Three-star defensive end Rick Wade commits to UCLA

UCLA has landed the second defensive lineman in its 2015 class.

Scout.com first reported that three-star prospect Rick Wade picked the Bruins Thursday evening over USC. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound defensive end notched 67 tackles for Santa Margarita High in Orange County as a junior last year.

He is the first defensive end in UCLA’s current recruiting cycle, with the Bruins having landed defensive tackle Bryce English last week.

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UCLA ranked seventh in preseason USA Today coaches’ poll

UCLA’s hype shows no sign of slowing down.

The Bruins are ranked seventh in the preseason USA Today coaches’ poll — matching up with the Vegas odds that came out last week.

That puts the team behind Ohio State and ahead of Michigan State, last season’s respective Orange Bowl runner-up and Rose Bowl winner.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Oregon is ranked fourth overall behind — in order — Florida State, Alabama and Oklahoma. Stanford and USC are ranked 11th and 15th, while Arizona State and Washington round out the conference at 18th and 25th.

See the full Amway/USA Today coaches’ poll below: Continue reading

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Dan Guerrero: Pauley Pavilion will be ready for UCLA basketball season

Cleanup crew mops the floor at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)

Cleanup crew mops the floor at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)

Despite being flooded on Tuesday due to a water-main break north of campus, UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion will be ready when basketball season starts in November.

“When we saw the flood going down onto the court, it certainly was of concern to us,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said Wednesday. “After getting the water off yesterday and bringing the experts in, we’ve been assured today that we’ll be able to play in Pauley this year.”

He added that the building is structurally sound, though it was still too early to assess the costs of repairing the damage. Nearly all of the basketball court hardwood appeared to be warped to some degree; Guerrero said that if it needs to be replaced, the campus will have time to do it by basketball season. However, the Bruins may need to practice in either the Wooden Center or Student Athletic Center.

Guerrero also did not elaborate on any potential contingency plans for playing elsewhere should the repairs be slower than expected. “We don’t see that as an option,” he said.

The men’s basketball team starts its season on Nov. 14, while the women’s team plays its first official home game on Nov. 23. The volleyball teams were slated to play most of their games in the Wooden Center.

Acosta Athletic Complex and Bud Knapp Football Center sustained only “minimal damage.” Continue reading

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Brett Hundley featured on Sports Illustrated’s regional cover

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley graces the regional cover of Sports Illustrated.

Brett Hundley, bringin’ it.

Brett Hundley is standing among the pros this week.

Heading into his final collegiate season, the UCLA quarterback made a regional cover of Sports Illustrated, one that teases a feature written by Lee Jenkins. The issue includes top-32 position rankings for fantasy leagues, with every other version of the magazine cover featuring an NFL running back.

The Green Bay Packers’ Eddie Lacy graces the national cover, while the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles and the Philadelphia Eagles’ LeSean McCoy made the two other regional covers.

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Three-star linebacker Joshua Woods commits to UCLA

Three-star linebacker Joshua Woods announced his commitment to UCLA on Tuesday, making him the 12th verbal commitment of the Bruins’ 2015 class.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Woods tweeted that he had received and accepted an offer from UCLA. He is the second linebacker to commit, following three-star prospect Victor Alexander.

UCLA flood spreads to Pauley Pavilion, football locker room

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Less than two years after its $136 million remodel, Pauley Pavilion was flooded Tuesday.

The photo above, taken by the Daily News’ Gene Blevins, shows some of the damage done by a broken water main near Sunset Blvd. According to the LADWP, a total of eight to 10 million gallons of water poured out of the 30-inch pipe. It still isn’t clear how much repairs will cost, but due to a break in the pipe — originally built in 1921 — the water on the floor of the court was reportedly eight inches deep.

The Bruins start their basketball season on Nov. 14 against Montana State.

“At this hour, we are still gathering information and, to the extent possible, assessing the damage to our athletic facilities affected by the water main break,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “Regarding specific inquiries and concerns about Pauley Pavilion, most people are aware by now that the floor and locker rooms sustained significant flooding. The water will be removed from the floor tonight. We will then reassess the situation tomorrow morning and be able to provide additional information at the appropriate time.”

In a statement, UCLA chancellor Gene Block listed the other affected locations as: parking lots 4 and 7, Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, the J.D. Morgan Center, the Acosta Center and John Wooden Center, the intramural field, and Bruin Plaza.

Water also covered most of the track at Drake Stadium, and reached UCLA’s locker room. Spaulding Field did not appear to sustain damage.

UCLA is releasing regular updates here.

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UCLA basketball announces 2014-15 season schedule

UCLA starts its 2014-15 basketball season on Nov. 14, but the real fun doesn’t begin until two weeks later.

After a four-game homestand at Pauley Pavilion against Montana State, Coastal Carolina, Nicholls State and Long Beach State — none of which ranked top 150 in RPI last season — the Bruins head to the Bahamas for a star-studded nonconference tournament.

The Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving week is the type of heavyweight competition that second-year head coach Steve Alford has openly pined for since arriving in Los Angeles. Matchups haven’t been finalized for the three-game slate, but UCLA is in a field that includes Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgetown, Butler, Oklahoma and Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).

The Gators and the Badgers both made the Final Four this past season, while the Tar Heels and the Hoyas are among the sports bluebloods — even if neither team has been as formidable in recent years.

But UCLA will only host one major nonconference opponent: Gonzaga, whom the Bruins last faced in 2006′s all-time Sweet Sixteen thriller. The Bulldogs visit Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 13 to start a home-and-home series.

That’s followed by a huge Dec. 20 game against national runner-up Kentucky at the United Center as part of the CBS Sports Classic.

The Bruins will open Pac-12 play with five of their first seven games on the road, starting with a trip to Utah and Colorado on the Jan. 2-4 weekend. They will travel to Arizona and Arizona State on Feb. 18-22, but will not host either due to the conference’s schedule rotation.

Nonconference single-game tickets will go on sale Wednesday at uclabruins.com/tickets, while Pac-12 single-game tickets go on sale Oct. 1.

UCLA’s full schedule below: Continue reading

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Zach LaVine’s dunks light up Seattle Pro-Am

A reminder that Zach LaVine is still very, very good at dunking.

One pre-draft comparison lobbed about for UCLA’s one-and-done guard was Gerald Green, who a former dunk contest champ who finally turned himself into a serviceable NBA player this past season.

LaVine might not become a superstar, but he’s going to earn a ticket to All-Star weekend on hops alone.

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UCLA loses punter Sean Covington, adds Matt Mengel

Heading into what could be a banner season, one of UCLA’s least-contested positions is suddenly unsettled.

Punter Sean Covington is no longer with the program, according to Bruin Report Online. An All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a true freshman, Covington was not listed on the Bruins’ most recent media guide roster at Pac-12 Media Days.

The 6-foot, 218-pound punter averaged 41.9 yards per punt, placing 18 inside the 20-yard line. Paired with a strong coverage unit, he helped UCLA limit opponents to 3.94 yards per punt return — the 16th lowest mark in the country. Covington also shared kickoff duties with kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, landing 21 touchbacks.

In Covington’s absence, the Bruins have added Matt Mengel out of Long Beach City College. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound player who has drawn rave reviews from punting experts.

Chris Sailer wrote that Mengel has “one of the strongest legs in the nation,” with kickoffs that are already ready for Division I. Kohl’s Kicking praised him as “an impressive combo specialist” who hit five-second hang times on his punts, though his consistency is “solid not spectacular.”

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