Funeral for a Friend?  Not yet, not yet.

Howland replaced Farmar and Afflalo without a hitch, but if Russell, Love, and Collison go…??

Love Lies Bleeding:  Kevin Love pulls the plug on his UCLA career;  Russell Westbrook also declares for the NBA Draft, but neither player hires an Agent

The only viable scenario left that has Kevin Love returning to UCLA for his Sophomore season is one where Kevin sustains an injury.  Where’s Jeff Gillooly when you need him?

Of course we don’t really want the best Bruin Varsity Freshman EVER to suffer an injury — That’s just a testament to how much we will miss him (not to mention how much the TEAM will miss him), as Kevin Love has officially announced his intentions to enter his name into the NBA Draft.  Kevin will NOT hire an Agent yet, but only to maintain his college eligibility in the case of a freak injury that would keep him from getting Drafted.

HERE’S TO YOU, Kevin, for giving Bruin fans 110% of your energy and effort for 12 months, and for living up to the hype (unlike your equally-celebrated “worse half” across town, who also had a Presser on Thursday, to which nobody came).  Also appreciated is Kevin’s OFF-THE-COURT behavior, which has been impeccable from the first day he was recruited.  He did complain about not getting the ball, but he was SO in the right, that you have to cut him some slack.  Especially since his future behavior might include donating to the UCLA Program.

At Kevin’s Press Conference, he talked about staying involved with UCLA after he’s in the Pro’s, to maintain a Legacy in Westwood.  He also talked about staying in school now – he has classes on Mondays and Wednesdays – and about coming back in the future to earn his degree.  Several times he mentioned how his Mom would kill him if he slacked off on Academics.  When a dizzy local Reporter who thought it was Wednesday asked Kevin if he skipped class for the Press Conference, Love said no, and repeated that he hasn’t missed any classes.  Then he realized that it was Thursday, and jokingly accused the “Media” of purposely trying to “catch” him in a lie about an academic violation.  “Oh, you Media!”  It was the kind of charismatic humor that will make Kevin a Star Broadcaster after his 15-20 successful years in the NBA.

And an hour after Kevin announced, his teammate Russell Westbrook took the same stage, and made the same revelations.  Russell will test the waters, and if he projects as a 20th or higher pick, he will be gone.  Many prognosticators have Russell ranked in the Top 20, so the smart money right now would be on Russell joining Kevin – and maybe Darren Collison, who still hasn’t revealed his intentions – in the League.

In between those two Press Conferences, there was another one, in which Nikki Caldwell was introduced as the new Head Coach of the Bruins’ Womens Basketball team.  First-time Head Coach Caldwell has been an Assistant under the John Wooden of the Women’s game – Pat Summitt – at Tennessee for the last 6 years, where the Vols are coming off Back-to-Back National Championships.  Caldwell also played for Summitt, and was the Defensive Star Guard on the ’91 National Championship team.  We have never given any Love to the Womens’ team, but only because whenever we stray to any Bruin teams other than the main two, we get virtually ZERO response.  But if Caldwell can bring a National Championship-contending atmosphere to her Program, then maybe all of that will change. 

Caldwell prides herself — Coaching-wise — on Defense and Rebounding, and she believes in a strict Man-to-Man Defense.  Sound familiar???  What’s more, before she went in to this de facto tribute to Ben Howland, Howland had just come up to me and asked if he could sit on the table next to me.  Just as Rick Neuheisel was present to support Howland during Love’s Presser, Howland was there to support Caldwell.  I couldn’t believe he wanted to sit on a table, but I jumped up and said that it would be an honor to give up my position for HIM.  Seriously!

Instead of rolling his eyes or blowing me off, Howland prolonged direct eye contact with me, thanked me, and gave me a smile that showed that he really appreciated the respect and support, especially on a ultra-traumatic day for him… He really didn’t want Caldwell to get the gig… Just kidding — Of course I meant that it was traumatic to (probably) lose two huge NBA talents who will be nearly impossible to replace overnight.

Below are a dozen more close-up and personal photos from the Press Conference.  Special thanks to Sports Information Director Marc Dellins, for not kicking me out despite my utter lack of credentials, literally, and figuratively.  And the best way I know of to thank him, is to continue to crop him out of pictures where the camera doesn’t do him justice.Is Stan Love really going to start doing TV commercials for Quaker Oats and Medi-care?

No worries — Kevin knows how to grab the spotlight back.

“Show me the money!  (These suits ain’t cheap!)”

NO REGRETS!  Does this look like a guy who has any doubt about his decision?

Even though he has our FULL LOVE and SUPPORT, it still feels like a kick in the Love Sack.

“Jim, why do you ask me questions that force me to repeat my answers from five minutes ago?”

Forget Love’s charisma — MATA-REAL is the next Star Bruin Broadcaster!

Russell said emphatically that in the NBA, he’ll be a POINT GUARD, not a SHOOTING Guard (Good thing).

BRACE yourself:  The Nikki Caldwell Era has arrived.

When someone leaves early, it hurts, but not as much as when someone crosses over to the Dark Side.

Why do we hate them?  BEE-cause, who else would perpetrate a “Drive-By Killer Bee Swarm Home Delivery?”  Thanks for the honey, guys.  No one even got stung.  What’s next, locusts?

Catching a Buzz?  [Same picture, just a closer-up look, for those who don’t know to click on the pics to enlarge/zoom in.]


3 responses to “LOVE TAPS”

  1. UCLADavid Avatar

    When are they going to issue you a press credential? Your site is as credible as any other blog site I’ve seen out there.

  2. Brent Fishman Avatar
    Brent Fishman

    Why can’t something be put into scholorships that pretty much say if you don’t stay the 4 years or until you get a deploma you must stay in school and not go to the pro’s. The only out clause is, if you repay all the tuition, housing, ect that you got for free. This way it will force more kids to stay in school longer. Then again we want OJ II to bail and leave ASAP. Also with the freshman class coming in what makes us think 1 or even both the star’s wont bail after year 1. Something needs to be done in the NBA and NCAA to stop this!

  3. Josephine Bruin Avatar
    Josephine Bruin

    nice pics – love the one of mata-real interviewing westbrook.