Kyle Anderson scored a career-high 23 points in UCLA’s 83-60 blowout of Weber State, but missed out on the second triple-double of his career.
The sophomore had 19 points, 9 rebounds and six assists with 13:30 left in the game, but sat on the bench late as the Bruins’ lead swelled to as much as 30. He finished with 10 rebounds and six assists. Continue reading →
Q: Steve Alford has turned out to be a prophet when he noted in the preseason that defense and rebounding were issues with this year’s squad especially when the competition picked up. Is this something that can improve as the season goes on or is it what it is for this season?
A: “Prophet” is a little strong given that these were the same struggles UCLA had last year, and the roster hasn’t changed dramatically. You might see some marginal improvements, but I doubt the team will become above-average in either facet this season. The X-factor might be if Wanaah Bail can work himself more into the gameplan. The athletic 6-foot-9 freshman has yet to play more than 10 minutes in a game.
Q: I really expected Kyle Anderson to be more dominant by now given that Shabazz Muhammad is gone and he can shine. Fair assessment or unrealistic for a kid who’s a sophomore?
A: Averaging 13.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists is pretty good for any college player regardless of age. Continue reading →
UCLA’s impressive quartet of linebackers is short one member. Junior Eric Kendricks underwent surgery on his right ankle Friday, and will miss the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl against Virginia Tech.
Third in the conference with 106 tackles, Kendricks missed one game this season as he played through numerous injuries this season, including a shoulder sprain. He has struggled with pain in his right ankle for months, and had a procedure on it after spring practices.
The ankle should be weight-bearing again within the next couple of days.
“We expect him to make really great progress and be back for spring ball,” said head coach Jim Mora, who added that there was a lot of “back and forth” about when to do the surgery. Continue reading →
Asiantii Woulard studied behind quarterback Brett Hundley as he redshirted this season, focusing mostly on improving his pocket presence. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound freshman didn’t say much about his readiness to start should Hundley go pro, but did talk about their work together.
“He helped me a lot with understanding our protections and where to start our progressions, different defenses against the formation that we’re running,” Woulard said. “he’s been behind me sometimes when I’m running our offense, reminding me of who to read, who am I keying, where to make the throw if this guy does what. He’s actually walking with me every step of the way.”
– Bowl practices have become almost like an extra training camp, which helps an offensive line that has been juggled around through the season. Individual sessions have been bumped up from 10 minutes to about 30 minutes per practice.
– Judging from what offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said Friday, junior guard Xavier Su’a-Filo could likely be on an NFL roster this time next year. The All-American is still waiting for his evaluation to come back from the NFL draft advisory board to help him decide whether or not to declare early.
“He knows what I think about it,” the assistant coach said. “You come here to have success after you’re done here. If that’s one year earlier, he needs to go ahead and do that. I don’t want to hold him back from it. I want to see him do well. …
“There’s not much more he can accomplish in terms of accolades. He can sharpen up some things, but if he comes out and he’s the first or second guard taken, I think it’s a no-brainer.” Continue reading →
The notebook that ran in today’s edition of the Daily News covers some of Cassius Marsh’s value as an NFL prospect, whether it be at defensive end, linebacker or even tight end. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay gave the UCLA senior a fourth- or fifth-round draft grade. Here’s what he said about some other Bruins:
Linebacker Anthony Barr
“He’s not as talented as (South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon) Clowney. He’s not as big, and he’s probably just a notch below in terms of the explosive athleticism. But I think Barr is still a very, very talented player who’s only played the defensive side for two years. Who continues to get better and better in terms of his play, how he’s using his hands, how he’s getting off blocks. I think when it’s all said and done, he’s going to wind up being a top-five pick. Continue reading →
Earlier this month, Missouri outscored UCLA by 17 in the second half of a nine-point victory. In Thursday night’s 80-63 win at Madison Square Garden, No. 8 Duke did the same to the Bruins.
Now 11 games into their first season under coach Steve Alford, UCLA has rolled over subpar opponents while falling short late against big-name programs. The team is promising: it can put up points, and it can do so at the breakneck pace promised before the season. But it also lacks fortitude on defense and on the boards, and has yet to prove late-game resolve.
Receiver Kenny Walker has been sidelined all season after a June back surgery to repair a slipped disc. Though the pain became acute following last spring game, it may stem back to the pounding he put on his body doing hurdles on the track team.
Itching to build off his freshman season, he said he feels about 90-95 percent healthy right now. Also holding him back is the fear that he’ll take a hit that re-injures his back, a mental hurdle he has yet to overcome.
“It’s been kind of hard because I’ve got to work in the rotation again, learning the plays all over again,” said Walker, who in 2012 caught 11 passes for 87 yards and returned seven kickoffs for 138. “I’m still having a few nicks. Stiffness. I’ve been having to stretch a lot. My hands have been messed up. But it’s been great.”
The 5-foot-9, 171-pounder thinks he’s a little faster than he was last year, but still gets tightness in his hips. He expects to feel 100 percent by spring camp, where his biggest impact could come on special teams.
UCLA (9-1) vs. No. 8 Duke (8-2)
Location: Madison Square Garden, 4:33 p.m. PT TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Andy Katz) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
1. This is UCLA’s shot to earn some more national respect before conference play. Ten games into the season, the Bruins look like a good team, not a great one, and a loss at Missouri was enough to drop them from No. 18 in the Associated Press poll to out of the rankings entirely. First-year head coach Steve Alford has said a few times this season that he wants to schedule tougher opponents in the future, and was responsible for getting Duke on the calendar with relatively late notice. Continue reading →