Basketball: Morgan dismissed from UCLA squad

UCLA coach Ben Howland today dismissed little-used sophomore center J’mison Morgan, deciding “it was in the best interest both for our program and for him to leave here.”

Morgan is the latest piece of a highly touted but disappointing freshman class of a year ago to depart the program. The quintet Jrue Holiday, Drew Gordon, Jerime Anderson, Malcolm Lee and Morgan was rated the nation’s No.1 recruiting class entering the 2008-09 campaign. 

Holiday exited for the NBA last spring after averaging 8.5  ppg as a freshman in 2008-09, and is scoring 7.7 ppg for the Philadelphia 76ers. San Jose native Gordon left the program in December and has transferred to New Mexico, and now Morgan is out the door. Lee averaged 12.1 ppg this season and Anderson 5.8 ppg for the Bruins, who suffered through a 14-18 season.

Morgan played in 19 games, contributing 1.9 ppg and 1.3 rpg. The Bruins’ incoming freshman class includes 6-10 center Josh Smith, a top-25 prospect from of Kentwood, Wash.

Jeff Faraudo