UCLA staff turnover begins as Scott White, Demetrice Martin leave

Defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin. Photo by Rachel Luna/San Bernardino Sun, SCNG

Linebackers coach Scott White and defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin have left the UCLA coaching staff, sources close to the situation said, two weeks before UCLA’s bowl game against Kansas State and one week before the early signing period.

Although the assistants were initially expected to coach the Bruins through their bowl game on Dec. 26, the new recruiting structure prompted the departures last week. New head coach Chip Kelly hired linebackers coach Don Pellum and defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads and needed to trim the staff to stay under the NCAA limit while the new assistants begin recruiting to prepare for the signing period on Dec. 20.

The school has also already announced the hire of new defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro.

White and Martin were paid through their contracts.

Graduate assistants Dalton Hilliard and Kyle Weiss will take over the defensive backs and linebackers as the team prepares for the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 26 in Phoenix.

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UCLA loses longest-held commit ATH Isaiah Johnson

A few hours after UCLA grabbed a commitment from the top athlete in the country, Isaiah Johnson, a three-star athlete from Modesto Downey High, backed off the pledge he made in March.

Johnson, who was UCLA’s longest-held commit left in this class, told 247 Sports he’s still interested in several Pac-12 schools, including Cal, Colorado, Arizona and Washington State.

The Bruins have 11 known verbal commitments for the 2018 class, including three new ones under new head coach Chip Kelly. Serra athlete Bryan Addison announced his pledge Sunday night, joining running back Kazmeir Allen and offensive tackle Alec Anderson as Kelly’s first new commitments at UCLA.

Kelly hosted his first round of official visits last weekend. Tight end Tommy Tremble and offensive lineman Jarrett Bell, both undecided three-star recruits, were among the group that included Addison and committed quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The recruits toured the Rose Bowl, posed for photos in the Wasserman Football Center and met with coaches.

Tremble will announce his decision this Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Georgia native is deciding between Georgia, Notre Dame, Michigan and UCLA.

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Bryan Addison, No. 1 ATH in the country, commits to UCLA

 

Serra High’s Bryan Addison verbally committed to UCLA on Sunday after finishing his official visit to campus. The defensive back/receiver is No. 1 athlete in the country, according to 247 Sports.

Serra High is often considered a USC feeding ground, but rather than following former Serra stars like Robert Woods and Adoree’ Jackson to USC, Addison will join Serra alumni Jordan Lasley, Caleb Wilson and Brandon Burton in Westwood. Lasley, a redshirt junior, starred for the Bruins this year with 1,136 yards in eight games. Wilson was also poised for a breakout season until a foot injury cut his year short. The redshirt sophomore tight end was averaging 97.8 receiving yards per game.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound senior had 41 catches for 530 yards and seven touchdowns on offense for the Cavaliers with five interceptions on defense as Serra was knocked out of the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

Addison was also considering Nebraska, Michigan, Washington and Arizona State, where his older brother Joey Bryant plays.

Addison is Chip Kelly’s third verbal commitment since the head coach took over the job two weeks ago. He joins running back Kazmeir Allen from Tulare High and Alec Anderson, an offensive tackle from Etiwanda.

The Bruins have 12 known verbal commitments for the 2018 class with 10 days remaining before the early signing period.

Addison took his official visit with long-time UCLA commit quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, one of the most vocal figures in this recruiting cycle for the Bruins. The group also included tight end Tommy Tremble, offensive lineman Jarrett Bell, both undecided three-star recruits, and UCLA commits defensive end Abdul-Malik McClain and Anderson. The recruits toured the Rose Bowl, posed for photos in the Wasserman Football Center and met with coaches.

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UCLA squanders double-digit lead, loses in overtime to Michigan

Michigan guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, left, defends UCLA guard Aaron Holiday (3) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Aaron Holiday had a career-high 27 points against Michigan but it was another career mark that made the biggest impact for UCLA.

Holiday committed seven turnovers, surpassing the career-high six he set in his first collegiate game, as the Bruins gave the ball away 20 times in a 78-69 overtime loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor.

UCLA (7-2) had a 15-point lead with 14:48 to go, seemingly on the cusp of its first victory over a team with a winning record. But the Wolverines (8-3) chipped away steadily, tying the game with a pair of free throws from Eli Brooks at the end of regulation. UCLA turned the ball over five times in the final 15 minutes of the second half after building the double-digit lead without one.

In overtime, UCLA scored four points, off a basket from Holiday and a dunk from G.G. Goloman, but turned it over three times. Michigan was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field during the extra period, including back-to-back 3-pointers to start overtime.

Thomas Welsh tied his career-high in scoring with 22 points while adding 10 rebounds. Holiday, who played every minute of the second half and overtime, also had seven assists. The two upperclassmen combined for 49 of UCLA’s points. The next highest-scoring UCLA player was Goloman with seven.

UCLA returns to Pauley Pavilion next to face No. 17 Cincinnati on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

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UCLA faces toughest task of year at Michigan

UCLA guard Jaylen Hands, right, dribbles past South Carolina guard Tyvoris Solomon during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

It’s easy to look good against Detroit Mercy in Pauley Pavilion. Now UCLA has to do it on the road against a Big Ten opponent.

After its “growth week” was cut short by wildfires that canceled Wednesday’s game against Montana, UCLA (7-1) face Michigan on Saturday at 9 a.m. PT on CBS in the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines (7-3) are 5-0 at home while the Bruins are playing their first true road game of the season.

The Bruins (7-1) are coming off their most complete effort of the year, reducing their 106-73 win over Detroit Mercy on Sunday into a high-flying dunk contest. Freshman Jaylen Hands had a career-high 23 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

But UCLA has yet to record a win against a team with a winning record. The Bruins are 2-1 against teams from power conferences, with the two victories coming by a combined five points. UCLA survived against Georgia Tech (4-4 overall record) in China then needed a last-second layup to edge out Wisconsin (4-6) in Kansas City, Mo.

Junior forward Mortiz Wagner leads Michigan with 15.4 points per game and is the only Wolverine to score in double-figures in every game this year. He also leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 per game.

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