Q: How do celebrities (e.g. NBA players) get courtside seats at Pauley Pavilion?
UCLA holds back courtside seats for donors, recruits, etc., with the number varying depending on the overall demand of that game. The seats are usually free, but sometimes the school will charge if — for example — an NBA player calls up at the last minute. Broadcasters (CBS, ESPN) typically reserve seats for on-air talent, who then use them however they see fit.
Q: Has there been any mention of Larry Drew II as an NBA prospect? Not that he’s first-round material by any stretch, but he looks the part of a solid young PG coming off the bench on the right NBA team. Also, who else is slated to play the point next year besides Kyle Anderson?
He might get looked at as a free agent. Drew turned himself into a good college player this year, but he doesn’t have great size and will still have a lot of trouble scoring at the next level. (His 47 FG% at the rim is easily worst on the team.) Four-star guard Rysheed Jordan would be the ideal option if he picks UCLA over St. John’s and Temple.
Q: What is the status of 2013 basketball recruits UCLA still has interest in but have not committed?
Jordan and three-star forward Gavin Schilling are the main targets. The latter also has Minnesota, Michigan State and Villanova on his shortlist, and just finished his officials this past weekend with trips to East Lansing and suburban Philadelphia. UCLA has also offered JUCO point guard Deandre Mathieu, and assistant Korey McCray is going after three-star forward MiKyle McIntosh and guard Emmanuel Owootoah. Owootoah doesn’t have an offer and said he is trying to wait out the Final Four for coaching changes.
Q: Do you like conference basketball tournaments? Eliminate the tourney and the Pac-12 could have home/away games with every league team. I suggest that the conference would not have a huge revenue loss cause some of the final games will have huge TV and stadium sales impact on the conference champ being the automatic bid to the Big Dance.
I do. Without them, we wouldn’t have surprises like Colorado’s mini-run last year and UConn’s full-blown run to the NCAA title in 2011. The tournament would probably disband if there isn’t enough revenue or attendance like it was in the 1990s, but the move to Las Vegas should ensure that doesn’t happen.
Q: In your opinion, what does winning the Pac-12 mean for Ben Howland’s job? If he gets past the second round of the Pac-12 tournament and the first round of the NCAA tournament?
It’s hard to fire a coach after a conference championship, even one with five losses. A Sweet Sixteen would probably him breathing pretty easy. Short of that might depend on how the games themselves go. Another WSU-like loss would obviously be bad.
Q: Can you find out why Tony Parker hasn’t gotten any playing time, even since Ben Howland lamented that he should be playing him more after the USC loss? I mean, the real reason. I’d like Howland to have to answer that at his weekly press conference. This guy has to know that the question is very difficult to understand.
Can always ask, but he’ll likely say the same: Parker has been playing well in practice and will be relied upon in certain key moments.
Q: Just finished watching the women’s PAC-12 championship game on ESPN2. Looked to me like the officials were definitely leaning towards Stanford favoritism. Do you think that comes from the fact that Stanford is a top-five team and gets benefit of doubt (like Kobe or LeBron)?
UCLA had a 15-11 advantage on free throw attempts, so I’d say no. I also generally don’t blame refs for basketball outcomes unless it’s a particularly egregious call. Too many possessions throughout the course of a game.