Tuesday, April 08, 2008

UPDATED: On The Plus Side, UCLA Will Get Younger

UPDATE: Apparently the reports are false, for now. Love and Collison both say they haven't even talked to their families about their decisions yet, and as such, no decisions have been made. Either someone has made something up, or was bamboozled. Still, I'll leave this up in the event that a week from now, this information becomes relevant again.

Kevin Love? Gone
Darren Collison? Gone
Russel Westbrook? Leaning towards going.

And that's just the beginning.

According to both the L.A. Times and Brian Dohn, UCLA will likely take the floor next year without their three best players, which really isn't a surprise to anyone who's been following the team for the past few months. Love and Collison were expected to go before the season even started, and Westbrook's draft status has been on the rise all season.

As Nestor pointed out, there is a scenario in which up to eight players on this year's roster could be gone. Lorenzo Mata-Real is graduating. LRMAM will likely put his name into the draft and get evaluated before making a decision to hire an agent. Alfred Aboya has hinted that he may not return after earning his degree this year. Nikola Dragovic, hurting for playing time, may head back to Europe. And finally, Josh Shipp may decide that four years and the exit of the rest of his draft class is a sign that he's been around long enough.

So what happens if all of this comes to pass? Well, Ben Howland picked a good year to bring in a number one recruiting class, and he may not be done. There are some big man prospects that could fill out the class. It means that Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson are going to see a ton of playing time in their first year, which will be good for Lee and Anderson, since they're the only two likely to be back in 2009-2010. Sucks for Holiday, who will be around in a rebuilding year, then gone.

So next year's team will be interesting to watch, and great to root for, but I wouldn't expect too much. It took the Farmar, Afflalo, Shipp, Mata class two years to reach the championship game. UCLA will be down, but not out. Best of luck to all of those Bruins, whatever they decide.

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