UCLA well-represented in rookie card set

If you have that much faith in UCLA’s recruiting class, you can put your money where your mouth – or keyboard, or fingers, whatever – is.

The recently released 2012 Leaf US Army All-American set is chock full of Bruins, much like the 2010 set. Then, it was Cassius Marsh and Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Brandon Willis cards.

Now, you can get in early on Devin Fuller, Ellis McCarthy, Jordan Payton and Ishmael Adams, and there is some pretty good stuff.

The checklist is exclusively autograph cards and there are also game-worn patch cards included in the set. One of the really awesome cards, though, has to be the dual Barry Sanders / Barry Sanders, Jr., card inserted in the set.

Here’s a Devin Fuller autograph card that sold on eBay: Cool

And an Ishmael Adams: Cooler

And a Jordan Payton: Coolest

And finally, an Ellis McCarthy that sold for just $2.25: Wow

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Sad, sad story

Former UCLA defensive tackle and 2009 Pac-10 defensive player of the year Brian Price is grieving after the loss of his older sister – the third sibling he’s lost since the age of 10, the article points out – and now plans to adopt her children. An incredibly sad story for the former Bruin great: Read it here

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Big day for UCLA on the WWL

Not only did the UCLA basketball recruiting class move up to No. 1 ahead of Kentucky in the 2012 class rankings – with Ben Howland and John Calipari sharing the spotlight on the front page of ESPN.com – but then there was a Steven Manfro sighting.

And a big one.

ESPN.com named Manfro the No. 1 spring “breakthrough” player and adorns the top spot on the college football page at the moment as well. Here’s the story: Manfro Going Big

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Heineman named Johnny Bench Award semifinalist

From UCLA:

WICHITA, Kan. – UCLA junior catcher Tyler Heineman has been selected as one of 12 semifinalists for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com, as announced Wednesday by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.

The Johnny Bench Award honors the nation’s best collegiate catcher at the conclusion of each season. This year’s award will be presented in Wichita, Kan., on June 28.

Heineman, who hails from Pacific Palisades, Calif., ranks second on UCLA’s team and eighth in the Pac-12 Conference with a .359 batting average. His .463 on-base percentage is second highest on the team, behind Jeff Gelalich (.473), and ranks third in the Pac-12.

Heineman has hit safely in 39 of 47 games and enters this weekend’s Pac-12 series at California carrying a modest six-game hitting streak. In addition, he has totaled one home run, 24 RBI and 35 runs.

Among UCLA’s most valuable assets this season, Heineman has thrown out 15 of 35 attempted base stealers (42.9 percent). The switch-hitting catcher played in just 37 games (14 starts) the previous two seasons before assuming UCLA’s starting catcher duties this spring.

The other 11 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award include Derrick Chung (Sacramento State), Zachary Fisher (New Mexico State), Tucker Frawley (Coastal Carolina), Mitchell Garver (New Mexico), Joe Hudson (Notre Dame), Jeremy Lucas (Indiana State), Josh Ludy (Baylor), Jeff Melillo (Rutgers), Kevin Plawecki (Purdue), Jeremy Schaffer (Tulane) and Mike Zunino (Florida).

UCLA opens a three-game Pac-12 series at California on Friday afternoon. Game time at Evans Diamond in Berkeley, Calif., is 2:30 p.m. The Bruins and Golden Bears continue their series Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

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