UCLA one step closer to shade at Rose Bowl

UCLA's student section could be moving to new seats this season. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

UCLA’s student section could be moving to new seats this season. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

After positive results from a student survey, the UCLA football team could be moving from the sunny side of the Rose Bowl sooner rather than later.

Of 1,342 respondents in a survey conducted by The Den and UCLA athletics in November, 61 percent of said they would prefer moving student seating at the Rose Bowl for UCLA football games to the north end zone from its current position in the northeast corner of the field. Seventy-five percent of respondents also indicated that they would be as likely or more likely to attend games if the student section was moved.

In the current set up at the Rose Bowl, the UCLA football team is required to use the sun-drenched east sideline due to a Pac-12 rule prohibiting student sections from being behind opposing benches. Moving The Den to the north end zone (between sections 8H and 15L in the lower bowl) would then free the football team to move to the shadier west sideline as early as this upcoming season. Continue reading

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Takkarist McKinley, Jayon Brown lead UCLA’s All-Pac-12 selections

Senior Takkarist McKinley is getting ready to finish his UCLA career with a homecoming to the Bay Area. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/ Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Senior Takkarist McKinley had a breakout year at defensive end for the Bruins. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/ Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley and linebacker Jayon Brown were named first-team All-Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus and ESPN.com.

Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and linebacker Kenny Young were named to PFF’s All-Pac-12 second team.

McKinley and Brown were also in the running for SB Nation’s All-American team. The senior defensive end finished ninth in SB Nation’s voting for his position while Brown finished eighth among linebackers.

McKinley led the Bruins with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Brown led the conference in tackling (119) and had the first 100-tackle season for a UCLA player since Erik Kendricks in 2014. Vanderdoes, who declared for the NFL draft despite an extra year of eligibility, returned from ACL surgery to start 12 games for the Bruins this year, tallying 29 total tackles. Young was second on the team in tackling (90), tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (5.0).

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Lonzo Ball could be part of best ever draft class of point guards

UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball and Kentucky's Malik Monk (5) are two of the four point guards projected to be picked in the top five of the 2017 NBA draft

UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball and Kentucky’s Malik Monk (5) are two of the four point guards projected to be picked in the top five of the 2017 NBA draft

Should he turn pro after this season, could Lonzo Ball be part of the best draft class of point guards ever?

Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron asks this question after Ball outplayed not one, but two Kentucky point guards expected to join him in the 2017 NBA draft. Malik Monk is playing out of position at Kentucky because De’Aaron Fox is that good. But neither Ball, Fox nor Monk are expected to be among the top two point guards selected in the draft.

Ball will face off with the top point guard prospect in Pac-12 play when UCLA visits Seattle Feb 4. Washington freshman Markelle Fultz is projected to be top pick in the next NBA draft by Draft Express followed by N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith at No. 2.

Ball is currently projected as the fourth pick and Monk the fifth pick. Kansas freshman Josh Jackson is the only player in the Draft Express top five who isn’t a point guard.

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Kentucky win legitimized UCLA basketball team on many fronts

TJ Leaf and UCLA validated gaudy offensive numbers by producing against Kentucky

TJ Leaf and UCLA validated gaudy offensive numbers by producing against Kentucky

The UCLA basketball team’s lofty statistical ranks seemed hollow six games into the season. Even head coach Steve Alford admitted that leading the nation in scoring after running up triple-digit totals against the likes of Pacific, CSUN and Long Beach State didn’t reveal much about his team.

Equaling its 97-point per game average – which now ranks second of 351 Division I college basketball teams – against then-No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena? That singular performance altered the perception of everything UCLA had done to that point.

Turns out the No. 2 Bruins can produce offensively against just about anybody. And play enough defense against another of the best offensive teams in the country to win – on the road. Stats like UCLA’s nation-leading field goal percentage were validated when the Bruins shot 53 percent against Kentucky.

UCLA isn’t just playing at a breakneck pace, evidenced by an average of 14 seconds per possession. What really makes the Bruins scary is that they’re scoring the fifth-most points per possession in the country, making them the only team in the top 11 in number of possessions and offensive efficiency. For a deeper look at the statistical marvel UCLA is to this point, here is a story about the questions UCLA answered in Saturday’s win at Kentucky.

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UCLA seniors in all-star showcase events

UCLA defensive back Fabian Moreau (10) tackles Texas A&M running back James White (20) for a loss during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown (right), pictured against Texas A&M, will play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 21. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Here’s a list of UCLA seniors who have already accepted invitations to play in all-star showcase events prior to the NFL draft this spring:

Reese’s Senior Bowl (Jan. 28 at Labb-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.)

  • OT Conor McDermott
  • DE Takkarist McKinley

East-West Shrine Game (Jan. 21 at Tropicana FIeld in St. Petersburg, Fla.)

  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • LB Jayon Brown
  • S Randall Goforth

NFLPA Collegiate Bowl (Jan. 21 at StubHub Center in Carson)

  • DT Eli Ankou
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