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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Some point blanks for UCLA's Malcolm Lee

Considered an off guard coming from Riverside North High, he appears to still be evolving as a floor leader for the Bruins.

January 30, 2010|By Chris Foster

Reporting from Corvallis, Ore. — The guy brought to UCLA to play point guard this season is doing fine.

Jrue Holiday has started the last four games for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The guy who is actually playing point guard for UCLA has had his struggles. Malcolm Lee, considered an off guard coming from Riverside North High, was one for nine shooting in a 71-66 overtime loss to Oregon on Thursday.

With Jerime Anderson injured, Lee has had to handle most of the point guard duties, logging 37 minutes against Oregon's press. The 6-foot-4 Lee will be tested again today when the Bruins (9-11 overall, 4-4 in Pacific 10 Conference play) visit Oregon State (9-11, 3-5).

"They are very aggressive, trapping, trying to get steals," Coach Ben Howland said. "It has caused people problems."

The Bruins would seem primed to have trouble. Lee appears to still be evolving as a floor leader. The blueprint had him as an off guard with Holiday handling the ball.

But Holiday bolted to the NBA after his freshman season. That left Lee, with Anderson injured, as the primary option.

"I think it helps him a lot [to play point]," Howland said when asked if he recruited Lee to be a point guard. "Is he a natural? Russell Westbrook wasn't a natural to begin with. He is in the NBA now, starting at the point."

Lee was not available to talk to the media about his development as a point guard, but Howland's take was that Lee still had to "learn to keep the ball low and keep himself low, because he's going against guys, like last night, who are 5-6 and 6 foot."

Lee did have six assists in the game and turned the ball over only twice. He had six turnovers against Washington State last Saturday.

Anderson is expected to be available after playing only nine minutes in the last three weeks because of a hip flexor injury.

Howland hopes that Anderson can play 10 to 15 minutes.

Etc.

Howland said that with Anderson returning, guard Michael Roll and forward Nikola Dragovic can get more rest. Both played 44 minutes against Oregon. . . . Center J'mison Morgan (torn quadriceps) did not make the trip, but Howland said he hoped the sophomore would be able to practice Monday. . . . UCLA has been swept in Oregon only five times in the last 45 seasons.

chris.foster@latimes.com

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