Television executives have officially joined the faction anticipating Steve Alford’s heralded recruiting class. The UCLA men’s basketball team will make more national television appearances this coming season than each of the previous three under Alford.
Featuring touted freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, the Bruins will appear on CBS on three occasions, Fox Sports 1 six times and the ESPN family of networks a minimum of 10 times, according to the schedule released by the UCLA athletic department on Thursday.
UCLA’s 15-17 record last season and a 6-12 conference mark that was their worst in 14 years didn’t deter the networks. The obvious reason seems to be the arrival of rivals.com’s No. 5 recruiting class in the country to a roster that has a solid nucleus after graduating just one senior, center Tony Parker. Ball and Leaf are rated the class of 2016’s fourth and 16th recruits in the country, respectively, by rivals.com, which rates UCLA freshman center Ike Anigbogu 25th. Continue reading
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