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SoCalHoops College News

Two Bruins Gone; Kapono Really
Considering A Jump? Maybe--(May 8, 2000)

Last Tuesday, Jerome Moiso (6'-10 So. PF) and Jaron Rush (6'-7" So. SG/SF) both announced publicly at a press conference that they were declaring for the NBA.  UCLA issued a press release last week which we posted in the Daily Articles.  And on Tuesday of last week, Jaron and Jerome both spoke to the media, and if you want to catch the audio of their press conference, (you'll need Real Audio to listen) here's the link.  Just about everyone, including even the UCLA coaching staff saw this coming.  But last week, the LA Times also floated a story about how Jason Kapono hadn't ruled out leaving either. . . at the time it seemed like so much of a trial baloon, a testing of the waters, maybe even Jason having some fun with the reporters, with non-statements like "I haven't talked to any agents, I haven't talked to any scouts. . . . " or  "I haven't even said anything publicly. But if for some reason that changes, I've got to do what's best for me."   Stuff like that.   Not exactly a declaration that he was considering the NBA, but likewise not a statement that he wasn't either.

But then this past Saturday, Frank Burlison of the Orange County Register wrote a story whcih makes Jason's possible jump to the league a bit more tangible, more palpable, and certainly a lot scarier for the Bruins. . . If you want to read the entire article, including some stuff about Schea Cotton's decision to leave Alabama, it can be found here.   But in the meantime, here are the excerpts of the story which pertain to Kapono:

Kapono decision expected next week 

COLLEGES: The UCLA freshman has until May 14 to declare his eligibility for the NBA draft. 

May 6, 2000
The Orange County Register

The father of Jason Kapono said Friday afternoon the UCLA freshman would decide by late next week if he intends to declare himself eligible for the June 28 NBA draft.

"Yes, he's considering it," Joe Kapono said of the Bruins' 6-foot-7 All-Pac-10 selection. "He would have the option to back off and pull his name out by June 21 if he doesn't hire an agent."

Under that scenario, Kapono would maintain his eligibility for his sophomore season. The deadline for underclassmen to apply for the draft is May 14.

"The NBA is his ultimate dream," Joe Kapono added. "You hear people saying that freshmen aren't ready for the NBA but there are a lot of seniors who aren't ready, either. He loves UCLA and the complete atmosphere and the education he is getting there. But the thing is, he has to look out for what is best for himself."

Will Jason declare for the draft?  Who knows. . . Last week we would have said that it was about 90-10 against.  Now, really, who knows.   We're still willing to bet that even if Kapono does declare, he won't sign with an agent, and unless he can be assured of a first round pick, he'll withdraw and reenter UCLA for at least one more year.

But either way, this has got to be one of the scariest propositions for the Bruin coaching staff yet.  Look at the Bruins' roster for next year, assuming that all three (Jerome, Jaron, and Jason) actually go:

Billy Knight (6'-5" Jr. SG)--11.2 point per game
Todd Ramasar (6'-5" Sr.SG/SF) --if he's healthy--didn't play this season
Ryan Bailey (6'-2" Sr. PG) 16.8 min per game
Rico Hines (6'-2" Sr. SG) 13.2 min per game
Matt Barnes (6'-7" Jr. SF)--14.8 min per game
Earl Watson (6'-1" Sr. PG)--32 min per game
Ray Young (6'-3" Jr. SG)--19.4 min per game
Dan Gadzuric (6'-11" Jr. C)--22 min per game
TJ Cummings (6'-9" Fr. F)--
Josiah Johnson (6'-8" Fr. SF/SG)

Heck, the only regular starter returning will be Earl Watson, and no one else has even averaged half a game over the course of a season. This is a roster that should make Cal, Stanford,  and virtually all of the rest of the Pac-10 pretty happy, and if you're a Bruin fan, well, it's scary. . . . truly scary.   Not that these guys aren't all Pac-10 players, it's just that you've got no real battle-tested "go-to" guys.  And it could get even worse if Matt Barnes is ineligible again, or makes good on the rumors and goes back to football, which would mean that he would only play a half a season of basketball at best. . . and that's if he doesn't get injured on football field.  Sheesh.  Looking at this lineup three things immediately come to mind:

    1) Walk-ons. . . Jason Flowers anyone?

    2) Please. . . Jason, please, don't do it.  

    2) Now we  really get to see if Lavin can coach.

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