Play It Forward Nov. 9-15: It’s not China, but there’s a comfort level for UCLA, USC hoops

Steve Alford has won 50 games in his first two seasons at UCLA, with two Sweet 16 appearances. Is that enough to bank on for Year 3 of his plan?

Steve Alford has won 50 games in his first two seasons at UCLA, with two Sweet 16 appearances. Is that enough to bank on for Year 3 of his plan?

Details/TV: At Pauley Pavilion, Friday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network:

Details/TV: At Galen Center, Friday at 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network

The Bruins and Trojans open the 2015-16 college basketball season at home.
Perhaps it could have been a Shanghai surprise.
bevo_051315One of the things that the Pac-12 wants to do more of these days is conquer new territory, spread cultural good will and create teaching moments. The Pacific Rim is just as much as Pac-12 territory as anywhere else. Lorenzo Romar’s University of Washington, turns out, was sold on the idea of going thousands of miles from home, bringing along Shaka Smart’s University of Texas team, for the first U.S. sports league – collegiate or professional – to hold a regular-season contest in China (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN, taking place at 11 a.m. Saturday in Shanghai). Yes, it counts. How much extra in the RPI, we’re not sure.
(As long as we’re bragging about taking chances, how about the fact Gonzaga faces Pittsburgh in their opener in Okinawa, Japan – ESPN, 4 p.m., leading into Washington-Texas).
Meanwhile, UCLA and USC will play it safe. Real safe.
uclaweb22s-2-webSoon enough, the third season for Bruins coach Steve Alford will eventually include a Pauley Pavilion visit by Kentucky (Dec. 3), a trip to Hawaii for Maui Invitational that could draw Kansas (Nov. 24), a game at Gonzaga (Dec. 12) and a roadie in Brooklyn against North Carolina (Dec. 19). But in the process of playing nine home games in the first 14 non-conference opponents, the Bruins start off with a MAAC team that went 18-15 last season, and then get the Big West’s Cal Poly on Sunday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network), 13-16 last year. Normal Powell and Kevon Looney are gone, but Alford’s son, junior guard Bryce, leads a group with only one senior (6-foot-9 postman Tony Parker) and two highly-recruited freshman guards in Aaron Holiday (Campbell Hall) and Prince Ali to share the ball.
UCLA, coming off two Sweet 16 appearances and 50 wins in the last couple of season under Alford, didn’t crack the Top 25 of the first AP writers and USA Today coaches poll. Neither did USC, but that’s somewhat expected.
Enfield-NYT-Aurelio-Jose-BarreraTrojans coach Andy Enfield has just a 23-41 record in his two seasons, and the gleam off his Sweet 16 run with Florida Gulf Coast might be lost by now. USC lost seven league games by five points or less in 2014-15, and coming back are junior guard Katin Reinhardt (12.5 points a game), Pac-12 All-Freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin (12.1 points), and 6-foot-11 forward Nikola Jovanovic (12.3 points, 7 rebounds). They are joined by freshman forwards Chimezie Metu (6-foot-11 out of Lawndale High) and Bennie Boatwright (6-foot-10 out of Village Christian High). USC’s preconference schedule will include nine of 13 games at home, with the most intriguing a trip to Orlando, Fla., to face No. 10 Wichita State on Thanksgiving Day.
UNC BasketballOther openers of national importance on Friday: No. 1 North Carolina vs. Temple (4 p.m., CBS SportsNet), No. 2 Kentucky vs. Albany (4 p.m., SEC Network), No. 3 Maryland vs. Mount St. Mary’s (4 p.m., Big Ten Network), No. 5 Duke vs. Siena (4 p.m., ESPNU), No. 12 Arizona vs. Pacific (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), No. 14 Cal vs. Rice (8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), No. 16 Utah vs. Southern Utan (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), Arizona State hosting Sacramento State (4:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), Washington State vs. Northern Arizona (5:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network), and St. John’s hosting Wagner (3 p.m., Fox Sports 1). The first game of the Friday official opener: Vermont at Eastern Michigan, 11 a.m. local time.
Other local openers: Pepperdine at Fresno State (Friday, 7 p.m.), Loyola Marymount vs. Cal State Fullerton (Friday, 7 p.m.), Long Beach State vs. BYU Hawaii (Saturday, 4 p.m.), Cal State Northridge at Northern Illinois (Friday, 5 p.m., ESPN3), Cal State San Bernardino at Azusa Pacific (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), and Cal State Dominguez Hills at Cal Baptist (Friday, 7 p.m.).


Screen-Shot-2015-08-22-at-11.40.07-AM1Ronda Rousey goes to Australia to improve her MMA global brand by taking on local Holly Holm in UFC 193 (Saturday, 7:45 p.m., pay per view) …The 11th week of college football has UCLA playing its final home game (Saturday, vs. Washington State, 7:45 p.m., ESPN) and USC going to Colorado (Friday, 6 p.m., ESPN2) … The Clippers won’t be able to hide out in Dallas (Wednesday, 5 p.m., ESPN) … The NHRA Auto Club Finals rev back up at Pomona (Thursday-Sunday, ESPN2) … Have you ever seen cricket played? Dodger Stadium will have an exhibition (Saturday, 6:30 p.m.) … More at this link …

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Angela Ruggiero and a Hockey Hall pass: You wish they all could be California girls

Angela Ruggiero's Hockey Hall of Fame plaque is already in place prior to Monday's ceremony (

Angela Ruggiero’s Hockey Hall of Fame plaque is already in place prior to Monday’s ceremony (

Angela Ruggiero was thousands of miles away from California, sitting in a New York airport, waiting to fly to Toronto.
Her mind was already soaring.
She was told that for the first time, the Kings have decided to sponsor a girls hockey league. The NHL team’s community outreach program discovered it could fill 40 roster spots with competitors aged 8-to-12 years old, and send them to upcoming holiday tournaments to face other girls teams supported by the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.
ruggiero“Really, that’s pretty cool,” she said with a laugh.
Somewhere in the hockey family tree, Ruggiero was there when the seed was planted. She can now see it’s fruition.
The 35-year-old from Panorama City and Simi Valley, a cum laude Harvard graduate, four-time All-American, four-time member of the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey squad (1998-2002-2006-2010) that won gold, two silvers and a bronze, and committed member of the International Olympic Committee dedicated to growing the sport worldwide has one more thing to pinch herself about –becoming the next inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night.
And the first California born and raised, male or female.

More on this story here …..

More on Ruggiero:
2359848== The list of inductees for the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Ruggiero is the fourth woman player inducted into the Hall, with Cami Granato (a one-time Kings radio analyst), Angela James and Geraldine Heaney.
== Ruggiero’s official webstite
== A Ruggiero bio in the Encyclopedia of World Biography.
== A feature on by Jon Lane on how Ruggiero enters the Hall compared to the great Bobby Orr.
== More reaction to Ruggiero’s induction on
== A Q&A with Ruggiero from the LA Daily News in 2010 prior to her fourth and final trip to the Olympics, in Vancouver
== A 1996 Daily News feature on Ruggiero when, at 16, she became the youngest member of the U.S. women’s national team
== A 1998 Daily News feature on Ruggiero when, at 18, she became the youngest member of the Winter Olympic US. women’s hockey team
== A 2002 Daily News feature on Ruggiero when she played for the U.S. Olympic team in Salt Lake City, Utah
== A feature on Ruggiero’s induction from and from the Toronto Sun.
== Ruggiero’s autobiography, “Breaking the Ice,” written in 2005

Angela Ruggiero, left, shakes hands with Hockey Hall of Fame officials prior to NHL  action between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings in Toronto on Friday night in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Angela Ruggiero, left, shakes hands with Hockey Hall of Fame officials prior to NHL action between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings in Toronto on Friday night in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

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It’s Out of the Question: Where do we dial up Kobe on a week-to-weak basis?

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

Has Laker-for-life Kobe Bryant decided that the best way to rebuild his brand is doing so brick by brick?
“I’m the 200th best player in the league right now,” he said sarcastically after a recent air-ball-filled performance.
Or, worse?
Before the season started, the statistical model for the website projected Bryant to be the 236th best player in the NBA. With 30 teams and 15 per roster, that’s a pool of 450.
The latest recalibration of the software has KB24 at No. 468.
That’s for all-time, right?

== Hermosa Beach is less than a week away from unveiling a tribute sculpture/fountain to honor the great ‘60s surfer Dewey Weber.
It’ll be right up the hill from another statue at the base of the Hermosa pier, one that salutes Tim Kelly and his lifeguard brethren.
IMG_4720Over at the Redondo Beach pier, a bust of Hawaiian George Freeth might look more a grave headstone, but there’s where tourists can read about how he introduced surfing to the area more than a century ago. That is, of the scrap-metal thieves haven’t busted it loose.
So how long before we get to take a SoCal selfie with another surf legend statue in the image of Duke Kahanamoku?
Hang loose.
David Davis, author of the new book, “Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku” (University of Nebraska Press, $26.95, 315 pages), correctly points outs there already is a larger-than-life bronze of the Duke in Huntington Beach, near the chain restaurant in his name.
But you know what might serve as a more apt tribute to the Duke today?
“What about a star for him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?” asked Davis. “Now that would be cool.”
Davis’ book documents how, along with Freeth, Duke is rightly credited in helping to grow the sport from Venice Beach to Long Beach as early as 1912. His impact in Los Angeles includes visible membership at the L.A. Athletic Club as an U.S. Olympic swimmer and water polo player, then years later “branding” himself (that wasn’t the term then) as the surfing ambassador during the days of televised competition.

At the 1924 Olympics in France, U.S. swimmers Duke Kahanamoku, right, and Johnny Weismuller shake hands. (Image by Bettmann/CORBIS)

At the 1924 Olympics in France, U.S. swimmers Duke Kahanamoku, right, and Johnny Weismuller shake hands. (Image by Bettmann/CORBIS)

But there’s the subtext of Duke’s life, when Tinseltown tormented him in the 1920s. Johnny Weissmuller, trying to make a living as an actor after his Olympic swimming success, became Mr. All-American, a five-time gold medal-winning swimmer at the ’24 and ’28 Games.
Duke, a five-time medalist between 1912 and 1924, was turned into a type-casted native chief or a Hawaiian king when turned to Hollywood for employment.
Waterman Book Cover“First, Duke was this full-blooded Hawaiian who I don’t think many considered to be a true pioneer among the minority movement in sports – a time when there was Joe Louis, Jesse Owens and eventually Jackie Robinson,” said Davis, whose book goes into such historic detail that it measures up to the story Laura Hillenbrand told of Louie Zamperini in “Unbroken.”
“He was a dark-skinned Pacific Islander who faced prejudice everywhere, including in Hollywood, sad to say. The irony is that his biggest rivalry in the pool, Weissmuller becomes a big movie star as Tarzan, while Duke is relegated to the side.
“Duke is very known in the surfing community, but beyond that, his story is lost and under-recognized. Maybe the star would be a way to not just recognize his talents, but also make up for the injustice.”
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, Weissmuller has his star cemented, on the north side of the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard. Who’s up to a rising tide of support for the idea that Duke gets on a star trek?

== The surf community has been waxing on about the new “View From A Blue Moon” flick coming out in early December, but with some screenings next week in Newport Beach.
The film’s star, John John Florence, recently had a rough ride through an airport – his boards were destroyed by some baggage handlers, and the airline claims it can’t do anything about it.
Maybe it’s for the better. If that’s what handlers did to the boards, how would they have held up to a shark attack?

More Questions at this link …


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Weekly media notes version 11.05.15: Assess this mess? We confess, we can’t

Still deciding on a plan for Sunday’s media column. Until then, what else is worth putting out at this point in the week:

simersgod== Following six weeks of the court’s time, and after originally seeking $18 million in damages, T.J. Simers’ $7.13 million age discrimination lawsuit victory against the L.A. Times is chronicled in the newspaper’s own story posted late Wednesday.
E133C8F57D7B457E8A558CFCFB51237C.ashxMost still find it hard to get their head around how he drew a $234,000 salary from the newspaper, and then received another $190,000 from the Orange County Register before taking a buyout. Neither paper is in any great financial shape, no matter what the going rate is for experienced, antagonistic columnists.
A publication called Courthouse News Service reported even more on the closing arguments earlier this week.
Said the jury foreman in the Times’ account: “It seemed that they didn’t deal with Mr. Simers in a proper manner. How can you take someone who’s been doing that well and then all of a sudden he’s not up to par? I have got to feel there’s something there.”
18430803Simers, who didn’t speak to the Times’ reporter, said instead to his other former employer, the Orange County Register: “I’ve been a journalist for 40-plus years and I’ve just been saddened by what has happened with the L.A. Times and other newspapers across the country. I did this for other journalists.
“Take an extra minute to think about what you’re doing to professional people who have worked really hard to be good at their craft. At any minute it feels like the rug could be pulled out from under you, and it shouldn’t be that way.”
The point of contention is Simers had some outside business media dealings while working at the Times that were not disclosed. He was expanding his brand.
Local journalists trying to survive on a weekly basis on a limited salary, trying to put this all in context, may be easily confused.
None of them will get a piece of Simers’ award for their troubles. He may never see it either — the Times will appeal the decision.
The specter of Los Angeles media is in constant survival mode, and writers, editors, photographers and many behind-the-scenes people become collateral damage. As in almost any industry — heck, they’re going to shut down the Kraft plant in Fullerton where Lunchables are made, and there’s 400-plus more people out of work.
Journalists aren’t looking for a free lunch here, or even one discounted in a nice plastic tray available at 7-Eleven for budget-conscious survival.
Maybe it’s easier to say there is a greater cause at stake when you’ve just won the lottery. Had Simers lost, we’d like to see how those remarks would have been rewritten.
Until then, read some of the reader responses to stories about this decision in The Times and Daily Variety or even Twitter, and decide for yourself which side of justice prevailed.

== “Journalists Should Stand Against ‘Twussification,” Jason Whitlock writes in his latest piece.
“Twitter is spin,” he correctly writes. “Journalists, particularly editors, need to recognize this. If it’s trending on Twitter, it’s more than likely bullshit.”
wtpictureNot long afterward, The Caldron’s Julie DiCaro appearing on tweeted out a link to her story related to Whitlock: “I wrote about Whitlock’s obnoxious, pearl-clutching, ‘defense’ of journalism.”
The Caldron also tweeted out: “The insufferable has opinions. Problem is, no one cares. | via
Whitlock retweeted the DiCaro link and added the comment: “This is cute.”
And this is what today they call a journalistic dialogue.

== Fox Sports 1 attempts to build some credibility by carrying MLB playoff games, college football and basketball contests, signing up Colin Cowherd and re-signing Whitlock.
Then it decides to go TMZ Sports.
A half-hour show produced by the L.A.-based celebrity muckraking organization will air on FS1 starting  Monday at 9 p.m. (or, midnight in the East). It will be bumped to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays when the aptly named “Garbage Time With Katie Nolan” appears for its weekly folly.
Fox Sports net president Jamie Horowitz says in a release that TMZ Sports “offers a window into the world where sport and celebrity cultures intersect — whether at a party, movie premiere or an ordinary day. To both avid and casual sports fans, these stories are captivating.”
Evan Rosenblum
, whom the LA News Group included in a recent list of the 50 most power people in Southern California sports, continues to executive produce the TMZ Sports arena.
barneztmzWe’ve said it before and we don’t even have to say it again. Because Matt Yoder of does a credible job of it here in a piece entitled “The Kardashianization of Sports Media is now complete.”
Tying it all together — the dissolving of Grantland, the rise of TMZ Sports, and both ESPN and Fox Sports laying off long-time behind-the-scenes employees — Yoder concludes:
“The truth behind this new reality is that we are all culpable. Nobody can escape blame here. Because if Grantland made money it would still be around. If (ESPN) First Take wasn’t drawing record ratings and Outside the Lines was, maybe we’d see more of an emphasis on quality sports journalism.
“If we made a conscious decision to tune out the provocateurs, maybe we wouldn’t have a nation of aspiring sportswriters who think their quickest way to fame and celebrity is trolling, gossiping, and baiting anyone in sight.
“If we demanded more great content and less click-monsters, it would be supplied to us because all of these ventures ultimately are for-profit ones.”
Maybe it sound better when someone else says what you’ve been trying to get across for years, eh? Continue reading

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Play It Forward Nov. 2-8: Clippers get a reminder of what went wrong last season

clippers-vs-rockets-live2-7841747933THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
Details/TV: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN, Prime Ticket
Details/TV: Staples Center, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:
A week into the schedule, and the Clippers can be forgiven if they’re having anxiety flashbacks to last summer.
A Western Conference final between the Clippers and eventual champion Warriors didn’t happen. That’s because of what happened in Games 6 and 7 of their semifinal series against the Rockets. The Game 6 fourth-quarter meltdown at Staples Center is one of the most brutal in the Clippers’ already mangled franchise history — a 19-point fourth-quarter lead evaporating into a 12-point loss, followed a couple of days later by the Rockets sealing the deal with a 13-point win in Game 7 to move onward.
la-la-sp-cn-chris-paul-jac-wre0031814344-20151020The Clippers’ 3-0 start after the first week of this season beats the alternative, but it might not amount to much unless they’re capable of registering a couple of important statement victories. First comes Golden State, who also started the second week 3-0, including a 20-point win against the Rockets, and have been outscoring opponents by a league-best 16.7 points a game, with Steph Curry averaging 39.3 points a contest. The Clippers and Warriors got a little testy during the exhibition season – a 130-95 Clippers’ win was punctuated by eight technical fouls and Chris Paul’s ejection.
The Rockets duck back into to Staples Center over the weekend, with Dwight Howard, James Harden and Trevor Ariza sizing up former teammates Josh Smith wearing a Clippers uniform now. With a new logo on it, at that.
Also this week: Clippers are home vs. Phoenix (Monday, 7:30 p.m.)


USC, 5-3 overall, 3-2 in the Pac-12 and 2-1 under Clay Helton, have a homecoming game against Arizona at the Coliseum (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN) … UCLA goes to Oregon State for the first time since 2011 (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network) … The Kings try to extend their winning stream to eight in Chicago against the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks (Monday, 5:30 p.m., FSW) … The Lakers make their only trip to New York to play the Nets (Friday, 4:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet) and Knicks (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet) … Timothy Bradley Jr. faces Brandon Rios at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas (Saturday, 6:30 p.m., HBO) … More at this link …

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