Just a Lil’ Diddy

Look, let’s not fool ourselves.

We all know It’s All About The Benjamins.

The mass hysteria over the UCLA athletic scholarship earned – earned. – by Justin Combs may be a few months late, but it’s entirely understandable.

After all, money is a Crazy Thang.

But it is wrong.

Why is there no hoopla when a rich banker’s kid receives a free ride? Or a dentist’s? Or a stock broker or an accountant? Athletic scholarships are merit-based, not need-based.

In this Journey Through the Life, people have to understand that the Young G’s deserve what they get.

Lil Diddy owned scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa, Virginia and West Virginia, as well, and little doubt that if he’d ended up a Hawkeye or a Mountaineer, the naysayers out there would be just as loud.

Last Night, I kept reading comments from people smashing this kid, fans from all over Makin’ It Hard On Him.

That’s Crazy.

Yes, he’s Been Around The World, maybe taken The Last Train To Paris once or twice, gotten to Blast Off from an Airport or two. Big deal. I’m sorry, but sometimes, where there is Smoke, there is no fire. This story is Incomplete, Lonely, without merit. I Can’t Believe the Saga Continues. Forever.

What You Want? Diddy to pay for the Rose Bowl renovation himself? I mean, he could, but that’s beside the point. You have to ask yourself, Is This The End? Will that Satisfy You?

Nope. If You Want This Money you’re going to have to get it from somewhere else. I Don’t Like That, and neither should you.

I’m sure Diddy is one Mad Rapper right now.

I’m sure he’s telling his son Don’t Stop What You’re Doing.

And we all know that when Diddy Speaks, people listen. They’ve been listening since way back at PS 112. This is a Bad Boy for Life we’re talking about. You all remember who his Best Friend was? Notorious B.I.G.

And maybe he said it best.

Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.

In The Future, maybe people will Hold Up. Maybe they’ll understand that Special Feelin’ they have isn’t anger or jealousy, but misunderstanding.

After all, who cares, if Combs leads UCLA to more …


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UCLA men’s basketball schedule released


LOS ANGELES – UCLA’s 2012-13 men’s basketball schedule is highlighted by non-conference contests in the Legends Classic at Brooklyn’s brand new Barclays Center (Nov. 19-20); in the John R. Wooden Classic vs. San Diego State in Honda Center (Dec. 1); a road game vs. Texas in Houston’s Reliant Stadium (Dec. 8); and home games against NCAA Tournament teams Long Beach State (Dec. 18) and Missouri (Dec. 28).

The Bruins will open play in New Pauley Pavilion on Friday, November 9 against Indiana State, which posted an 18-15 record and played in the CIT postseason tournament in 2011-12. The matchup with the Sycamores is significant as Indiana State was the only other college institution that legendary UCLA Head Coach John Wooden called home as a head coach, posting a 44-15 in two seasons in Terre Haute (1946-47/1947-48) before departing for UCLA.

The $136-million Pauley Pavilion renovation will feature many new amenities that will enhance the fan experience. These include, but are not limited to, a new concourse which incorporates the entire facility and that will feature displays showcasing UCLA’s Athletics history, new concessions stands and restrooms, all new seats, a state-of-the-art center-hung scoreboard, and 30-inch LED ribbon boards encircling the interior of the arena. In addition, there will be facilities dedicated to the student-athletes, including new locker rooms, lounges, a video room and a strength and conditioning facility.

“We are elated to be returning home to Pauley Pavilion and are very excited about the re-opening of our legendary facility,” UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. “I think this is going to be a very fun and successful season.”

While the field for the 12-team Legends Classic (Nov. 11-20) has not been announced, the UCLA Bruins will host the Los Angeles Regional (Nov. 13 and 15). The Bruins will host two games in the Regional round and then will advance to the Semifinals in Brooklyn at Barclays Center on Nov. 19 where they will face one of the other three regional host teams (Indiana, Georgetown, Georgia). Indiana and Georgetown both made the NCAA Tournament last season.

The Bruins will also play in the 19th annual Wooden Classic on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Honda Center in Anaheim against another NCAA Tournament team in San Diego State. This will be UCLA’s 10th-consecutive Wooden Classic appearance and 16th overall (11-4 in prior contests).

Other non-conference highlights include playing against three more NCAA Tournament teams in Texas (at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Dec. 8) and hosting Long Beach State (Dec. 18) and Missouri (Dec. 28).

The Bruins also host five other non-conference teams (Cal Poly/Nov. 25; Cal State Northridge/Nov. 28; Prairie View A&M/Dec. 15; and Fresno State/Dec. 22) before beginning Pac-12 play.

“With a total of six non-conference teams on this year’s schedule that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, I believe this is one of the most competitive schedules we have had in my tenure,” Howland said. “I’m really looking forward to this season and very excited about the level of competition.”

UCLA opens conference play on Jan. 3, 2013 with a home bout against California, followed by Stanford on Jan. 5. This year’s home conference slate also welcomes Oregon State (Jan. 17), Oregon (Jan. 19), USC (Feb. 2), Washington (Feb. 7), Washington State (Feb. 9), Arizona State (Feb. 28) and Arizona (Mar. 2). The 2013 Pac-12 Tournament, featuring all 12 teams, will be held for the first time at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (March 13-16).

In 2011-12, UCLA finished with a 19-14 overall record and in a tie for a fifth-place finish in the Pac-12 Conference (11-7). The Bruins return three starters in junior forwards David and Travis Wear and junior guard Tyler Lamb and welcome the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class, featuring Top five recruits Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson.

Season tickets for the 2012-13 UCLA Men’s Basketball campaign are still on sale. For more information or to purchase season tickets, please visit UCLABruins.com or call 310-UCLA-WIN.

The schedule is tentative and subject to change due to television.
Tentative 2012-13 UCLA Men’s Basketball Schedule
(All Dates Tentative Due To Television)
Fri, Nov. 9 Indiana State (New Pauley Pavilion Opener)
Tue., Nov. 13 Legends Classic Game 1
Thu., Nov. 15 Legends Classic Game 2
Mon., Nov. 19 Legends Classic Semifinals (@Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY – Georgetown, Georgia, Indiana)
Tue., Nov. 20 Legends Classic Finals (@Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY – Georgetown, Georgia, Indiana)
Sun., Nov. 25 Cal Poly
Wed., Nov. 28 Cal State Northridge
Sat., Dec. 1 San Diego State – Wooden Classic @Honda Center
Tue., Dec. 4 Exhibition Game TBD
Sat., Dec. 8 vs. Texas @ Houston
Sat., Dec. 15 Prairie View A&M
Tue., Dec. 18 Long Beach State
Sat., Dec. 22 Fresno State
Fri., Dec. 28 Missouri
Thu., Jan. 3 California
Sat., Jan. 5 Stanford
Thu., Jan. 10 @ Utah
Sat., Jan. 12 @ Colorado
Thu., Jan. 17 Oregon State
Sat., Jan. 19 Oregon
Thu., Jan. 24 @ Arizona
Sat., Jan. 26 @ Arizona State
Sat., Feb. 2 USC
Thu., Feb. 7 Washington
Sat., Feb. 9 Washington State
Thu., Feb. 14 @ Stanford
Sat., Feb. 16 @ California
Sat., Feb. 23 @ USC
Thu., Feb. 28 Arizona State
Sat., Mar. 2 Arizona
Thu., Mar. 7 @Washington State
Sat., Mar. 9 @ Washington
Mar. 13 – Mar. 16 Pac-12 Tournament @ MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Mar. 19 – Mar. 20 NCAA First Round
Mar. 21 – Mar. 24 NCAA Second and Third Round
Mar. 28 – Mar. 31 NCAA Regional
Apr. 6 & Apr. 8 NCAA Final Four

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Neuheisel gets Sirius

Former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel will be an analyst for Sirius XM’s College Sports National channel, the company announced today.

Neuheisel will host multiple shows, including College Sports Today and College Football Playbook, a six-hour daily block.

“As a coach and a player, I’ve experienced just about everything this game can throw at you and I’m excited to join the team at SiriusXM and share what I’ve learned with the fans,” Neuheisel in a release. “For those who love college football, the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel is an excellent resource, and we’ve got a lot to talk about in the coming months – from the proposed BCS playoffs to the teams and players that will stand out this season.”

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Six Bruins named All-Pac-12

Beau Amaral, David Berg, Jeff Gelalich, Scott Griggs, Tyler Heineman, and Adam Plutko were named to the All-Pac-12 team on Wednesday, the most since the ’97 squad, while Ryan Deeter was an honorable mention pick.

Plutko, who will start on Friday against Creighton in the NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium, earned the honor for a second consecutive season after going 9-3 with a 2.79 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 96.2 innings. Amaral was also awarded for the second time, the first in 2010, after hitting .313 with four home runs, eight doubles and 43 RBIs.

The performance of the other five Bruins, however, was not quite so expected.

Gelalich, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, ranked second in the Pac-12 with a .367 batting average, with a team-high nine home runs, 39 RBIs and 50 runs. He batted .268 with two home runs last year. Heineman, who was stuck behind Steve Rodriguez at catcher for two years, broke out with a .359 batting average and a .461 on-base percentage, ranking second in the conference. Heineman was the only catcher selected to the team.

There was also a renaissance of the bullpen, which served the Bruins so well in 2010 during their World Series run but faltered last season.

Griggs set a UCLA single-season record and finished second in the conference with 15 saves, while notching a 3-1 record with a 2.27 ERA and 61 strikeouts, and Berg set a Pac-12 record with 43 appearances, while posting a 1.79 ERA. Deeter, meanwhile, went 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA in 34 relief appearances.

Also, Arizona’s Alex Mejia was named the Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Oregon’s Alex Keudell won Pitcher of the Year, and Oregon State’s Michael Conforto earned Freshman of the Year honors.

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Gelalich named Golden Spikes Award semifinalist

UCLA junior outfielder Jeff Gelalich, who ranks second in the Pac-12 with a .367 batting average, was named one of 30 semifinalists for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday.

Gelalich hit nine home runs with 39 RBIs and 50 runs scored while stealing 15 bases for the Bruins, who host visiting Creighton (26-28) at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday night to open the NCAA regional. Gelalich has reached base in 53 of UCLA’s 56 games and is vying to become the Bruins’ second-straight Golden Spikes Award winner after Trevor Bauer won in 2011.

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UCLA baseball rewarded handsomely

The UCLA baseball team has been hovering around the No. 10 ranking for much of the season, but with a strength of schedule ranked among the country’s toughest and some impressive non-conference wins, the Bruins’ RPI has been in the top-3 for a while.

Turns out the RPI won out.

The 42-14 Bruins earned the No. 2 national seed in the NCAA Tournament – their highest national seed ever – and they will host an NCAA Regional this weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium for the third consecutive season.

Joining UCLA in Los Angeles will be Creighton – the Bruins’ opening matchup on Friday – as well as San Diego and New Mexico.

The Bruins locked up premiere placement with a season-ending sweep of USC this weekend that gave them a share of the Pac-12 title, along with Arizona. It was the team’s second straight conference title behind John Savage.

Ticket Info
Tickets for NCAA Regional games at Jackie Robinson Stadium can be purchased online Monday, by visiting tickets.ucla.edu. Starting Tuesday at 10 a.m., fans will be able to purchase tickets via phone through UCLA’s Central Ticket Office (310-825-2101).

All-session reserved ticket packages cost $80 for adults and $55 for students and youth. All-session general admission packages cost $55 for adults and $40 for students and youth. The student prices apply to all grade school, high school and college students. Pending availability, single-game tickets will go on sale Friday morning.

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UCLA baseball sweeps USC to claim share of Pac-12 title

From UCLA:

LOS ANGELES – The No. 9 UCLA baseball team earned the 2012 Pac-12 Conference co-championship on Sunday afternoon, sweeping a three-game series against USC with a 7-6 win before 1,778 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UCLA (42-14, 20-10 Pac-12) secured the tiebreak over co-champion Arizona, by virtue of the Bruins’ series victory against the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz., earlier this season. UCLA earned its second consecutive Pac-12 title, recording back-to-back conference championships for the first time in school history.

The Bruins have won 11 of their last 12 ballgames and will host an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium next weekend.

In a tightly-contested ballgame, Pat Valaika drilled a two-run single to left field with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, snapping a 5-5 tie and putting UCLA ahead of USC, 7-5.

The Trojans (23-32, 8-22 Pac-12) scored one run in the top of the ninth but stranded runners on the corners to end the game. Scott Griggs (3-1) induced a game-ending groundout by Matt Foat and earned the victory in relief, allowing one run and three hits in 1.1 innings.

USC right-hander Martin Viramontes (1-2) was tagged with the loss in relief, surrendering two runs, one hit and one walk in one-third of an inning.

Shane Zeile went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Bruins, who also received two-hit performances from Tyler Heineman (2-for-3, two runs), Trevor Brown (2-for-5, two RBI, one run) and Kevin Kramer (2-for-4, one RBI).

Trailing by a 4-3 margin in the sixth inning, the Bruins took a 5-4 lead on Brown’s two-run, two-out single through the left side of the infield.

USC tied the game, 5-5, with one run in the top of the eighth inning. Trojans’ right fielder Alex Sherrod scored from third base on a strikeout and wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs. Griggs escaped the Trojans’ threat by striking out Brandon Garcia on the next at-bat.

UCLA answered USC’s offensive threats in each of the second and fourth innings. The Trojans scored twice in the top of the second, before UCLA plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. Likewise, UCLA and USC each scored one run in the fourth inning.

Bruins’ right-hander David Berg struck out three hitters in 1.1 innings of relief, making his conference-leading 43rd appearance of the season. Berg appeared in relief for UCLA for the 18th straight game and finished the three-game series with seven strikeouts and one hit in 3.1 scoreless innings.

UCLA returns to action in an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday, June 1. Game time and opponent are to be determined. The 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed on ESPNU’s 60-minute selection show Monday at 9 a.m. (PT).

Game Notes: UCLA has won 19 of its last 24 games against USC and swept the season series (4-0) against the Trojans for the third time in the last six years … the Bruins have not lost the season series to USC since 2005 … after walking the first two batters on four pitches, Chase Brewer escaped a fifth-inning jam with one double play groundout and an inning-ending groundout … listed as a redshirt junior, Brewer was honored before the game as UCLA’s lone senior in the annual “Senior Day” ceremony.

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UCLA will host NCAA regional, can clinch share of Pac-12 title with win over USC today

From UCLA:

LOS ANGELES – UCLA has been selected as one of 16 sites to host an NCAA Baseball Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium next weekend. With a victory against USC today, the Bruins can secure at least a share of the 2012 Pac-12 Conference title.

UCLA enters Sunday’s season finale against USC with a 41-14 overall record and a 19-10 mark in Pac-12 play. The Bruins will be hosting an NCAA Regional for the third consecutive season. Last spring, UCLA won the Pac-10 Conference title in outright fashion.

The four-team, double-elimination regional will be played at Jackie Robinson Stadium from Friday, June 1 through Monday, June 4 (if necessary). The No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed, and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed starting Friday.

The complete 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed in a 60-minute “Selection Show” on ESPNU on Monday at 9 a.m. (PT). Game times will be announced Monday.

Tickets to NCAA Regional games at Jackie Robinson Stadium will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. Fans will only be able to purchase tickets online through UCLA’s Central Ticket Office (tickets.ucla.edu). Beginning Monday, fans may only purchase All-Session Reserved or All-Session General Admission packages.

Single-game tickets will not be available until Friday.
UCLA will be making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance (sixth in last seven seasons).

For updated information, fans are encouraged to visit uclabruins.com.

NCAA Regionals – 16 Host Sites
Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)
Baylor (Waco, Texas)
Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
Florida State (Tallahassee, Fla.)
LSU (Baton Rouge, La.)
Miami (Coral Gables, Fla.)
N.C. State (Raleigh, N.C.)
North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)
Purdue (Gary, Ind.)
Rice (Houston, Texas)
Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
Stanford (Stanford, Calif.)
Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)
UCLA (Los Angeles, Calif.)

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Ceachir honored by SMCC

UCLA offensive lineman Alexandru Ceachir, who should be competing for a spot high in the depth chart this season, was honored with the Football Student-Athlete of the Year Award by Santa Monica City College.

Pretty cool story, as Ceachir has only been playing football less than five years and moved from Moldova to continue his career.

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Nelson reportedly suing Sports Illustrated

TMZ is reporting that former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, under the advisement of entertainment lawyer Keith Fink, is suing Sports Illustrated for defamation of character relating to the March article by George Dohrmann. Nelson is reportedly seeking more than $10 million in damages.

Nelson’s UCLA career ended abruptly last season after he was dismissed from the team by Ben Howland for repeated violations of team rules and attitude issues. He attempted a professional career in Lithuania but lasted just five weeks, and he has been seen on the UCLA campus recently working out.

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