Luc’s a Ghost (of Final Fours Past): Why in the Dickens would Mbah a Moute make his NBA Future his Present, when, without a guarantee, he could get Scrooged?
Luc-haters got an early Christmas gift yesterday, when the player that they think is an instant turnover left his name in the NBA Draft. UCLA Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will not be back for his Senior Season, opting instead to spin the wheel and hope for some NBA Team to take a chance on him.
Mbah a Moute could have hit for the Final Four Cycle — Next season he could have Started his FOURTH STRAIGHT Final Four. But the chance at that rare feat was sacrificed, and maybe for nothing. Luc is expected to get drafted late in the 2nd Round, but it’s possible that he won’t get drafted at all. Luc would not have bailed on the Bruins if he thought that he’d be playing in the NBDL, or in Italy, this year.
Luc has worked out for several NBA teams, but the reactions seem to confirm what Luc’s detractors love to harp on: He still can’t hit an outside shot, and he still can’t dribble the ball to the hoop without turning it over. Sadly, he could have really improved those two flaws in his game while playing for a College team that is going to destroy most of its competition. But that won’t be the case, so it’s possible that his undisputedly awesome Defensive and Rebounding talent could never make it to the NBA.
Of course, Luc knows all of these possible outcomes, but he has more to consider. He still plans on graduating, since he has only 5 or 6 classes left, so Academics or hurting UCLA’s APR were not issues. But he MUST have been thinking about injuries. As a guy who has spent a lot of days on crutches, Luc doesn’t want to lose his shot at the Pro’s due to another injury.
And something else that he could be considering is whether he might be overshadowed by the incoming crop of phenoms. Luc would have still been the Starter, but there would have been several new guys and a few old guys pushing for his minutes. If someone like James Keefe continued to progress, and if Luc still was an Offensive liability, Luc would have lost playing time, and would have fallen off all the mock draft boards. Unfortunately for UCLA, this gloomy vision wouldn’t have transpired. Because of what MATTERS most to Ben Howland, Luc would have been one of the Stars of the team, and would have ended up a sure-fire 1st Round Draft Pick, with a guaranteed contract, after next year. And he might have even gotten an NCAA Championship. Of course, with North Carolina getting all their possible early-entries back, the Tarheels would probably have made Luc a four-time Final Four Starter loser. But lots of things can happen between now and then, like Jrue Holiday being the second coming of Paul Pierce, so NO ONE is conceding the Banner to Tobacco Road just yet.
Despite the disappointment, GOOD LUCK TO LUC. No hard feelings here. How can you not appreciate all the hard work, undying effort, blood, sweat, tears, and HEART that “The Prince” gave freely to UCLA? Luc was a credit to UCLA for his whole time in Westwood, and at his final Bruin Press Conference, he even announced that he will “always be a Bruin.” Amen to that.
And one last wonder — Will Luc’s departure make fellow Cameroonian waffler Alfred Aboya quicker to also leave? Would Aboya MISS the clicking comraderie of his Countryman, OR, will he be more likely to stay, because his chance for playing time just increased a little?
In honor of Luc, here are a dozen Luc and Dance Team pics from the 2007 Elite Eight victory over Kansas, the team that won it all, the following year. Mouse over them for hidden captions, and then click on them to engorge your screen with them.