“I think it was my senior year that gave me a big jump,” he said of his draft stock on Tuesday. “Midway through my season, I was talking to my coaches — they talked to scouts — and they said I was a nice surprise.”
According to UCLA head coach Jim Mora, a pair of NFL scouts called Xavier Su’a-Filo the best guard coming out in the draft since Steve Hutchinson — high praise considering that the seven-time Pro Bowler was selected 13 years ago.
Though the other 30 teams may not feel as strongly, the versatile offensive lineman has generated some first-round buzz over the past few weeks. “Going to the combine, a lot of people didn’t really know who I was,” he said. “What a lot of people really want to see me improve, is clean up my pass protection and learn different schemes.”
Bolu Olorunfunmi, a three-star running back out of Clovis North High, committed UCLA Tuesday night — becoming the Bruins’ fourth recruit for the 2015 class.
The 5-foot-11 Fresno native rushed for 2,344 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, and was named position MVP at the NorCal Rivals Camp earlier this month. He is rated No. 55 at his position by Scout.com, and No. 53 in the state by Rivals.com.
— ⚡️Nickolas O.⚡️ (@BO_CTMD4) March 12, 2014
“It’s been my dream school since I was a little kid and to have a big opportunity to play for a team and attend that school is an honor,” Olorunfunmi told the Fresno Bee. “I’m just really excited. UCLA loves me and I love them.”
According to the UCLA head coach Jim Mora, these were the 40-yard dashes his players clocked during Tuesday’s on-campus pro day:
LB Anthony Barr, 4.45 (official combine time 4.66)
WR Shaq Evans, 4.32 (4.51)
DE Cassius Marsh, 4.68 (4.89)
LB Jordan Zumwalt, 4.61 (4.76)
RB Damien Thigpen, 4.36
S Stan McKay, 4.38
RB Malcolm Jones, 4.57
DB Brandon Sermons, 4.39
OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, 4.88
DE Keenan Graham, 4.66
DL Seali’i Epenesa, 5.16
A pair of 2013 prospects also returned to work out …
Aaron Hester, 4.37
Jerry Johnson, 4.31 Continue reading
After leading the Bruins to a second-place finish in the Pac-12, sophomore guards Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams paved the way on awards day. Each landed on the ten-man all-conference first team, making UCLA one of three teams to have multiple nominees.
Anderson finished the regular season with 261 rebounds and 199 assists, and is on the verge of becoming the first major-conference player to hit the 200-200 mark since at least 1996-97. He missed out on becoming UCLA’s first conference MVP since Kevin Love, however, losing Pac-12 Player of the Year to Arizona guard Nick Johnson.
The Wildcats dominated the major awards, with Sean Miller winning Pac-12 Coach of the Year and Aaron Gordon taking Freshman of the Year. Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski was named Defensive Player of the Year, while Stanford guard Anthony Brown was the Most Improved Player.
Adams earned his first-team nod by averaging 17.5 points per game, seventh-best in the conference, as well as 5.3 rebounds. He also set a new UCLA single-season record with 85 steals. Despite leading the league in the latter, the sophomore was denied a spot on the Pac-12 all-defensive team. He and junior Norman Powell — the Bruins’ best on-ball defender — earned honorable mentions.
Zach LaVine and Bryce Alford both made the all-freshman team, joining Gordon and Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as well was Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss.
Awards are decided by a vote among the 12 conference coaches. Coaches are not allowed to vote themselves or their own players. See the full list of awards after the jump: Continue reading
Although UCLA earned the No. 2 seed in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament, its opening matchup won’t be a breeze.
The Bruins first game in Las Vegas will tip off next Thursday at 6 p.m. against either Oregon State or Oregon, who face each other exactly 24 hours earlier. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, Steve Alford offered his thoughts on UCLA’s lackluster 3-point defense. Sure, the Bruins allow plenty of attempts, but he’ll live with those as long as: 1) those shots aren’t easy ones, and 2) the interior is locked down.
“If I had my way, I’d just as soon teams shoot 30, 35 threes against us,” the coach said then.
On Saturday night, Washington State did its best to oblige. The Cougars heaved 29 shots from downtown, the most that any Pac-12 opponent has shot against the Bruins this season. That they only made 10 made little difference; WSU steamrolled UCLA in a 73-55 victory, giving fans at Beasley Coliseum something to cheer for near the end of a brutal season. Continue reading
– Jordan Adams is hitting on all cylinders heading down the late stretch of the season. The sophomore guard lit up the Huskies for a career-high 31 points in UCLA’s 91-82 win — a total that could have easily been higher if not for a second-half bout with cramps.
Adams scored 10 of UCLA’s first 14 points to set the pace early, and established the offense by earning trips to the line. He also exited a good portion of the second half and didn’t score in the final eight minutes, but his last six points came when the Bruins only led by one point.
UCLA’s most natural scorer hitting his stride in March obviously bodes well for a team that’s angling for a top-five tournament seed. His free throw rate has dropped to 20th in the conference compared to 13th last season, but he his nine free throw attempts were his highest since Dec. 7. Continue reading
A little more than four minutes into the second half at Washington, Jordan Adams got his first steal of the night. His second came 32 seconds later.
That sequence during UCLA’s 91-82 win gave the sophomore 83 steals on the season, good for the school’s single-season steals record. Cameron Dollar set the previous record of 82 in 1997. Continue reading