 2008 at 08:45 PM.
February 4th, 2009, 04:51 PM #75
So, the rumor floating around the internets is that UCLA has climbed into bed with Renardo Sidney.
In Howland's defense, Sidney has reportedly cleaned up his act on and off the court. But this is still a one-and-done no matter what.
Sidney is scheduled to take the SAT in March, and if he doesn't qualify he's not coming. If he does, a lot of insiders say that UCLA will magically find a scholarship to give him.
It's getting really interesting on the scout.com boards. A few insiders are arguing about where that scholarship will come from. One said Jrue Holiday is going into the draft, which makes sense. But another insists he's staying, and the recent OC Register piece on him implies that as well. The scholarship could also come from Mike Roll, who is rumored to have offered to walk-on next year and pay his own way. He would become a 5th year walk-on, which apparently his family can easily afford. Another scenario is Dragovic playing in Europe, long his rumored plan, to support his parents financially.
With one more ride, UCLA would take Renardo Sidney. The class becomes #1 in the nation, automatically. It would probably be the only class in history where a school took 6 top 100 players all between 6'8" and 6'10". (Well, Moser is probably not really 6'8" but he's at least 6'6".)
There are mixed emotions about the possibility of Sidney coming. His immaturity and questions about character and his family looking for a payout have many feeling that he's not worth the risk, whatever the upside.
But if you're a Sidney fan, the worst case scenario is Jrue Holiday leaving. It leaves us extremely thin in the backcourt and pretty much forces Moser into early duty as a backup SG. You'd have two green sophomores, Lee and Anderson, running the point.
However, Jrue Holiday reportedly went on a recruiting trip with Howland to see Sidney, so maybe that won't happen.
The best case scenario if you're a Sidney fan is that he qualifies, Roll walks-on, and your lineup looks like this:
C Gordon, Morgan, Stover
PF Sidney, Keefe, Dragovic, Nelson, Lane
SF Honeycutt, Moser
SG Roll, Lee
PG Holiday, Anderson
That, my friends, would represent the single most talented roster in the last 3+ decades of Pacific-10 basketball. I would pencil us in as national champions if that goes down.
Last edited by Wolvie; February 4th, 2009 at 04:53 PM.
February 4th, 2009, 11:00 PM #76
Oh, and Reeves Nelson was involved in a car accident. He was intoxicated, but the driver was not.
Reportedly, per his dad, his UCLA scholarship is not in jeopardy.
Last edited by Wolvie; February 6th, 2009 at 01:21 AM.
Reason: Erroneously wrote that driver was intoxicated - driver was sober but stupid, and trashed his dad's car trying to pull donuts
February 17th, 2009, 11:21 PM #77
Renardo Sidney will announce his decision this Sunday.
Sources are predicting it will be UCLA, as I brought up earlier.
Quite a conclusion to an odd saga, if/when it happens.
Still no 6th scholarship in that class, so something will have to give...
February 18th, 2009, 05:05 AM #78
wow, for a big man, Renardo has a nice j
February 19th, 2009, 09:06 PM #79
So the latest is that the UCLA athletics department has some misgivings about letting Sidney come. I know I've mentioned before that there were concerns about character and the family's motivations.
It also doesn't help that he hasn't qualified academically yet.
In short, it's not quite the sure thing it sounded like earlier. Seems like Sidney wants us more than we want him.
Personally, I think we're better off as a school without him, but his talent on the court is undeniable.
February 21st, 2009, 03:38 PM #80