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.


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Three stars make their returns

From UCLA:

It feels like Alumni week here at UCLA.

Earlier, it was reported that Baron Davis and Ed O’Bannon were back on campus attending classes.
Well, basketball is not the only sport with famous alums returning to school.

Gaston Green, UCLA’s career rushing leader, is also in school and attended his first classes on Thursday.

Green, who lives with his family outside of Atlanta, will be attending both A and C sessions and will graduate at the end of the summer. During his four seasons (1984-87), he rushed for a school record 3,731 yards. His 40 touchdowns also set a record and still rank third on that UCLA list.

“I’m back in school to get my degree because I’m trying to get into the field of coaching, as well as other sports-related fields which require a college degree,” said Green about his return to UCLA.

“As a young student-athlete, sometimes you don’t realize the value of getting your degree. However, I can say now that the windows of opportunities are greater with a degree than without one. You give yourself a chance to have options with a degree.

“It’s great to be back here on campus. I have a lot of fond memories in my life and many of them were created here wearing Blue and Gold!”

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Vanderhook gets head gig at CS Fullerton

From UCLA:

FULLERTON, Calif. – Rick Vanderhook has been named head baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton after serving as an assistant coach at UCLA the past three seasons. Vanderhook played at Cal State Fullerton in 1983 and 1984 before spending 21 seasons as an assistant coach for the Titans.

Over the past three years at UCLA, Vanderhook guided the Bruins as their hitting and outfield coach, in addition to playing a central role in the program’s recruiting efforts.

“Rick did an outstanding job for our program the last three years,” head coach John Savage said. “I am very excited for him and his new opportunity, one that is well-deserved.”

Vanderhook has spent 26 seasons as an assistant coach – 21 at Cal State Fullerton (1985-1988, 1991-2007), three at UCLA (2009-11) and two at Cal State Northridge (1989-1990).

In 2010, Vanderhook made his 11th trip to the College World Series as an assistant coach, leading UCLA to its third appearance at the College World Series. UCLA advanced to the best-of-three championship series at the College World Series for the first time in school history, posting a school-record 51 wins that season.

In 2011, UCLA earned its first outright Pac-10 Conference title since 1986 and hosted an NCAA Regional for the second consecutive season. Prior to 2010, the Bruins had not hosted a postseason game since 1986.

The past three seasons at UCLA, Vanderhook saw 12 hitters selected in the MLB Draft, including five position players at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

As a Division I assistant coach, Vanderhook has compiled a 1026-469-2 record over 24 seasons. Overall, he has posted a 1095-510-3 record in 26 years as a collegiate assistant coach.

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By the way….

I honestly care less about golf than pretty much any sport on earth – behind jai lai and badminton, though badminton is close – but what this kid Patrick Cantlay is doing has even me interested.

Cantlay – whom Jill Painter profiled here and here – is just torching the field at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.

After finishing as the low amateur – low as in high, as in good, whatever, as the best amateur – last week at the U.S. Open, the UCLA rising sophomore shot a ridiculous 60 (SIXTY!) in the second round to set a new PGA Tour record for an amateur. He leads the field by four strokes and is trying to become the first amateur to win on the Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991.

Cantlay was recently named the Jack Nicklaus Award winner as national player of the year and also picked up the Phil Mickelson Award as national freshman of the year, going along with his Pac-10 player and freshman of the year honors.

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UCLA picks up second verbal commit of the week

Two days after picking up a verbal commitment from speedy cornerback Shannon Edwards, UCLA caught a big fish today with the news that hulking tight end Ian Taubler has verbally committed.

Taubler told Inside UCLA Campus Correspondent Jacob Ruffman that he was close to a commitment last weekend, and he has long been interested in the Bruins.

Taubler becomes UCLA’s highest-rated verbal commit so far, joining Edwards and the Hawaiian Hurricanes, Steven Lakalaka and Psalm Wooching, and he fills a position of need. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins go after another tight end in this class.

At 6-5, 250 pounds, though, a possible shift to offensive tackle at some point wouldn’t be out of the question, either. He has a solid, strong frame with good blocking skills, although his skill-position skills could use some work – speed, hands, route-running.

Taubler’s commitment, however, is a big one in my book, as UCLA needs to keep working at this tier of prospect until they start showing something on the field. The Bruins can’t really expect a five-star to commit right now, and I think Rick Neuheisel learned something last year with the class that the team eventually got. I think the hiring of Mike Johnson and Inoke Breckterfield – two guys who are very familiar with the Oregon State style – was just the first sign that the team was going to change its direction a little.

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