Because UCLA has the richest tradition of producing NBA players, every offseason, a Bruin is making a big jump to a new team. Last year, it was Arron Afflalo, a 6’5” shooting guard that found a spot on a rebuilding Orlando Magic squad that was obliterated by Dwight Howard’s egotism.
This year, it’s point guard Darren Collison, perhaps the most beloved Bruin of the Ben Howland era. And, thankfully, he’s headed home to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. Here’s the tweet, courtesy of FanSided’s NBA site, Sir Charles in Charge:
Darren Collison, I'm told, is going to the Clippers. Done deal. Two-year deal, player option in Year 2
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 7, 2013
Not a bad move. Collison heads back to his stomping grounds in Los Angeles to back up Chris Paul again, where he held the same position with the New Orleans Hornets. Collison’s thrived as a back-up point guard, oftentimes shredding opposing backup points because of his quickness and aggressiveness. Even further, he joins one of the NBA’s premier bench mobs, meaning he’ll get a chance to be a ball distributor as well.
He’s not the only Bruin set to done red and blue in L.A., though. Matt Barnes recently re-signed with the Clippers after a wildly successful season coming off the bench. This is a pretty promising retention, according to FanSided’s Clippers site, Fully Clips:
Although the terms weren’t disclosed these numbers have been confirmed by league sources. Barnes had a breakout year with the Clippers as a reserve forward. By the end of the 2012-13 NBA season, Barnes had notched career highs in points per game and PER.
Ryan Hollins also re-joined the Clippers on a one-year contract, making L.A. the team with the most Bruins on their roster.
This is all pretty good news. While Hollins won’t get much playing time—let’s be honest, he never really has—Collison and Barnes will play crucial roles to make the Clippers a viable contender. And with Doc Rivers at the helm, we’re sure that the two Bruins will contribute regularly and in bunches. (Rivers is known to keep players on the court when they’re hot, as opposed to most coaches who sub in starters pretty inflexibly.)
So good on you, Clippers, for bringing some Bruins back home.