UCLA Basketball: The 10 Greatest Players of the Steve Lavin Era
Former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin is on everyone's minds again after his St. Johns squad dismissed the Bruins from Madison Square Garden, 66-63.
Second-chance allowances by UCLA were eventually the visitor's undoing, with the Red Storm only happy to cash in. Of their 66 points, 26 (or almost 40 percent) of them were off second-chance opportunities. That UCLA only lost by three is a small consolation, but this was a game they should have had.
In the larger scale of things, however, the outcome at MSG mattered little. Had UCLA won, it wouldn’t have done much for their RPI and therefore their at-large bid status, as St. Johns isn’t great this year. A road win for a team that has struggled on the road all year would have been nice, but nothing more.
The fact that UCLA lost doesn’t change its need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to make it into the Big Dance. Also, it was a non-conference game, thus bearing no impact on their seeding.
What the game did do was give Ben Howland critics more ammunition against him. Here was a clear battle between UCLA’s old and new philosophies, and the old prevailed. For those Bruin fans who dream of a run-and-gun, offense-first approach, there might have been a small amount of nostalgia thinking of Lavin’s highlight-reel teams.
Hopefully, those thoughts were short lived. In his seven years as Bruin head coach, Lavin never made it past the Elite Eight. His only trip to the regional finals in 1997 was largely on the backs of Jim Harrick’s players. 1997 was also the only year he won the Pac-10. While Howland's teams have always left fans with a positive "What's next!" (most of the time), Lavin's elicited a depressing "What if?".
While Lavin never delivered banners (or even final four appearances), he did have one thing: great players. With Lavin in our thoughts this week, here’s my list of his top 10 players, plus a few honorable mentions.
10. Billy Knight, G
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UCLA Career Stats: 118 GP, 7.9 PPG, 45.6 FG%, 40.2 3PT%
While his career statistics are not as impressive as others on this list (or even some in the honorable mentions), Billy Knight’s impact at UCLA could not be measured on paper.
One of the first players Steve Lavin ever recruited as a head coach, Knight was a 6’3’’ shooting guard out of Weschester High who committed to Westwood during an uncertain time. Jim Harrick, the first Bruin coach since John Wooden to win a national championship, had just been fired. Lavin himself was only there on an interim, and no one knew who would stay.
Still, Knight committed to the program, but for the first few seasons he was a non-factor. As a freshman he could barely get on the court, and the following year a groin injury forced him to redshirt the season after one appearance. When he came back in 1999, Knight emerged as a reliable face off the bench, but nothing more.
The trend continued for the first part of the 2000 season until the Bruins faced top-ranked Stanford in Maples Pavilion. Making only his fifth start of the year, Knight galvanized an out-manned Bruin side and silenced the Stanford crowd with a career-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. UCLA upset the Cardinal 79-73 and would eventually make the Sweet Sixteen.
From there, Knight consistently made the starting five and had a career year in 2001. The Bruins’ emotional center started all 33 games, averaging 14 points on 46 percent shooting from the floor. Knight remains ninth all-time in school history for career three-point percentage (.403), eighth in career three-point makes (137) and team leader in steals for the 2002 season (39).
After graduating, Knight went undrafted in 2002, and after bouncing around the D-League, sought his fortunes abroad. Finding no consistent home in Europe, Knight traveled to Japan and is currently playing for the Hyogo Storks.
9. Jerome Moiso, F
UCLA Career Stats: 62 GP, 12 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 49.5 FG%
One of the best big men to ever grace Lavin’s teams, Frenchman Jerome Moiso was a staple in UCLA’s frontcourt going into the new millennium.
Moiso first caught the gaze of Bruin coaches playing for the International team in the 1997 Nike Hoop Summit Game. Against a team full of American prep all-stars, Moiso dropped 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He was recruited and signed by Lavin a year later.
For two years, Moiso teamed with Dan Gadzuric to form one of the conference’s most potent duos down low. In his freshman year, Moiso started 22 of the 29 games he appeared in, averaging 11 points and six boards while shooting almost 50 percent from the field. His 25 points in 25 minutes against Kentucky ranks as one of his better performances, despite losing 66-62.
As a sophomore Mosio’s numbers improved across the board, and he left school for the NBA that following offseason after leading UCLA in rebounds (7.6 per game) and blocks (1.7 per game). After only two years in school, Moiso was drafted with the 11th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in 2000. Unfortunately, the 6’10’’ man could never break into the rotation and was let go after one year.
Moiso bounced around the NBA for the next few years, playing for four other teams before leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005. Like many Bruins before and after him, Moiso sought his fortunes overseas, signing at first with Lottomatica Roma in 2006. That one-year gig, along with six others like it across Spain and Russia, didn’t work out for the long term.
After spending the 2010-2011 season with Jiangsu Dragons in Japan, Moiso returned to Europe, and is now under contract with Dnipro Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukrainian Superleague for the 2011-2012 season.
As for his time at UCLA, Moiso remains eighth in blocked shots over a season (55 in 2000) and 10th in freshman rebounding (5.8 RPG in 1999).
8. Cedric Bozeman, G
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Career Stats: 106 GP, 6.6 PPG, 3.6 APG, 43.5 FG%
Part of the class that saw Dijion Thompson arrive at UCLA, Cedric Bozeman was considered the Bruins’ future in the backcourt. Much was expected early out of the 2001 McDonald’s All-American, but injuries hampered his career and left all that potential unfulfilled.
Starting his Bruin career at the point under Steve Lavin, Bozeman saw quality minutes off the bench, but he wasn’t much of a scoring threat. Averaging just four points per game during the 2001 season, Bozeman started 21 games but was abysmal from distance and shocking bad at the line, making only 28.6 percent of his free throws.
Still, with the kind of weaponry that team had, scoring wasn’t Bozeman’s first job. He distributed well and kept his turnovers to a minimum, but never stood out. Once Lavin was fired, Bozeman played one year at the point under Howland, leading the team in assists with 5.5 per game. He would miss the 2004 campaign due to season-ending knee surgery.
When he came back as a redshirt senior in 2005, Jordan Farmar and Darren Collison had the point well covered. Seeing the value of an experienced swing man, Howland started the 6’6’’ guard at small forward. The move paid off, with Ced starting all but one game during a season that brought UCLA within forty minutes of their 12th national championship.
After leaving Westwood with the kind of success he was promised back in 2001, Bozeman went undrafted but found his way on to the Atlanta Hawks’ roster in 2006. He was waived midway through the year, played in the D-League for a time, and then went abroad.
Bozeman has since played in Belgium, Poland and China for the past five years before returning stateside in 2011 to the Reno Bighorns. In December of that year, the man who helped UCLA return to glory was waived due to injury.
7. Dijon Thompson, G
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UCLA Career Stats: 117 GP, 12.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 46.3 FG%
A prototypical swingman, Dijon Thompson never reached his full potential under Steve Lavin, shining primarily under Ben Howland for his upperclassmen years. Still, it was Lavin who get’s credit for bringing him to Westwood in the first place, thus his appearance on this list.
Signed in 2001 out of Redondo Union High School, Thompson spent most of his freshman year as an energetic reserve off the bench. He appeared in all 33 games, starting once, averaging close to five points in 15 minutes off the bench. Thompson showed promised, but with Cedric Bozeman, Billy Knight, Jason Kapono and Matt Barnes ahead of him, he couldn’t get consistent playing time as a first-year player.
That changed the following season. Still an on-again, off-again face in the starting five, Thompson logged almost 30 minutes per game, averaging 14 points on 49.7 shooing from the floor. His 6’7’’ frame allowed him to excel on the defense end as well, averaging a steal and a half per game.
Once Howland took over for Lavin in 2003, he immediately understood that Thompson would be integral to his early success, especially at the offensive end. Now a junior, Thompson started all but one game that year, but his stats made little movement upward.
That would come during his senior campaign, when Thompson averaged 18 and eight, leading the Bruins in scoring for the second consecutive year. His 39-point performance against Arizona State in 2005 made him one of only 21 players to ever score above 35 points in a single game. Only Kapono, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, Reggie Miller, Don MacLean and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) have scored more.
Though he left UCLA as the school’s 22nd all-time leading scorer, Thompson wasn’t rated first round material by most NBA teams. He was eventually picked 54th overall by the New York Knicks in the second round of the 2005 draft, but was then quickly traded to the Pheonix Suns for Quentin Richardson and the rights to Nate Robinson.
He was regulated to the D-League soon after, and despite playing well the first year, had to sit out the next due to knee surgery. After failing to make the Atlanta Hawks roster, Thompson set out for a career abroad in Europe that would take him to Germany, Ukraine, Israel and Russia.
Thompson currently plays for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne in France.
6. Ryan Hollins, C
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UCLA Career Stats: 113 GP, 5.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 57.5 FG%
Like Cedric Bozeman and Dijon Thompson before him, Ryan Hollins never reached his potential with Steve Lavin. It’s a bit of a stretch to place Hollins here since he played only one year under Lavin, but without him, the Pasadena native might not have found his way to Westwood.
Recruited in 2002 during Lavin’s final year at UCLA, Hollins played respectable minutes as a freshman due to his seven-foot size and impressive wingspan. He started about half of the Bruins’ 29 games, but made little impact on a team which would record the school’s first losing season since 1947.
When Ben Howland took over in 2003, he inherited two seven-footers in Hollins and Michael Fey who seemingly did not know they were seven feet tall. Both bigs were constantly outmuscled for rebounds, reluctant to dunk, and had little post games to speak of.
Between the two of them, it was Hollins who best adapted to Howland’s physical, defense-first approach, though in the beginning it was from the bench. Lorenzo Mata better embodied the tough blue-collar mentality Howland wanted, and thus got most of the starts in 2004. During his junior year, Hollins started only six games, averaging 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds.
His seniority and commitment eventually won Howland over, and down the stretch of UCLA’s magical tournament run the following year it was Hollins getting the start. Mata proved less that prolific offensively, and he was slightly undersized, so it was Hollins Howland turned to in the later portion of the season. His confidence paid off, and Hollins had his best season as a Bruin, averaging about seven points and five rebounds per game.
His final year at UCLA single-handedly earned him the kind of consistent NBA career few Bruins have had. Hollins left Westwood fourth on the school’s career blocks list (101), and was drafted 50th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Unlike many Bruins before him, Hollins has never left America to play professional basketball. After trying to fit in on four different teams (including a short stint in the D-League), he is currently a solid rotation player for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
5. Matt Barnes, F
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UCLA Career Stats: 121 GP, 8.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 46.9 FG%
Los Angeles locals have been familiar with the heavily tattooed Matt Barnes long before he became a Laker. Barnes, whose face perpetually looks ready to start a fight, was one of the best forwards Steve Lavin ever had at UCLA. He is currently 44th on UCLA’s all-time scoring list with 1066 points.
Little recruited out of Del Campo High School, Barnes was rarely a starter his first two years at UCLA. In those days he started only eight of a possible 64 games, but played in 58.
A 6’7’’ swingman, Barnes did not have a polished outside game, wasn’t a particularly good rebounder, shot poorly from the line, and didn’t share the ball well. Despite getting 13.5 minutes per game over his freshman and sophomore years, Barnes only averaged 4.8 points and 2.7 rebounds.
His junior year was a different story. Suddenly given over 30 minutes per game as a starter, Barnes became a staple of the UCLA offense. He still shot terribly from downtown, but in all other aspects of the game he dramatically improved. Barnes consistently found himself in double figures scoring-wise, and was snagging 7.3 rebounds per game. Apparently, all he needed was time on the court to shine.
In his fourth and final season in Westwood, Barnes posted career-highs in points (34) and rebounds (15) en route to the Bruins’ third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. In the second round against top-seeded Cincinnati, Barnes dropped a career-high 11 dimes when his team needed him the most. He would lead UCLA in assists that year, finally becoming the complete package Lavin always envisioned.
Drafted 46th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002, Barnes was soon traded to Cleveland, then almost immediately sent to the D-League. He soon played his way back on to an NBA roster, signing with the Clippers in 2004.
Over the next six years, Barnes would play for seven different NBA teams, most notably for the Golden State Warriors alongside his old schoolmate Baron Davis. Together they helped the eighth-seeded Warriors upend the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 playoffs. It was the first time an eight seed had ever beaten a one seed in a seven-game NBA playoff series.
Barnes is currently battling with Metta World Peace for the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting small forward spot. He is now Kobe Bryant’s teammate, the man he characteristically tried to punk while a member of the Orlando Magic.
4. Dan Gadzuric, C
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UCLA Career Stats: 122 GP, 10.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 54.8 FG%
Unquestionably Steve Lavin’s best center, Dan Gadzuric parlayed four solid years at UCLA into a respectable career in the NBA. He remains second in school history in shots blocked (184), eighth in career rebounds (896) and 10th in career field goal percentage (.594). Of all the Bruin greats, Gadzuric is the only player to lead UCLA in field goal percentage for four consecutive years. With 1287 points, Gadzuric is also UCLA’s 33rd all-time leading scorer.
A 1998 McDonald’s All-American, Gadzuric impacted the Bruins from Day One. As a freshman he started 19 of 26 games, averaging almost nine points and six rebounds. Despite a poor showing in the NCAA Tournament by the team, Gadzuric’s steady play earned him a spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.
Year after year, the reliable Dutchman continued to be Lavin’s rock in the middle, peaking during the 2000-2001 season when he averaged just under a double-double (11.7 PPG and 8.6 RPG). As good as he was offensively, only Jelani McCoy can claim to have more career blocked shots that Gadzuric, who at 6’11’’ swatted away shots that some seven footers could not.
Perhaps his signature game came in 2002 NCAA Tournament’s second round, when the eighth-seeded Bruins upset the top-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats in double-overtime. Gadzuric was magnificent, finishing with a career-high 26 points and 13 rebounds in a game that saw UCLA down 47-37 at the half. The senior would bow out in the regional semifinals, with the Bruins losing 82-73 to their old postseason foe, the Missouri Tigers.
Drafted 34th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, Gadzuric spent eight seasons as a role player in Wisconsin before returning to California. He spent only one year with Golden State before being traded again to New Jersey. A few months later in late 2011, Gadzuric found himself in China playing for the Jiangsu Dragons. He had just missed his old teammate Jerome Moiso, who had left after the previous season. In early December 2011, Gadzuric fractured his toe and was replaced on the roster by Jackson Vroman.
Since his departure in 2002, Gadzuric has been the modern standard most Bruin bigs are measured against, but rarely live up to. His successors who have spent more than two years at UCLA (Michael Fey, Ryan Hollins, Lorzeno Mata, Alfred Aboya, Joshua Smith) still remain in his shadow.
3. Earl Watson, G
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UCLA Career Stats: 129 GP, 11.2 PPG, 4.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 45 FG%
Commonly referred to as the Earl of Watson in my mind, Earl Watson was Steve Lavin’s noble floor general from 1997-2001. Lavin arguably never had a better pure point guard.
At UCLA, only Josh Shipp has more career starts than Watson’s 127, and only Tyus Edney can claim to also have over 600 assists and 200 steals for his career. Watson is first all-time in school history in steals (235), and fourth in assists (607). In each of his four years at UCLA, the Bruins made the NCAA Tournament, finishing in the Sweet 16 three times.
Despite his obvious talent and vision, for two years Watson couldn't escape the shadow of his impossibly gifted classmate who came to Westwood at the same time. While Watson quietly made some of Lavin’s best teams work, Baron Davis (deservedly) filled up highlight-reels with skills and athleticism that few could match.
But when Davis left to pursue NBA fame and fortune after his sophomore year, Watson remained. He had led UCLA in assists the year before, and would do so again for two more. Watson’s 195 assists in 2000 rank ninth in school history, averaging almost six a game.
During his senior season, Watson averaged 14.7 points, 5.2 assists and almost two steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the field. Playing through a torn ligament in his right pinkie, Watson guided the Bruins to a 23-9 record, his fourth consecutive 20-win season. In his final game, a harsh 76-63 bouncing by Duke, Watson recorded 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Selected 39th overall by the Seattle Supersonics in 2002, the Earl has found success as a professional role player. He's been with five different NBA teams and currently plays for the Utah Jazz when Devin Harris isn’t any good. In other words, he’s been starting a lot.
2. Baron Davis, G
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UCLA Career Stats: 59 GP, 13.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 2.5 SPG, 50.2 FG%
Slightly edging Earl Watson on this list is Baron Davis, one of the most successful Bruins in the modern era. In just two years at UCLA, Davis made a permanent impression on fans with creative plays that make you just stand up and cheer. While I personally favor Watson, it’s hard to argue against Davis being the better point guard.
To be honest, Davis was ahead of his time at the point. We look at hyper-athletic guys like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and John Wall as some type of new invention, something the game’s never really seen before. But we forget that while they were all still in grade school, the Baron held court, and what a court it was.
In two seasons at UCLA, he averaged over five assists and 13 points, displaying a knack for sharing the ball as well as understanding when he had to take over. A gifted defensive player as well, Davis’ 77 steals in 1998 are only surpassed twice on UCLA’s all-time list.
Davis immediately started his freshman year alongside Watson, the first time UCLA started two first-year players since 1979. In his first game as a Bruin, Davis posted 13 points, seven assists, five rebounds and a steal in a blowout loss to North Carolina. He would go one to lead the Bruins to the Sweet 16 and a 24-9 record while being named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
The next year started slowly for Davis, as the sophomore scored in the single digits for the first four games. After a quiet night against Cal State Northridge in which he scored only four points (but had nine assists), Davis dropped 11 on American University four days later. He would not finish under double figures the rest of the year, scoring a career-high 27 points twice against California and Syracuse. That year he was named an All-American, averaging about 16 points a game.
After UCLA lost a stunner to Detroit in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Davis declared for the NBA and was picked third overall by the Charlotte Hornets. He stayed with the team through their move to New Orleans, but parted ways with them in 2005 to move back to California. The vacancy Davis left in New Orleans was filled the next year by a little-known guard out of Wake Forest named Chris Paul.
With the Golden State Warriors, Davis architected the Dallas Maverick's defeat in the 2007 playoffs, but never reached that high again and was traded to the Clippers. Right when he started to care about the prospect of playing with popular Blake Griffin, he was shipped off to Cleveland. After a mediocre half-year in Ohio, he was amnestied (while injured) and signed by the New York Knicks.
Davis only recently made his debut in New York, and doesn’t look to be getting much time with Jeremy Lin at the point. You’ll recognize the former UCLA and NBA All-Star by his beard on the bench.
1. Jason Kapono, F
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UCLA Career Stats: 127 GP, 16.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 46.8 FG%, 44.6 3PT%
While Baron Davis might have been the most exciting player Steve Lavin ever coached, with Earl Watson his best leader and Dan Gadzuric his best big, the best overall player of the Lavin years has to be Jason Kapono. One of the best shooters UCLA has ever had, Kapono is the only Bruin who has ever led his team in scoring for four consecutive years.
Few players in UCLA history have scored more prolifically that Kapono, a 6’8’’ forward out of Lakewood, California. Keep in mind this is a history that includes Reggie Miller, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Walt Hazard, Gail Goodrich, Bill Walton, Don MacLean, Sidney Wicks, Tracy Murray, Kiki Vandeweghe…I could go on. Of these names, only MacLean and Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) are higher than Kapono on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list. At 2095 points, he is tied with Miller, and NBA icon, for third.
Kapono’s career average of 16.5 PPG is only surpassed by twice by players who stayed at UCLA for four years or more (Abdul-Jabbar and Miller). His three-point percentage of 44.6 is second all time in school history, but the man he trails (Pooh Richardson at 46.4) made 265 fewer threes, and attempted 598 fewer than Kapono. And Richardson spent three years at UCLA, only one less than the man he’s directly ahead of.
Nationally, Kapono’s career three-point percentage is 25th all-time among Division I players who made more than 200 treys and averaged two or more per game.
It goes without saying that Kapono holds the Bruin record for threes made (317), and the gap between him and the next men (Arron Afflalo and Michael Roll) is 108. Watson and Davis, the two players proceeding Kapono on this list, attempted a combined 570 threes over their careers. Watson himself is seventh on the Bruin all-time three-point attempt list. But if you do the math, Kapono made one three for every 1.8 trey attempted by that duo.
But for all his three-point prowess, Kapono’s all-around game established him as more than just a perimeter specialist. From his sophomore year onward, Kapono averaged over five rebounds and two assists each year. During that time period, he also shot 86.8 percent from the line. When teams predictably came out to contest his shot, Kapono either made it regardless of the pressure, or faked and drove in for a better look.
Kapono came to UCLA as a freshman in 1999, the season after Davis turned pro. In search of scoring, the Bruins loaded Kapono up with minutes (he averaged over 32 per game that year) and let him loose. In his first game at UCLA, the young Kapono did not disappoint, scoring 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and snaring seven rebounds. Kapono totaled a then career-high 27 points twice against USC and Arizona, finishing with 20-plus points nine times. As a freshman he would go on to average 16 points per game, a number only surpassed by MacLean and Kevin Love’s first year marks in Bruin history.
By the end of a sophomore year in which he was averaging 17.2 points per game, Kapono had broken the 1,000-point mark, only the third Bruin sophomore ever to do so. He set new career highs in points (28 three times), rebounds (13 against Oregon), and 20-plus games (14, six of which he scored 24 or more). His 21 points, 12 boards and six assists in a win over Hawaii marked the most complete game of his career. Kapono’s scoring was instrumental to the Bruins’ second straight appearance in the regional semifinals.
In his junior year, Kapono scored fewer than 16 points only 13 times in 33 games. UCLA went 7-6 in those games, including their season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 to Missouri. He would break into UCLA’s 35-point club in incredible fashion during his senior year, dropping 44 on a shell-shocked Washington State squad. In getting those 44 points (a UCLA single-game record only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has bested), Kapono shot 14-19 from the floor, making all seven of his foul shots and nine of his 10 threes. He also had six assists and five rebounds to round out the evening.
Regrettably, UCLA did not make the tournament in Kapono’s senior year, so the Bruin great never got a chance to right his subpar performance against Missouri the previous go. He was drafted with the 31st pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, and then proceeded to drift around six different NBA rosters over the next eight years.
Naturally, Kapono’s NBA claim to fame involved the three-point contest. In 2007 and 2008, Kapono displayed the shooting stroke Bruin fans knew so well, winning the contest both years.
He currently plays with former Bruin teammate Matt Barnes for the Los Angeles Lakers.
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T.J. Cummings, F
UCLA Career Stats: 118 GP, 9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 50 FG%
Cummings never really took off at UCLA until his senior season in 2003 when he was averaging 13 and seven, starting 23 games. By then Ben Howland had taken over, so Lavin really never saw the best of Cummings. Then again, you could say that for Cedric Bozeman, Dijon Thompson and Ryan Hollins.
Still, Cummings didn’t have their upsides. He wasn’t that great of a defender even at 6’10’’ and developed rebounding skill far too late to make an impact. He shot a high percentage because he didn’t have much of offensive game from four feet and beyond.
He was drafted straight into the NBDL in 2005, and has played there for various teams until last year. At 30 years old, Cummings currently plays for the Oita Heat Devils in Japan.
JaRon Rush, F
UCLA Career Stats: 37 GP, 11.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 40.9 FG%
Things looked good for JaRon Rush after his freshman season at UCLA. The former McDonald’s All-American averaged over 11 points and seven boards for the year, and was named the team’s most valuable freshman along with Dan Gadzuric in 1999. Rush seemed to have a bright future at UCLA and later with the NBA ahead of him.
Unfortunately, the past caught up with him, and his career was quickly cut short. When he was found guilty of taking money not only from his high school coach, but also from a Los Angeles-based sports agent, the Bruins suspended him for 44 games, essentially what remained of his sophomore year and then some. Instead of sticking it out, Rush dropped out of school to prepare for the NBA, but went undrafted in 2000.
Rush played a year in the D-League before retiring from basketball in late 2001. His younger brother Brandon plays for the Golden State Warriors after an impressive college career at Kansas.
Ray Young, G (Pictured)
UCLA Career Stats: 123 GP, 7.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 39.4 FG%
Much like his teammate Billy Knight, Ray Young never impressed on the stat sheet, but made up for it in leadership and perseverance. Young never started much, and never quite lived up to his McDonald’s All-American hype, but he was a valuable sixth man during UCLA’s multiple tournament runs under Steve Lavin.
Young best game in blue and gold came against Washington State during his senior year in 2003. The 6’4’’ guard finished with 30 points, six rebounds, a steal and a block. UCLA easily won that contest 86-71.
After graduating, Young went undrafted and found himself in Indiana playing for the Gary Steelheads of the CBA. He tried out for New Orleans Hornets and the Golden State Warriors (coincidentally the teams of his former teammate and friend Baron Davis), but made neither squad. He has since retired from basketball.