Ben Howland likes what he sees from young Bruins
Like the home court being renovated around them, the UCLA Bruins are far from a finished product.
But Coach Ben Howland proclaimed himself excited about his team after an 84-59 exhibition victory over Cal State Los Angeles on Tuesday night at Pauley Pavilion.
“This is a young team,” Howland said, “but I’m encouraged.”
The injury-plagued Bruins made the most of their eight available scholarship players, with sophomore Tyler Honeycutt getting 15 points and 15 rebounds and freshman guard Tyler Lamb adding a game-high 17 points off the bench.
Sophomore forward Brendan Lane, starting in place of sophomore Reeves Nelson (strained right hip flexor), had 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Bruins hope to get closer to full strength by the time they open their season Friday against Cal State Northridge and begin a stretch of three games in five days. Howland said Nelson should be able to practice by Thursday.
Freshman guard Matt Carlino, who did not play Tuesday after suffering a concussion in practice, will be reassessed Thursday.
Freshman center Joshua Smith had six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes while playing with a heavily wrapped right thumb that he acknowledged was a big reason he took only three shots.
“I just wanted to go up and down and get rebounds and assists,” Smith said.
One and done?
Norman Powell, a shooting guard from San Diego Lincoln High, is expected to be the only player to sign with UCLA on Wednesday. That doesn’t necessarily mean Powell will be the only newcomer next season.
UCLA technically has only one scholarship to offer because it has a roster with 12 scholarship players and no seniors.
But Howland acknowledged his coaching staff continues to seek insurance in case one or more underclassmen depart for the NBA.
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