For the first time, UCLA’s Tony Parker will play in front of his older brother

Memphis is the closest Tony Parker has played to home since coming to UCLA, giving his family a mere 400 miles to travel from Atlanta.

One member of the entourage will make Thursday’s tipoff against Florida even more special for him: Tony’s brother, Adrian, will be in the FedEx Forum stands after finishing a 15-year prison sentence in January.

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Report: Shabazz Muhammad’s father took loan on son’s potential earnings

The saga just never seems to end.

A year after Shabazz Muhammad finished his UCLA basketball career, the controversy he left in his wake continues to swirl. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed reported that his father, Ron Holmes, had taken out a loan based on Muhammad’s future earnings — something that could again run foul of NCAA investigators.

Three months ago, Holmes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal fraud. That came nine months after the Los Angeles Times revealed that Holmes had falsified Muhammad’s age, making him a year younger with the likely hope of furthering his basketball career.

The latest revelation appears in a court document from Holmes’ legal case obtained by BuzzFeed. In it, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel R. Schiess writes that Holmes told the FBI on March 21, 2013, that he had been “living on a loan tied to his son’s projected earnings as a top NBA prospect.” Continue reading

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Basketball roundup: Halfcourt shots, postseason bonuses and David Grace

MEMPHIS — Norman Powell ended UCLA’s afternoon practice today with his arms raised, celebrating a shot he drilled from halfway down the FedEx Forum floor.

He said it’s the fourth half-court shot he’s hit after a shootaround this season, and tied an ongoing competition the players have with the coaches. Kyle Anderson leads the Bruins with six makes.

Powell said he isn’t sure what’s at stake in the competition besides pride.

Some other stories from this week:
– To get to UCLA, assistant coach David Grace took a circuitous path that followed a 20-year Air Force career.
– Steve Alford has earned $65,000 in performance bonuses on the way to his first Sweet Sixteen since 1999.

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UCLA to hold ‘Spring Showcase’ at StubHub Center

UCLA will conclude its spring football schedule at the StubHub Center, the school announced today.

The Bruins moved their April 26 “Spring Showcase” to the Carson sports complex after drawing an announced crowd of 15,000 to the Rose Bowl last year. The event starts at 5 p.m., but doors will open two hours earlier. Football players will be available to sign autographs from 3-4 p.m., with Olympic sport athletes doing the same the following hour.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5, or at the door for $10. UCLA students and children under 2 receive free admission.

It will also air on Pac-12 Networks.

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UCLA basketball schedules December game against Kentucky

Even before UCLA’s season began, Steve Alford has insisted that he wants to schedule tough, marquee opponents going forward — something he had little control over his first season.

“I’ve never been somebody that’s hid from opponents,” Alford said more than three months ago.

After squeezing in a game against Duke last winter, he continues backing that up. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Bruins will face Kentucky in December at the United Center in Chicago. Continue reading

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At a glance: No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 1 Florida

NCAA Tournament, South Region
Sweet Sixteen:
No. 4 UCLA (28-8) vs. No. 1 Florida (34-2)
When: Thursday, 6:45 p.m. PT, FedEx Forum (Memphis)
TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Rachel Nichols)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)

FLORIDA GATORS
RPI/Pomeroy ranking: 1 / 1

Best wins: Beat second-seeded Kansas in a December home victory, allowing 26 points to Andrew Wiggins but holding every other Jayhawk to single digits in a 67-61 decision. Beat No. 8-seed Kentucky three times over a four-week span, by 10-, 19- and 1-point margins.

Worst losses: None. Lost at Wisconsin and UConn by a combined seven points. The Huskies needed a buzzer-beater from Shabazz Napier to hold on.

***

Key numbers: Lots to choose from here: 18th-most efficient offense, second-most efficient defense, a 28-game winning streak that tops college basketball.

But let’s start with 240, Florida center Patric Young’s listed weight. Continue reading

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With Sweet Sixteen berth, Steve Alford sheds lackluster postseason history

Someone looking to criticize UCLA coach Steve Alford doesn’t need to scroll far down that Google search.

His previously lackluster postseason record, though? That one looks a lot less valid now that the 49-year-old has guided the Bruins to their first Sweet Sixteen since 2008.

Those two tournament wins came over double-digit seeds, but the team deserves credit for steamrolling over both Tulsa and Stephen F. Austin — never looking truly at risk for an upset.

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UCLA 77, Stephen F. Austin 60: Kyle Anderson

UCLA advanced past the NCAA tournament’s round of 32 for the first time since 2008, but point guard Kyle Anderson likely echoed the thoughts of many fans afterward.

“It’s cool to get here. We haven’t been here in a while,” he said following Sunday’s 77-60 win over Stephen F. Austin. “But they don’t hang Sweet Sixteen banners up in Pauley Pavilion.”

Anderson also talked about Norman Powell’s behind-the-back move down the lane, avoiding upsets, as well as Florida.

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