UCLA junior Jonah Bolden has decided forego his final two years of college basketball eligibility and play professionally this coming season. Bolden informed the coaching staff of his decision to leave the school after one season, the UCLA athletic department announced Tuesday.
Where the 6-foot-10 Australian-born guard/forward will play professionally is uncertain, but a return to his home country seems an obvious possibility.
UCLA is now without three players that were expected to be on the roster this year not including guard Prince Ali, who isn’t likely to return from meniscus surgery by the start of the season. Three-star recruit Kobe Paras mysteriously withdrew from UCLA in June after academic conditions of his admission weren’t met. Junior Noah Allen transferred to Hawaii in May and now Bolden is departing what was expected to be a deep roster considering incoming talent labeled head coach Steve Alford’s best recruiting class. Continue reading
The Pac-12 portion of the UCLA men’s basketball schedule was announced Tuesday morning and the first school listed was the last conference representative remaining in the 2016 NCAA tournament.
UCLA will travel to defending Pac-12 champion Oregon the opening week of conference play to take on a team that reached the Elite Eight last season with a group that returns six of the seven players in its balanced rotation.
Four of the Bruins’ first six conference games are on the road, but five of the final seven are at Pauley Pavilion.
Coming off a five-game stretch to close nonconference play that includes dates with Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio State UCLA will face each of the four Pac-12 teams that finished the regular season in the top 25 in the first four weeks of conference play. Cal pays a visit to Westwood the first week of January before the Bruins visit Arizona and return home to host Utah. Continue reading
Ann Meyers Drysdale is extending her influence on UCLA basketball. Having been named Chair of Hoops for Youth, she’ll lead a program that enables underprivileged children who have likely never seen college basketball in person to attend UCLA basketball games.
Myers Drysdale, a member of the UCLA 1978 national championship team, went on to a prolific career as a broadcaster and member of the front office for the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. She was the first woman to receive a four-year athletic scholarship to UCLA.
“UCLA basketball is in my blood,” Meyers Drysdale said. “I know how magical it is to be part of the tradition of UCLA basketball and I want others to have the opportunity to experience that tradition first-hand as well.” Continue reading
UCLA shooting guard Prince Ali had surgery on his left meniscus Friday, according to the school’s athletic department, and isn’t likely to be ready for the season opener Nov. 11. The 6-foot-3 sophomore suffered the injury July 8 playing basketball in open gym.
Ali was a key reserve last season, but an increase in his role this coming season wasn’t a certainty given the arrival of Naismith High School Player of the year, freshman point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ali, a four-star recruit from Weston, Fl., averaged 3.9 points in 11.8 minutes per game as a freshman. The speculation is that Ball’s arrival will shift Bryce Alford from point guard to shooting guard. Ali was likely to serve as Alford’s primary backup. Continue reading
The Wooden Legacy, a three-game tournament likely to provide the UCLA men’s basketball team’s best nonconference opponent this coming season outside of Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan, revealed its bracket on Thursday. UCLA will open the four-day event against Portland on Nov. 24.
On Nov. 25 the Bruins will face either Dayton, a 2016 NCAA tournament team, or Nebraska, which finished 11th in the Big Ten last season. On Nov. 27, the Bruins will take on one of four teams from the other side of the eight-team bracket: Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, New Mexico and Cal State Northridge.
Last season Texas A&M won the SEC, Virginia Tech went to the NIT with a 20-15 mark in the deep ACC, New Mexico State finished fifth in the Mountain West and CSUN was 10 games under .500. Continue reading