Weekly Q&A — 1/19/13 Answers

Sorry the answers are up later than usual. Felt some flu-like symptoms Sunday night.

Q: Do you think Tyler Foreman and Johnny Johnson will receive immediate playing time in the defensive backfield?

Yes, though that might change if UCLA also ends up getting both Tahaan Goodman and Priest Willis. Randall Goforth will certainly get one of the three vacant starter spots, but the other two are still unsettled. Former four-star recruit Ishmael Adams will also make his debut after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury.

Q: Could you explain how an early entry works? Is there a limit on the number, and if so, how is it computed?

If this means for the NFL draft, there is no limit overall. A player simply has wait three years after his high school class graduates and declare by Jan. 15. There were a record 74 early entrants this year. If you meant early enrollment, the player just has to be done with high school. If the school’s previous signing class was under the limit of 25 players, early enrollments can be back-counted toward that.

Q: With 22 offers in football, does Jim Mora need to persuade some current players to transfer? Any word on who these might be? Any medical retirements?

I will try to find out more about this, but I have not heard word of medical retirements. Dietrich Riley has participated in light workouts for most of the season and expects to be full go for spring. Offensive lineman Greg Capella might be a candidate for medical retirement after sitting out almost the entire season with concussion symptoms.

Q: Any word on whether or not UCLA will allow parents and the public access to Pro Day in March? Was the policy change last year Mora’s call?

Will let you know about Pro Day as soon as I find out, thought I’d bet against public access. I don’t know if Mora was the one who initially came up with the idea last year, but it at least had his approval.

Q: Do you think Shabazz Muhammad is rushing his shots too often? Why doesn’t he pass the ball more often? Was that a problem for UCLA in the Oregon game?

His shot looks OK, or at least similar to how it has in recent weeks. It just hasn’t been falling all that often recently, which is sort of how it goes with high-volume shooters. He’s never been much of a playmaker in terms of his passing, however — just doesn’t seem to have the natural instincts to do that. His signature is pure effort, which manifests itself in hard drives to the lane and rebounds, though he clearly does go harder for boards on offense than on defense. I don’t think his lack of passing in particular hurt the team against the Ducks since it’s not something he’s contributed before.

Q: What do you make of Howland’s player rotation? What does David Wear do better than Tony Parker to deserve more minutes? Is our team’s problem Larry Drew? Do you think Kyle Anderson is staying another year?

Tony Parker deserves more than five minutes per game, but David Wear is more polished offensively and doesn’t foul as much. That said, Parker obviously has a much higher ceiling while Wear is a known quantity. The Oregon loss prompted Howland to admit for the first time that Parker should have gotten more minutes, so we’ll see if he follows through at Arizona. Norman Powell has consistently played a little under 20 minutes per game; I don’t think he can really find more unless Jordan Adams starts playing less.

UCLA does need Larry Drew to play well, so I wouldn’t pin struggles on him. Sometimes the Bruins do look better at times with Anderson as a full-time distributor, but he’s also needed as the team’s best rebounder and has functioned well as a do-it-all glue guy. Anderson should stay another year for his own development, but he’s played well recently and 2014 will be a much stronger draft than 2013.

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  • Marc

    Jack, thanks for answering the question regarding minutes doled out to the BBall players. As a follow up, and was in original question to a degree; what do you think, or what is the general thought regarding the pulling of a player like Powell after a crowd pleasing dunk. Even the TV announcer seemed to be confused by that. Also, all hail to the Deadhead Bill Walton for dropping some Dead references during the broadcast Thursday night as well for his pointed critique of Ben Howland and the state of UCLA BBall.

    • Sorry for the late response. I try not to harp on the idea of a “hot hand,” but also don’t see very good reason to pull a player right after a dunk — barring an obvious attempt to showboat. Wasn’t the case with Powell.

  • Marc

    Jack – you got a long way to go. When is your job review up? My vote at this point in time? Get with it or get on. Dohn, Gold and Melendez all openly communicated with the commenters on this blog; that’s all part of this Web 2.0 deal everyone’s talking about.

    Thank you for your kind consideration.

  • Army Bruin

    Dear Ben: The definition of insanity, is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Time for U to move on and getting someone who has a clue to coach our boys. Chalk to up as one of many votes to send Howland packing.. How many more transfer do we need or poor performances.