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UCLA at a glance Last season: 18-11 overall, 11-7...

November 15, 2005

UCLA at a glance

Last season: 18-11 overall, 11-7 Pacific 10 Conference.

* Finish: Tied for third in the conference, lost to Texas Tech, 78-66, in a first-round NCAA tournament game played at Tucson. It was UCLA's first appearance in the tournament in three years. UCLA's starting guards, Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo, combined to shoot two for 13 from the field in their season-ending game.

* Coach: Ben Howland, third season, 29-28.

* Who's gone: Dijon Thompson, Brian Morrison, Josiah Johnson, Matt McKinney.

* Projected starters: Assuming all of the injured return at full strength, which may be a big assumption: Guards Farmar (13.2 points, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals) and Afflalo (10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists); forwards Josh Shipp (9.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals) and Alfred Aboya (18.0 points, 12.0 rebounds as a high school senior); center Michael Fey (8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds).

* Keys to season: Can the frontcourt keep up with the backcourt? That was already questionable considering that Farmar and Afflalo figure to be even better than they were in their freshman year with a season of experience to draw upon. Add dazzling freshman Darren Collison and the Bruins appear solid at the perimeter. The key to the frontcourt was going to be the play of forwards Shipp, a sophomore, and Aboya, a freshman. The key now is whether Shipp and Aboya can even play, and if so, how effectively, considering that Shipp is recovering from hip surgery and Aboya from knee surgery. Somebody is going to have to make up for the production of departed Thompson (18.4 points and 7.9 rebounds) and get the ball in Farmar's hands.

* Outlook: It looked like a promising season, so much so that the Bruins were ranked 19th in the Associated Press preseason poll and third in a Pac-10 preseason poll. And if Howland can finally put the doctors and the trainers in his rearview mirror and go back to concentrating on basketball with a team at full strength, those projections may hold up. If not, or if it takes the Bruins too long to make up for the amount of practice time as a complete unit that has already been lost, it could turn out to be a long and frustrating season in Westwood.

*

UCLA roster

Jordan Farmar (guard) -- No. 1, 6-2, 185, So.: With maturity gained from his first season and strength gained from a summer in the weight room, he could dribble his way onto the national stage.

* Darren Collison (guard) -- No. 2, 6-0, 155, Fr.: He's already caught the coach's attention with his athleticism and confidence, no small feat for a freshman playing behind Farmar.

* Josh Shipp (forward) -- No. 3, 6-5, 207, So.: Coach Ben Howland saw him as the major force in the frontcourt. However, so far Shipp hasn't been seen at all because of hip surgery.

* Arron Afflalo (guard) -- No. 4, 6-5, 210, So.: An accurate outside shooter, a strong defensive force, quick, with good hands, he is the perfect backcourt partner for Farmar.

* DeAndre Robinson (guard) -- No. 5, 6-5, 200, Fr.: A walk-on, he was twice first-team all-league at King High in Riverside.

* Janou Rubin (guard) -- No. 10, 6-3, 208, Sr.: He didn't know whether he'd be back until Monday when the NCAA granted him a sixth season of eligibility because of chronic knee problems.

* Ryan Wright (forward) -- No. 11, 6-8, 225, Fr.: If nothing else, he gets points for creativity, getting the loudest cheer at the team's preseason dunk contest at Pauley Pavilion. Wright threw the ball up on the glass, then whipped off his uniform top before completing the slam.

* Alfred Aboya (forward/center) -- No. 12, 6-8, 233, Fr.: Howland has big plans for him. But they are on hold while Aboya recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery.

* Lorenzo Mata (center) -- No. 14, 6-8, 235, So.: With so many injuries in the frontcourt, Mata has an opportunity to fill the void. So far, he hasn't earned more playing time.

* Ryan Hollins (center) -- No. 15, 7-0 1/2 , 230, Sr.: Seems much improved but still needs to be more of a force on the boards.

* Michael Roll (guard/forward) -- No. 20, 6-5, 205, Fr.: A pure shooter, he could provide instant offense off the bench. Needs to work on the other aspects of his game.

* Cedric Bozeman (guard/forward) -- No. 21, 6-6, 207, Sr.: He's back, after sitting out all of last season because of knee surgery. Looks good on defense and is rebounding well, but his old position, point guard, is taken.

* Kelvin Kim (guard) -- No. 22, 5-10, 165, Fr.: A solid shooter, his appearance on the court is guaranteed to fire up the fans at Pauley, even in extended garbage time.

* Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (forward) -- No. 23, 6-7, 224, Fr.: He has earned a starting role in the injury-depleted frontcourt, impressing Howland with his aggressiveness, especially on the boards.

* Joey Ellis (guard) -- No. 24, 6-2, 180, Fr.: A walk-on redshirt freshman, he is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

* Michael Fey (center) -- No. 45, 7-0, 279, Sr.: The job is his as soon as he can fully recover from the severe groin strain that all but wiped out his participation in preseason practice.

* Nican Robinson (guard) -- No. 55, 5-10, 175, Fr.: Walk-on's father, Sam, played in the NBA. So did his uncle, Paul Pressey. Two other uncles, Rod Martin and Mike Davis Sr., played for the Raiders.

-- Steve Springer

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