So….now what?

The news today that USC has lost its appeal for myriad sanctions handed down last year has instant ramifications for UCLA.

The Trojans recruited at a blistering pace last season, and even early in this recruiting period, with eight verbal commitments so far. USC will likely go into next season with around 65-68 on the roster, and with the 75-scholarship max, the Trojans class could be that small, only around 7-11 kids.

That means the Bruins must pounce, and pounce quickly, on local talent. Scouring the country for players who want to come west is all well and good, but there is a stockpile of talent in California, and UCLA can’t afford to let Stanford, Cal and Oregon fill the gap. If the Bruins even get two top-level players per year over the next three years because of sanctions, that’s a huge shift.

It’s not as if the see-saw has completely flipped, though. USC still has good talent for the next two years, even if that talent is thinning. As repeated ad nauseum, UCLA has to win – and win now – for a real shift to take place.

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UCLA APR Rates

From UCLA:

Today, the NCAA released Academic Progress Rates (APR) for all sports teams at Division I colleges and universities. The latest averages cover the four-year period from 2006-07 through 2009-10.

Each of UCLA’S 24 sports had four-year APR averages above the 925 score the NCAA uses as a threshold for penalties. In fact, 18 of UCLA’s 24 sports (75%) had four-year averages of 970 or higher. Twenty-two sports had scores of at least 950 with a 23rd at 948.

“Our student-athletes work extremely hard to be just as successful in the classroom as they are on the field of competition,” said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero. “The data released by the NCAA is a tribute to the determination of those student-athletes. The data also speaks volumes about all of our outstanding academic support personnel and our coaches, who continuously stress the importance of taking advantage of the educational opportunities at UCLA.”

An APR score of 925 is the minimum level of academic success; teams scoring below 925 can lose scholarships and face other sanctions over time, including bans on postseason play.

Since the inception of the APR system, UCLA has never suffered a loss of scholarship in any sport due to a low APR average.

Here are UCLA’s four-year APR averages by sport:
Baseball – 979 (national average 959)
Football – 956 (national average 946)
Men’s Basketball – 948 (national average 945)
Men’s Cross Country – 989
Men’s Golf – 930
Men’s Soccer – 972
Men’s Tennis – 985
Men’s Track, Indoor – 968
Men’s Track, Outdoor – 956
Men’s Volleyball – 972
Men’s Water Polo – 970
Softball – 993
Women’s Basketball – 973
Women’s Cross Country – 977
Women’s Golf – 1000 (Top 10 percent nationally in sport)
Women’s Gymnastics – 973
Women’s Rowing – 979
Women’s Soccer – 957
Women’s Swimming – 984
Women’s Tennis – 979
Women’s Track, Indoor – 982
Women’s Track, Outdoor – 976
Women’s Volleyball – 976
Women’s Water Polo – 987

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Weekly Q&A

Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.

Thanks
Jon

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UCLA men’s golf wins NCAA regional

From UCLA:

San Diego, CA – The No. 2/ No. 4 (Golfstat/Golfweek) ranked UCLA men’s golf team came back from four strokes down entering the day to win the NCAA West Regional by three shots over rivals USC. In addition, freshman Patrick Cantlay earned individual medalist honors by shooting 13 under par for the tournament.

The victory is Coach Derek Freeman’s 12th win as UCLA head coach and the 4th tournament win for the Bruins this year. This also marks the second time in Freeman’s tenure that the Bruins have won the NCAA Regional title, with the team winning the NCAA Central Regional back in 2009. In addition, the Bruins have now qualified for the NCAA Championship nine years in a row, a school record.

The Bruins shot a final round 282 (-6), giving them a total score of 854 (-10). As mentioned before, they finished three strokes ahead second place USC, who posted a final round 289 (+1) to finish at 857 (-7). The two teams will move on to the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, OK along with San Diego, Ohio State and Texas.

“We are very excited about winning the NCAA Regional Championship,” Head Coach Derek Freeman said. “Patrick played very well and carried us to the victory. This will give us some positive momentum as we prepare for the national championship.”

Individually, freshman Patrick Cantlay fired a final round 67 (-5) to secure medalist honors at the Regional with a score of 203 (-13). The win was Patrick’s 4th of the year, expanding the single-season freshman record that he set earlier this year. He also now has an astounding 18 rounds under par, eight top 10 finishes and is currently shooting 26 under par through 34 rounds of golf. Finally, with the win, Cantlay became just the third UCLA golfer to win an NCAA Regional individual title, joining Travis Johnson in 2004 and Kevin Chappell in 2006.

“I’m really happy with the way myself and the team played this week,” said Cantlay. “The golf course was in great shape and I’m looking forward to the NCAA Finals in Oklahoma.”

As for the rest of the Bruins, junior Alex Shi Yup Kim tied for 13th place at 217 (+1) after recording three birdies on his round to give him a final round score of 70 (-2). Sophomore Pedro Figueiredo shot a final round 72 (E) to finish in a tie for 17th at 218 (+2). Finally, sophomore Pontus Widegren and junior Gregor Main tied for 28th place at 220 (+4) after they posted final round scores of 74 (+2) and 73 (+1) respectively.

The Bruins will be back out on the course for the final time this year from Tuesday, May 31st to Sunday, June 5th at the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, OK at Karsten Creek Golf Course. UCLA played this course earlier in the year at the Fall Preview back in September, finishing in 2nd place. The format of the NCAA Championship will be 54 holes of stroke play played from Tuesday to Thursday, after which the field will be cut down to the top eight finishers. Those top eight teams will then play three rounds of single elimination match play against each other.

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No. 107: UCLA women’s golf wins national championship

From UCLA:

College Station, TX – The No. 2 ranked UCLA women’s golf team battled through tough weather conditions all week and brought home UCLA’s third NCAA title in women’s golf. UCLA has now won a national-best 107 NCAA titles.

The title is Head Coach Carrie Forsyth’s second National Championship as UCLA head coach as she also won back in 2004. This is also her 40th tournament victory as the Bruins’ head coach.

“This was huge for us,” Forsyth said. “I’m just really proud. We had some struggles on the front nine and we just kept telling ourselves that our rounds were kind of the same. We just made more birdies in the other rounds and we weren’t making any birdies. Then things started to go when Stephanie got it back to one-over. Then Lee got one and we just started making some birdies and it just sort of turned the tide a little bit. But it was still really close.”

The Bruins won by four strokes after posting a final round score of 295 (+7), giving them a total of 1,173 (+21). They had to hold off a late charge by the Purdue Boilermakers, who posted a final round 292 (+4) to give them an overall score of 1,177 (+25). The Bruins were also helped out by a disqualification by a Purdue golfer after she signed an incorrect scorecard.

“It was very unfortunate what happened with (the Purdue golfer),” remarked Forsyth. “I know at the end of the day it didn’t make the difference but you don’t want that to happen.”

LSU finished in third at 1,181 (+29) while Virginia finished in fourth at 1,186 (+34). Arkansas and USC tied for fifth with a score of 1,190 (+38).

When asked about how this compared to her first NCAA title back in 2004, Coach Forsyth said, “The first time is amazing, but after the first time you wonder if you can ever do it again. It’s different, but it’s just as awesome as the first time.”

UCLA got a stellar effort from all five players today as each member of the team came up with big plays down the stretch. Purdue had taken over the lead from the Bruins after the 11th hole and things started to get tense before the Bruins took over on the back nine.

“The back nine for me was a little bit of a blur,” sophomore Tiffany Lua said. “But I can say this for everyone, all we try to do is play one shot at a time and try to hit fairways and greens. We just fought for every shot out there.”

Continue reading

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Maiava named to Rimington Trophy Watch List

From UCLA:

UCLA senior center Kai Maiava has been named to the 2011 Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List. The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top center.

The list includes 14 returning players from the 2010 Watch List, including Maiava. In all, there are 42 players on the Watch List.

Maiava missed the entire 2010 season due to a fractured left ankle suffered during the Fall Scrimmage. He started all 12 regular-season games in 2009 after sitting out the 2008 season following his transfer from Colorado.

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Wooching joins UCLA clan

Psalm Wooching , a running back/linebacker from Hawaii’s Kealakehe High, just confirmed numerous reports that he has committed to UCLA.

I fly back from New York tomorrow and have an interview set up with him for tomorrow night, barring any unforeseen complications, and I’m really looking forward to the talk. We emailed back and forth briefly, and he seems like a great kid. Last thing he said was, “Happy to become a Bruin,” and that was just him saying goodbye.

I’ve long talked about UCLA getting this type of player, and it’s the second one in two days, as Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman reported yesterday that the Bruins picked up another commitment from Honolulu Punahou High running back Steven Lakalaka. Inoke Breckterfield is doing well so far with his new recruiting commitment, something Huffman foresaw in our recent chat.

Take a look at his film, and watch how Wooching reads blockers. Pretty good. He’ll have to put on some weight to play at the next level, but he seems to have some real football instincts.

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