Ginebra taps versatile NBA vet

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Ginebra taps versatile NBA vet

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Mon May 14, 2012 8:22 am

Ginebra taps versatile NBA vet
By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star Updated May 14, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Blanked out of the finals in the last two conferences, Barangay Ginebra hopes to bounce back with a former Atlanta Hawks guard from UCLA as import in the season-ending Governors Cup starting May 20.

Cedric Bozeman, 29, was recruited to bolster the Kings whose fortunes
took a dip in the recent Commissioner’s Cup after Mark Caguioa, voted
Best Player of the Conference, suffered a fractured right orbital bone
in a playoff against B-Meg for the second outright semifinals slot.
Caguioa sat out the entire semifinals and Ginebra was eliminated, 3-1,
in the best-of-five series by the eventual champion Llamados.

Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen said Bozeman plays point and
off-guard, measuring exactly at the height limit of 6-5. “He’s okay but
of course, it’s hard to gauge now,” said Tanquingcen. “As for Mark, he
was given the clearance to start gradual workouts. Hopefully, God
willing, we’ll be back in the finals this conference.”

Assistant coach Juno Sauler described Bozeman as a smart player who’s
most effective at the one spot. “He plays one, two or three,” said
Sauler. “He can post up when smaller guards defend him, good isolation
and pick-and-roll player against bigger guards. Decent perimeter and
post defender. We might even make him play the four spot but haven’t
really tried it yet.”

Consultant Alfrancis Chua confirmed Bozeman is for real. “He’s good,”
said Chua. “At practice, Eric (Menk) is looking good, too. Rudy
(Hatfield) came earlier than scheduled from the US and showed up for
practice the day after arriving. Grabe ang lakas ng katawan ni Rudy.”
Guard Jay-Jay Helterbrand said Bozeman reminds him of PBA import legend
Lamont Strothers. “Good all-around player,” remarked Helterbrand.

News of Menk’s recovery should brighten up Ginebra’s hopes. Menk
played only a game in the last conference but his presence wasn’t
critical because import Jackson Vroman took care of center chores. In
the Governors Cup, Menk, Enrico Villanueva and Billy Mamaril will be
called on to man the slot with Hatfield, Kerby Raymundo and Willy Wilson
playing four.

Bozeman played 23 games for Atlanta in the 2006-07 NBA season. In
four years at UCLA, he gained an enviable reputation as the Bruins’
glue. Varsity teammate Jordan Farmar, an NBA veteran, said, “He
definitely was our glue, he did all the little things that we needed,
Coach (Ben Howland) said it, he’s selfless, the ultimate team player.”

Bozeman was hounded by shoulder and knee problems throughout his UCLA
career but stayed the course to merit Howland’s nod as the Bruins court
general. Howland cited Bozeman’s hard work and dedication in pointing
out how he raised his three-point percentage from .222 as a junior to
.393 as a senior, free throw percentage from .556 to .776 and total
field goal percentage from .413 to .500. “When no one else was watching
in the gym, by himself or working out with his teammates, he got in
shape,” said Howland. “He was the best example of giving himself up for
the team and doing whatever it took to win, being totally selfless.”

At Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, Bozeman was a McDonald’s All-America pick and was chosen to the USA Today All-America
third team. Bozeman averaged 20 points, six rebounds and five assists
as a senior at Mater Dei in 2000-01. “He reminds me of (NBA guard) Tyus
Edney in terms of his disposition and temperament,” said his first UCLA
coach Steve Lavin. “He’s got a tailor-made personality to play point
guard. I’ve never worried about his decision-making or floor
leadership.”

As a UCLA freshman in 2001-02, Bozeman teamed with NBA cagers Matt
Barnes and Jason Kapono in powering the Bruins to the NCAA Sweet 16. In
the NCAA tournament, he compiled eight points, five rebounds and four
assists in 39 minutes as UCLA beat top-ranked Cincinnati in double
overtime. Bozeman skipped the 2004-05 season as a medical redshirt to
recover from ACL surgery in his right knee.

Bozeman combined with Farmar and another future NBA player Arron
Afflalo to take UCLA to the NCAA finals in 2005-06, losing to Florida,
73-57. Bozeman had nine points, three rebounds and three assists in 25
minutes of the title game. “I really felt for Ced, with the injuries he
dealt with but I was really happy for the way his UCLA career ended,”
said Howland who coached Bozeman in his last two collegiate years. “He
had an outstanding senior year, Ced was one of the main driving forces
in our run. He really did a great job overall during his five years as a
Bruin – as a student, as a person and obviously, as an outstanding
player.”

Bozeman played as an import in Poland, China (averaging 20.2 points,
6.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 32 games with the Shougang Beijing Ducks
in 2009-10) and Belgium. Before moving to the PBA, Bozeman saw action
in the NBA D-League with the Reno Bighorns and Maine Red Claws. If he
plays for Ginebra, Bozeman will be the fifth UCLA product to invade the
PBA after Darrell Allums, Mike Holton, Kenny Fields and J. R. Henderson.
Another UCLA veteran Jelani McCoy was in town to play for Meralco in
the last conference but was cut before the Commissioner’s Cup opened.


Source: Philstar.com

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