Isaac Hamilton’s appeal denied, will sit out season

The limbo ended, but not in the way UCLA had hoped.

Five-star guard Isaac Hamilton’s appeal to play immediately has been denied, the school announced Thursday. The former St. John Bosco standout will sit out the 2013-14 season and play the following year as a sophomore.

Originally signed with UTEP, Hamilton broke his national letter of intent and instead enrolled at UCLA. He loses a year of eligibility for reneging on his NLI, but is allowed to continue practicing with the team. Continue reading

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Five-star forward Kevon Looney commits to UCLA

UCLA pulled off its first major coup of the Steve Alford era on Halloween, landing five-star power forward Kevon Looney.

Not only is the Milwaukee native rated the No. 13 player in the country by, he also fulfills a major need for the Bruins. Last season, UCLA had the worst rebounding margin in the Pac-12.

The 6-foot-9 power forward should start immediately when he arrives for the 2014-15 season. Continue reading

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Bruins debut at No. 22 in preseason AP poll

UCLA was ranked No. 22 in the country in the first Associated Press poll, slotted as the third-best team in the conference.

The Bruins beat Cal State San Bernardino, 96-66, in a home exhibition Wednesday night, but allowed 14 offensive rebounds and made just one of their 12 3-point attempts. They play a second exhibition on Monday against Cal State San Marcos, and open their season against Drexel on Nov. 8.

Arizona paced the Pac-12 at No. 6 in the AP poll. Oregon was ranked 19th. Colorado, Arizona State, Washington and Stanford also received votes.

Kentucky beat Michigan State for the No. 1 spot, taking 27 first-place votes to the Spartans’ 22. The Wildcats finished out of the poll last season, then lost in the NIT to Robert Morris.

Louisville and Duke also received first-place votes.

See the full poll after the jump: Continue reading

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Jordon James, Eric Kendricks game-time decisions Saturday

UCLA running back Jordon James and linebacker Eric Kendricks are both game-time decisions against Colorado this Saturday, head coach Jim Mora said.

James has missed three full games since spraining his ankle in a 34-27 win at Utah on Oct. 3. The junior entered that game as the nation’s fifth-leading rusher. Continue reading

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Travis Wear could be out a month due to appendicitis

Travis Wear, one of three returning starters for the UCLA basketball team, is expected to be sidelined for two and a half to four weeks after having surgery to remove his appendix Monday, according to a UCLA spokesperson.

The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Wear, the Bruins’ third-leading scorer last season, averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 32 games, starting all but one. His twin brother, David Wear, had 12 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes of a 96-66 preseason win over Cal State San Bernardino on Wednesday.

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Bruins could stick with three true freshmen on offensive line

Those three true freshmen on UCLA’s offensive line might stay there all season.

Assistant coach Adrian Klemm said Wednesday that if his current front five continues to perform, he could consider sticking with what is now his third starting lineup. Injuries have forced the fluidity: starting left tackle Simon Goines, who has a history of knee problems, is still limping with an injured right MCL; backup Conor McDermott (shoulder) is also sidelined.

“I want to have continuity, but at the same time, I don’t think a guy loses his position to injury,” Klemm said. “If we’re rolling and things are good, we have cohesiveness and we’re playing well, I don’t see any reason to shake it up. Continue reading

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Noel Mazzone defends swing pass-heavy playbook

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has heard the criticism. His single-back spread stretches sideline to sideline much more than it does downfield.

The Bruins have been no more than middling in long pass plays this season: their 81 passes of at least 10 yards ranks sixth in the Pac-12, and their eight passes of at least 30 yards ranks 11th. Continue reading

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Report: Brett Hundley’s reps talked to Jay-Z, Roc Nation

According to the National Football Post, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is already planning out an NFL future.

NFP’s Jason Cole reported that Hundley’s representatives contacted rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports about the possibility of a deal should the player declare in 2014.

Hundley’s father, Brett Hundley Sr., vehemently denied that his son is thinking about leaving UCLA, or that he has had contact with any agents. It is not an NCAA violation for an athlete to talk to an agent if the athlete did not receive any illicit benefits.

The redshirt sophomore has immense potential at the sport’s most crucial position, and has generated talk as one of the country’s top quarterback prospects.

Hundley’s recent play, however, has not fit the profile potential first-round pick. Coming off a career-worst 64-yard passing performance at No. 2 Oregon, he has particularly struggled with deep throws and seeing downfield.

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Weekly Q&A — 10/29/13 Answers

Q: We’ve started a record 18 freshmen. Do you agree this is setting the table for a dominant team in years to come? If we play Oregon a 2nd time I think we could definitely win. Your thoughts?

A: I’m not sure. To some extent, it backs up the sheer amount of talent in this signing class. Practice also obviously can’t completely replicate game experience, so it’s good to get their feet a little wet. Some players, though, are sometimes better off redshirting a year and learning. Using 18 freshmen seems a bit excessive; I think maybe a guy like Jayon Brown might have been better off sitting for a year. (He does fill in special team depth though. On Myles Jack’s blocked punt against Oregon, the center was peeking back and forth between Jack and Brown and decided to block the latter.)

I don’t think UCLA would win a rematch. Defending Oregon is just a nightmare; even if you contain the Ducks for say, five straight plays, they could break the sixth out for 40 yards. The Bruins’ linebackers played them better than anyone else this season, and Oregon still put up 42 points.

Q: Now that Scott Quessenberry’s redshirt is gone, and he played pretty well, do you expect him to stay in the lineup? Or is he back to the bench if Simon Goines is ready? Continue reading

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