Will Ben Howland pick up the pace?

UCLA picked up its first commitment for the class of 2011 when shooting guard Norman Powell announced yesterday that he would become a Bruin.

In the process, ESPNU's No. 55 overall recruit gave a quote to the San Diego Union-Tribune that indicates how UCLA teams in the future could adapt a faster-paced offense.

"I think UCLA will give me a chance to develop my skills to play at the next level," said Powell, who has a 45-inch vertical leap. "Coach (Ben) Howland said he wants to go back to the running game and that fits my style."

Running the floor isn't something usually associated with Howland, whose grind-it-out style has gotten him to three Final Fours but also garnered him criticism during times the Bruins have been less successful.

Jay Bilas recently discussed how the perception UCLA runs a slowdown offense hasn't helped with recruiting, and also attacked the myth that the style holds back players.

After all, Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison were among the first-round NBA draft picks to turn out just fine relying on their defense and letting their offensive talents shine as pros.

Already, Howland has going for him his record of sending guards to the NBA. And if that's not enough, it appears he's selling the idea that he'll adjust his offense to complement the skills of his recruits.

This worked well with Powell, who chose UCLA over San Diego State and is a player ESPNU describes as "an ultra-athletic scoring guard" who "excels in the open court."

And that's music to the ears of anyone who wants Howland's players to run the floor more.