UCLA basketball: Brendan Lane's high school coach says forward is not looking to transfer
Steve Taylor, who coached Brendan Lane at Rocklin High, said Wednesday the UCLA sophomore forward did not express any interest in transferring during a lunch meeting last week despite an influx of big men that could lead to a logjam at his position next season.
The arrival of twin forwards David and Travis Wear gives the Bruins six players who could play center or power forward, also taking into account Lane, Joshua Smith, Reeves Nelson and Anthony Stover.
"He feels that if he gets an opportunity and gets healthy, he can compete with those guys," Taylor said of Lane, who gave UCLA a boost off the bench with eight points and four rebounds during a 78-76 victory over Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Lane's postseason breakthrough was a rare triumph in a mostly frustrating season.
After averaging 19.2 minutes in nonconference games and ranking among the top shot-blockers in the Pacific 10 Conference, Lane's playing time plummeted in conference play; he averaged 11.8 minutes and 1.8 points, blocking only one shot in 17 games. Taylor said part of the problem was fatigue in the wake of off-season ankle surgery that deprived Lane of several months of conditioning.
Although Coach Ben Howland wouldn't address the possibility of Lane redshirting next season during Howland's season-ending meeting with reporters, Taylor said it might be a good idea.
"It would allow him a whole year of conditioning and development, and it might free up that logjam," Taylor said, noting that Smith and Nelson are both candidates to turn professional after next season.
Taylor said Lane didn't discuss the possibility of redshirting with him, but the coach said he sensed Lane wanted to compete for playing time if he was given an opportunity. Even though Lane's season didn't go as he had hoped, Taylor said, he was still happy at UCLA.
"He sees the whole package, not just basketball, as being part of his experience," Taylor said. "There are other things he chose UCLA for that might not mean as much to other kids, but they speak to how well-rounded and how good of a person he is."
Photo: Brendan Lane. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.