UCLA coach refutes rumors



By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – UCLA All-American Kevin Love and teammate Darren Collison have not yet decided whether they will make themselves available for the NBA draft, coach Ben Howland said Wednesday.

He dismissed a report on the Los Angeles Times’ Web site that said the players had decided to leave and were expected to hire agents, which would prevent them from returning to the Bruins next season.

“It’s an erroneous report,” Howland said, adding that Love and Collison were very upset about the report because they had yet to discuss their future with their families.

College players have until April 27 to declare for the June draft.

Love, a freshman center, led the Bruins in scoring (17.5 points) and rebounds (10.6). Collison, a junior point guard, was a third-team All-American who averaged 15.2 points and 3.9 assists.

The Bruins (35-4) lost in the national semifinals to Memphis on Saturday.

“There’s definitely a chance that Darren will come back,” Howland said. “Nothing has been decided yet.”

Howland said he met with Love on Monday to discuss the freshman’s draft potential. Scouts have told Howland that Love is a definite lottery pick who could be selected between fifth and 10th in the draft.

Love returned home to Lake Oswego, Ore., on Wednesday to celebrate his father’s 59th birthday on Thursday.

“He’s going to sit with his parents over the weekend and try to formulate some decisions on what he wants to do,” Howland said. “I’m expecting that he’ll have some decision early next week. I’ll support whatever he does.”

Love told The Associated Press in February that he would rely on his family and close friends to help him decide about the NBA.

“The people that aren’t yes-men, the people that have the best interests in me and don’t want anything from me is who I’m going to look toward,” he said.”

Howland said he has not yet met with Collison.