Photo credit: AP Photo – Danny Moloshok
Got to love UCLA’s outspoken sophomore Reeves Nelson (above) and freshman center Joshua Smith who called Oregon sophomore forward E.J. Singler a dirty player after their first game, a 67-59 Bruins victory on Jan. 15 at Matthew Knight Arena.
As UCLA prepares for tonight’s rematch, he’s not back pedaling away from his comments.
He told the Los Angeles Times: “I’m not going to try and bad-mouth the kid because I know he plays hard, but I’m just going to try and not let his cheap shots get in my head this game because I wasn’t used to that ever. That’s the first time in the Pac-10 that I’ve ever really experienced something like that with a player.
“I’ve talked to other people I know in the league about it, and he is just really a scrappy player and sometimes he does things that a lot of people aren’t used to. That’s just how he plays the game.”
GAME DAY LINKS:
— Bud Withers opines the one-and-done rule is harming the NCAA.
— In light of Washington’s recent backcourt struggles, Abdul Gaddy’s absence becomes more noticeable.
— California coach Mike Montgomery tells the News Tribune the Huskies are more aggressive at home than they are on the road.
— And there’s more on the Hec Ed crowd. Cal senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison told the San Francisco Chronicle: “They have great fan support. We have to jump on them early. It’s pretty hard to quiet their crowd.”
— Washington State gets a lift from two reserve freshmen: Will DiIorio and Patrick Simon.
— Nice profile feature on Ducks big man Joevan Catron in the Oregonian.
— Looks like the youth movement is in full effect at Oregon State where the Beavers are starting a lineup filled with underclassmen.
— When you’re not playing well, it’s always a good idea to remind the folks how bad the program was when you took over. It’s a good strategy and USC’s Kevin O’Neill is making use of it. The Trojans are 28-25 under the second-year coach inherited a team saddled a NCAA investigation, a postseason ban, scholarship reductions, recruiting limitations and probation.
— Here’s the latest on the fiasco at Cal. The school wants to eliminate five varsity sports, but doing so would violate the Title IX laws and forced Cal eliminate 80 male scholarships.