UCLA sophomore center J’mison “Bobo” Morgan was dismissed from the program on Tuesday, head coach Ben Howland announced.
Morgan was rumored to have been looking to transfer, but Howland preempted the move with this decision, which comes on the heels of a disappointing season for Morgan.
A highly touted recruit out of Dallas, Morgan had difficulty finding court time despite little post depth for the Bruins. Morgan averaged 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 8.7 minutes per game for UCLA, which finished 14-18 and out of the postseason for the first time since 2003-04.
“It’s just there’s a point in time where you have to move forward, and I just felt it was in our best interest in the program, as well as for him,” Howland said during a conference call with reporters. “He’s leaving here in good standing academically, and he’ll be better for the experience here, not only as a player but as a person.”
Morgan came to UCLA as part of a quintet of “future superstars,” alongside guards Jrue Holiday, Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee and forward Drew Gordon. Labeled the top recruiting class in the nation by many, the group has been a disappointment, and now only Lee and Anderson remain. Gordon transferred six games into the season to New Mexico and Holiday entered the NBA Draft after his freshman season and was selected with the 14th pick for the Philadelphia 76ers, for whom he now averages 7.7 points in 23 minutes per game.
Daniels Gone to Gonzaga
UCLA’s tumultuous Tuesday continued with the announcement that assistant coach Donny Daniels was leaving to become Mark Few’s top assistant at Gonzaga.
Daniels, who left a head coaching gig at Cal State Fullerton to join Howland’s staff in 2003-04, replaces Leon Rice, named head coach at Boise State last week.
“We lost a phenomenal coach and person, but we’ve gained a phenomenal coach and person,” Few said. “We were able to hit a home run with our hire. He’s been on the bench for four Final Fours. He recruited those guys, developed them and coached them. He’s flat out one of the best assistants in the country.”
Daniels was named one of Rivals.com’s top 25 college basketball recruiters in 2004 and coached for Rick Majeras at Utah from 1990-2000.
Howland said that he would wait to replace Daniels until after the recruiting season is through, presumably in late-April.
“I’ll be getting a lot of phone calls relative to that, but there won’t be any rush to do anything,” Howland said. “We’re not allowed to go (out much) in the spring because of the AAU Tournaments, but I’ll be out (recruiting) as many days I can be out.”
Hillock to CSUN?
UCLA director of basketball operations Joe Hillock has applied for the vacant Cal State Northridge women’s basketball head coach position he said on Tuesday.
Hillock coached the Southern Utah women’s team for 10 years and, while happy at UCLA, would like to get back into coaching.
“There’s no rehab for coaching addiction,” Hillock said with a laugh. “UCLA is the best; it’s absolutely the top tier of everything. The relationships I have with the people there, the people I work with, and I owe so much to Coach Howland for everything. But still, you’re always sitting back there, and if you’ve coached before, and you can’t get it out of your system, you always want to get back in.”