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UCLA FYI

Seniors honored after winning careers

Josh Shipp, Darren Collison and Alfred Aboya put up impressive numbers in Westwood.

March 08, 2009|David Wharton

With a pregame ceremony that featured mothers and fathers and Coach Ben Howland giving hugs at midcourt, UCLA bid goodbye to its winningest class in school history.

The designation is relative: During much of Coach John Wooden's heyday, seasons were shorter and freshmen ineligible.

Still, the 20th-ranked Bruins' 94-68 victory over Oregon on Saturday added to impressive numbers that seniors Alfred Aboya, Darren Collison and Josh Shipp have amassed since arriving in Westwood.

No player has won more games as a Bruin than Aboya, who notched his 116th victory. He also played in his 138th game, a school record he shares with Collison.

Collison entered the Oregon game ranked third all-time in steals and fifth in assists.

Shipp, a fifth-year senior, surpassed former Bruin Earl Watson by making the 130th start of his career.

Howland also praised Collison and Shipp for being on track to graduate in history and sociology, respectively, and Aboya for working toward a master's degree in public policy.

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Good ol' days

There was another ceremony Saturday, honoring members of the 1969 national championship team.

The Bruins started that season 25-0 before losing to USC at Pauley Pavilion. Then they stormed through the NCAA tournament for a third consecutive title.

Former assistant Denny Crum attended the halftime event, as did starters including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lynn Shackelford.

Wooden, 98, recovering from pneumonia, was not able to attend.

"I'm sure Coach is watching right now," Abdul-Jabbar said, "because he keeps an eye on us."

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Interest level

How concerned was UCLA about the Washington-Washington State game?

With their conference fate being decided in Seattle, a game that tipped off later in the afternoon, some of the Bruins weren't even planning to watch on television.

"I'll probably go home and take a nap," Shipp said. "I'm pretty tired."

Howland sounded similarly blase, though he acknowledged: "I did tell the team that I'll probably say a little prayer for [Washington State]."

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david.wharton@latimes.com

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