February 27, 2008

Ben Howland meets the press

UCLA head coach Ben Howland had his customary meeting with the media on Tuesday. He covered many topics, including the very talented and emerging swing guard Russell Westbrook. Other topics included Josh Shipp's missing jump shot, the forthcoming NCAA Tournament and the possibilities for the Pac 10 in tournament play.

Howland: "Russell (Westbrook) sprained his ankle, and that was a pretty good sprain that he had in the game and he came back out there. I asked our trainer, 'How is he able to come back out?' It's very similar to Luc's almost, but he's sprained it so many other times…Russell stretched out those ligaments many times so therefore he's able to come back. Even though he had soreness and will be sore today he should be able to practice. When I watched on film, he really turned it good."

How do teams change things the second time through the league?

Howland: "For example, Arizona State changed a little bit in terms of some of the emphasis of what they are offensively. They're still doing the same defense - a match-up 3-2 zone with a lot of man-to-man principles. They're starting (Rihards Kuksiks) at the four. He's a very good shooter. He's really shot the ball well, so they're a little different in that respect.

"Our preparation for an opponent, in terms of how we do it, doesn't change. It's just based on personnel, what they're doing different, if they're doing something different than the first time."

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