LOS ANGELES -- UCLA was still waiting Tuesday to learn whether senior T.J. Cummings is eligible.
Cummings completed finals last week, but the last of his grades
had yet to be turned in. He had a passing mark going into the
final, which counted for 70 percent of his grade, coach Ben Howland
Howland said Monday he is optimistic that Cummings will be eligible.
The Bruins are 3-1 without Cummings, who likely would come off
the bench if he's able to play against UC Santa Barbara on
After improving his conditioning, it's expected he'll start at power forward.
UCLA is averaging 42.2 rebounds, 8.8 more than its opponents.
Last season, the 6-foot-9, 220-pound Cummings averaged 10.3 points
and 4.9 rebounds.
"We need that presence inside of another really good rebounder
and a big body," Howland said.
Cummings has been practicing, but not with the starters. He
worked out Sunday, and Howland said he was winded. The Bruins have
two remaining nonconference games before the Pac-10 season starts
Cummings has been under the 24-hour scrutiny of Chris Carlson,
Howland's director of basketball operations. He made sure Cummings
attended tutoring sessions and met with professors and teaching
"We're going to stay on him," Howland said. "This will be
without question his most productive quarter as a college student,
which he should feel good about."
The Bruins received positive news about center Michael Fey, who
was poked in the left eye during Saturday night's overtime win
against Loyola Marymount. He left the game in the first half and
went to the hospital to be treated for a scratched cornea.
Fey's eye was red and sore Monday, and his vision was blurry
after using eyedrops. But he expected to practice Tuesday and then
"I've been poked in the eye before, but it hurt real bad," he
said. "I saw the blood, so I knew it was pretty bad."
Fey chipped his tooth in practice a couple weeks ago after he
caught an elbow from Ryan Hollins.
"I've been going to the doctor and dentist a lot lately," he
Freshman Trevor Ariza had an X-ray to see whether his collapsed
lung had reinflated Monday, and it came back normal. He scored 14
points in his first game Saturday, when he was forced to play 32
minutes after Fey got hurt.
Four of UCLA's five starters have averaged 32 minutes or more
because of the absences of Ariza and Cummings, and Howland's short
"I'm playing guys too many minutes. That probably contributed
to our giving the lead up," said Howland, referring to how the
Bruins blew all of a 14-point lead before Loyola Marymount forced
Ariza said he doesn't think about his lung when he's playing and
expressed confidence that he won't have any more setbacks.