UCLA Pro Day closed to media, public

From UCLA:

In order to create the best environment possible for our outgoing senior student-athletes, UCLA Pro Day will be closed to the public and media.

“Pro Day is a critical day for all football players looking to continue their careers in the pros,” said UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora. “We want our players to be completely focused on the task at hand and able to work in an environment free of distractions.”

UCLABruins.com will feature exclusive videos and photos from the day.

UCLA begins Spring Practice on Monday, April 3 on Spaulding Field. Practices will be held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout April and the first week of May, and will culminate on May 5 with the Spring Scrimmage at the Rose Bowl.

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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 out-everythinged in loss to St. John’s

NEW YORK -

UCLA was out-savvied by a team starting five true freshmen.

UCLA was out-hustled by a team down to just six players in its rotation.
And UCLA ultimately was outplayed by a team that had lost its previous four games by a combined 87 points.

St. John’s sent UCLA back across the country with a 66-63 loss at Madison Square Garden in front of 7,305 and many more watching CBS’s marquee Saturday afternoon game.

The Bruins’ lights flickered out quickly, though, as the Red Storm clearly displayed more energy and emotion.

“They played very inspired,” UCLA senior guard Jerime Anderson said. “They played like they’ve had a tough time the last few games and they really wanted to come out and get the win. They got to most of the loose balls, offensive rebounds – that really hurt us.”

The Bruins hurt themselves more:

By turning the ball over with ruthless efficiency, finishing with 16, including eight by sophomore guard Tyler Lamb alone.

By failing to box out, particularly when it mattered most, as Red Storm freshman guard Phil Greene tipped in a D’Angelo Harrison 3-point miss right over Anderson with six seconds left to give St. John’s a four-point lead.

And, most egregious, by playing with the gusto of a napping sloth as St. John’s played as if the ball was made of 24-karat gold.

“They had the sense of urgency to go and get the rebound and they made it happen,” Lamb said. “They made that win happen.”
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UCLA trails St. John’s 35-30 at the half

The cross-country flight must have sapped UCLA’s energy, because St. John’s sure looks springier on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Storm have a 35-30 lead as they lead the offensive rebounding battle 7-2, and D’Angelo Harrison has been the offensive benefactor.

Harrison has 11 first-half points and St. John’s overcame 36.7 percent shooting to take the early lead, thanks to nine UCLA turnovers.

Tyler Lamb was the primary culprit, committing five first-half turnovers, but he atoned with a team-high 10 points. Joshua Smith added eight, on 4-4 shooting, but Jerime Anderson started 0-5.

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Bruins ready for “marquee” Saturday matchup

NEW YORK –
When the college basketball schedule-makers gave UCLA and St. John’s a marquee CBS Saturday morning game in mid-February, expectations were just a bit higher.

The Bruins entered the season as the Pacific-12 conference favorites, coming off a third-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament and with a frontcourt that was projected to rival the country’s best. The Red Storm, meanwhile, were coming off a wonderful one-season turnaround, the team heading to the tournament for the first time since 2002 with a 21-12 record under first-year coach Steve Lavin.

This was supposed to be Los Angeles and its finest versus New York and its finest in the finest arena in the land, Madison Square Garden. This was UCLA, and its lore, against St. John’s, and its lore. Ben Howland vs. Lavin, current Bruin coach against former Bruin coach, a year after the two met at Pauley Pavilion.

Instead? UCLA is 15-11 and 8-6 in Pac-12 play, barely staying above water in a season that ranks among the league’s worst in recent memory. St. John’s has regressed to 10-16 with Lavin sidelined for much of the year while dealing with his battle with prostate cancer.

But while the game, which tips off at 10 a.m. PST, has lost its luster, don’t tell those involved.

“It’s special for me,” Howland said. “Our players are excited for it, we got to practice in the Garden. So that was a big deal – every great player who has played this game has played in the Garden – that’s special. And then to be playing against St. John’s, you’re talking about the two biggest media markets in the United States of America in Los Angeles and New York. So it’s real nice.”

It would be nicer for the Bruins if they can duplicate their success from last year.
St. John’s stormed into Pauley Pavilion six days after walloping No. 3-ranked Duke at the Garden, and UCLA promptly sent the Red Storm back to New York with barely a drizzle, winning 66-59. Despite 22 turnovers, the Bruins made it to the free throw line 41 times, including 33 times in the second half, while St. John’s was given just seven foul shots. More importantly for Howland, UCLA held the Red Storm to under 40 percent shooting.

But that was then and this is now and the two teams could not be much more different. Just a year later, the Bruins are without Tyler Honeycutt, Malcolm Lee and Reeves Nelson and St. John’s is essentially a completely different team, with eight freshmen and three upperclassmen, only one of whom contributes meaningful minutes.

“They had an all senior-dominated lineup a year ago, and now they have all freshmen,” Howland said. “Of course, with Coach Lavin going through what he’s had to go through, first being diagnosed and then going all through the research to find out what was the best path to take, and then finally probably trying to come back a little too soon because he wanted to be there for his team, they’ve gone through a lot. But Mike Dunlap is a veteran coach, and an outstanding coach, and he’s done a great job for this team. I think they’ve really progressed.”

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