UCLA Coach Ben Howland Describes Bruins Changes and Improvements In Interview

October 29, 2010

Los Angeles, California -- We caught up with UCLA Bruins Men's Basketball Coach Ben Howland at Pac-10 Media Day Thursday, and he gave fans a quick glimpse into some of things they can expect to see from this year's squad.

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

Q: Coach, you've been trying to push the players to go more uptempo in practice this year. Defensively, are you going to extend a little bit more full court as well? 
A: No, probably not. But we are definitely trying to push it harder and get some easy baskets in transition.

Q: Will Lazeric Jones be the starter at point over Jerime Anderson?
A: Still haven't decided, but they both are going to play. But he definitely helps us. More depth at that position for sure.

Q: How do you see Josh Smith at this point in his development relative to Kevin Love when he first entered the program as a freshman?
A: Kevin was a First Team All-American. MVP of the Pac-10. I think that's beyond realisitic expectations for Josh right now. That's a special, special player. But I think Josh is going to be really good, and I'm excited about him. I think he will have a good solid freshman year. What Kevin did was unbelievable.

Q: Yeah, he was one of those rare players who met all the lofty preseason expectations.
A: He actually exceeded them.

Q: Do you see Tyler Lamb getting some minutes early in the year?
A: He'll play a lot of minutes. Definitely going to play a lot of minutes.

Q: What has jumped out about him?
A: His ability to defend for a freshman, I'm surprised at how he's been very good. To the point where he's defended Tyler Honeycutt well at practice.

Q: So then do you see him defending 3's a lot this year?
A: Both positions. He can defend both. Most freshman don't come in ready-made. He's going to make mistakes, but he's going to be good right away.

Q: How has Malcolm Lee looked thus far? Has he continued to progress and improve?
A: I'm excited about Malcolm and his progression. I think he's going to have a good year. He worked very hard to recover from knee surgery in the offseason, and he's come along very well.

Q: In the half court, where do you see the points coming from this year?
A: It will be a balance, I hope, between inside-outside. I hope that Reeves and Josh give us real good low post presence. Then we can get good scoring out of Honeycutt, Malcolm Lee, and Jones. Jones is a pretty good shooter, so he'll be able to make some perimeter shots.

Q: Do you think Josh Smith's offensive post game is advanced enough where he can command a double-team?
A: Oh yeah. He will. He will.

Q: He's a good passer out of the post?
A: Very good passer. He's a load offensively, I think, for a guy one-on-one. If we get him the ball in the right area, he's going to get fouled a lot close to the basket. He's so big and strong and wide, he is going to be a very good offensive player. He can pass, sees [the floor], and is unselfish. He's so big and strong one-on-one he's going to be a tough guard.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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