Howland ecstatic that Wears will wear UCLA jerseys

UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland spent four years recruiting David and Travis Wear, attending practices and games at Mater Dei in nearby Santa Ana. He got to know them so well that he eventually learned to tell the identical twins apart.

The ability to do so will come in handy for the next four years, as the sophomore twins signed with UCLA Tuesday afternoon. The Wears will have to sit out next season after transferring from North Carolina, but will have three years of eligibility remaining.

"It's great for everybody," Howland said, "especially UCLA."

The twins might not be able to play next year, but the coach who needs bodies after losing three players to transfer last season is thrilled about landing both. Howland believes that the Wears will be able to get bigger and stronger during their down year.

Travis averaged 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game as a freshman at Chapel Hill. David posted similar numbers of 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds. Both averaged more than 10 minutes per game.

Howland expects them to hit the ground running when they regain eligibility.

"I'm just elated," Howland added. "They're fantastic players and they're just going to get better and better.

"Obviously we were disappointed when we didn't get them [out of high school], but I'm so thankful with the way it worked out."

Their signings leaves UCLA with one empty slot on its 13-player scholarship list. Howland added that he is still looking to fill the spot.

"I feel very good, blessed and happy because I've always thought the world of them -- both as players and people," Howland said.