Lamb transfers to Long Beach St.

Former UCLA guard Tyler Lamb picked a destination today after deciding transfer out on Nov. 25, three days before center Josh Smith elected to do the same. A week after Smith decided on Georgetown, Lamb announced that he will head 33 miles down the 405 to Long Beach State.

The junior guard also visited UNLV last month before settling on the 49ers and San Diego State as his final two choices. Continue reading

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Josh Smith leaving UCLA

UCLA center Josh Smith is transferring from UCLA, becoming the second Bruin to leave the program in less than a week.

According to BruinReportOnline, Smith told athletic director Dan Guerrero his decision Wednesday. The 6-foot-10 junior did not show up to practice Tuesday.

The once promising NBA prospect has struggled with weight after being named to the All-Pac-10 Freshman team. He reportedly was working to slim down over the offseason, but didn’t produce results — or look more svelte — when he stepped on the court. Through six games, he averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. He averaged 10.9 points as a freshman and 9.9 as a sophomore.

His departure comes just three days after junior guard Tyler Lamb announced his intent to transfer. Lamb had played just 14 minutes this year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, scoring four points in the season opener against Indiana State.

The team now has just eight scholarship players on its roster. Smith and Lamb were also the only players who had played in old Pauley Pavilion.

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Tyler Lamb announces intent to transfer

UCLA junior guard Tyler Lamb will transfer out after the fall quarter, the school announced Sunday morning. A local Mater Dei product, Lamb said he has not yet chosen a new collegiate destination.

Lamb is the latest example of a troubling trend within one of the country’s blue-blooded basketball programs: losing transfers. The more prominent departures include: Chace Stanback and Mike Moser, who averaged a combined 26.5 points and 14.9 rebounds for UNLV last season; Drew Gordon, who averaged 13.7 and 11.1 for New Mexico a year ago; and Matt Carlino, who became BYU’s staring point guard before recording a stat with UCLA.

“We are very sad to see Tyler leave our program,” head coach Ben Howland said in a statement. “He is a great kid, and we have really enjoyed having him play for UCLA. We fully support his decision, and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Lamb started in 32 of 33 games last year, averaging 9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists along the way. He was bumped out of the rotation this year by both health and new talent, playing in just one game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in his left knee on Oct. 9. However, he wouldn’t have cracked the starting five even without the injury; the additions of Larry Drew II — who transferred from UNC — and freshmen Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams left Lamb to watch his playing time wither as he recovered.

“I would like to thank the University, Coach Howland and his staff for the unparalleled opportunity to have been a part of UCLA’s program,” Lamb said in a statement. “However, I believe that it is in my best interest to find a new destination where I can continue to grow, both as a person and as a basketball player. I am eternally grateful to my coaches and teammates for everything they have given me, and I wish them the best going forward.”

He is also one of several Mater Dei players to leave their original programs. Two players from his high school class, Gary Franklin and Keala King, are already on new teams. Franklin transferred from Cal to Baylor in 2011, while ASU dismissed King in January.

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Anderson has bone contusion, is game-time decision for Thursday

Freshman point forward Kyle Anderson will be a game-time decision for UCLA’s Thursday night game against James Madison. He was tested Wednesday after injuring his hand Tuesday night; preliminary results from an X-ray were negative, and an MRI indicated a bone contusion.

Anderson left briefly in the first half of the 80-79 overtime win over UC Irvine after he dove for a loose ball and landed on his right hand. Bruins head coach Ben Howland said that in watching film, he noticed that Anderson tripped over a cameraman’s foot on the baseline. Unlike photographers, the cameraman shot video was permitted to position himself closer to the court.

“I don’t like that rule at this point,” Howland said. “That’s not a UCLA rule, that’s a conference rule.”

Anderson shot just 2 of 7 from the free throw line against the Anteaters.

Junior guard Tyler Lamb, who is recovering from knee surgery, is also a game-time decision for Thursday’s tipoff against JMU.

Other notes:

— Four-star recruit Zach LaVine, who committed to UCLA in June, has officially signed his letter of intent. The 6-foot-4 combo guard out of Washington’s Bothell High is expected to play more of a shooting guard role next year, although Larry Drew’s graduation and Anderson’s potential departure for the NBA draft leaves a gap at the one spot.

“He is going to be a very good player,” Howland said. “Can really shoot it. … He’s got a lot of upside. He went from 6 feet going into his junior year and is now about 6-foot-4 going into his senior year.”

— Although the Bruins held UC Irvine to 39.7 percent from the field, their defensive performance was still a patchwork affair. The Anteaters shot 10 of 22 from beyond the arc, including two in the final three minutes that gave them a two-point lead. If it weren’t for Jordan Adam’s late free throws — and UCI’s subsequent missed free throws — UCLA likely would have lost in regulation.

“Our sense of urgency on defense was not great,” Howland said. “You could see the freshmen are all learning stuff for the first time. That last 3-point shot by (Michael) Wilder, Jordan had no clue. That guy was curling around and got a wide open three. These freshmen are going to make a lot of mistakes defensively. Kyle’s trying to learn how to play defense at this level for this first time. Everybody made mistakes.”

— The Bruins were outrebounded 51-39 Tuesday night, and were beat 16-8 on the offensive boards.

“Norman (Powell) continues to leak out on the shot like we’ve got Patrick Ewing down there rebounding for us,” Howland said. “That’s not the case. There was a lot of scramble situations. They beat us to a lot of those. Again, credit Irvine.”

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