Who knew?

Hey Bruins fans,

Ramona Shelburne checking in from Staples Center and had a question for you. Did any of you guys realize Aaron Brooks would be this good as a pro when you saw him at Oregon?

I’m just curious, since you guys saw him more than anyone outside of Eugene.

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Renardo Sr.’s version

Here’s what Renardo Sidney Sr. said of UCLA’s recruitment of his son. There has been speculation that UCLA had backed off Sidney this week, though UCLA has not, and cannot comment upon such speculation.

“I don’t know where the pulling out part came from, we never committed to UCLA. People are blowing that out of proportion. UCLA has to do what’s best for UCLA and we have to do what’s best for Renardo,” he said.

So I followed up with, “So are you saying that UCLA never told you it was ending its recruitment of Renardo?”

“Not to my knowledge,” he said. “We never committed to them, so why would they have to pull out.”

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More Sidney

Here’s what Renardo Sidney had to say when I asked whether UCLA had ever backed off of him in terms of recruiting:

“I’m not for sure what happened, but they were a school that I wanted to go to. Virginia was a school, Mississippi State, but like I said, I chose USC because I thought it was a great school to go to.

“It was very close. It was a nail-biter. But my family pulled together and we chose the best school for me.”

When asked more specifically about whether UCLA had pulled out of the running, he said:

“My mom and dad, my parents, don’t give me the info about that stuff, so you’ll have to ask them.”

Later, I spoke with both of his parents and both denied UCLA had pulled out and were insistent that Renardo had never committed to UCLA. I’ll have more on that a bit later.

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Sidney press conference

Wow….

That’s really all I can say.

I’ve walked in the door here at Fairfax High to what I thought was a press conference to announce where Renardo Sidney Jr. is committing to play basketball in college next year and a banquet broke out.

Seriously, the entire gym is decorated and full of fans, teammates and families. There is a catered dinner in the back, and a full program outlining the events of the evening.

I’ll post the big news as soon as I can.

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UCLA hangs on 85-76

It took a while, but UCLA finally shook off the Huskies and came out with an 85-76 victory.

After a game effort, Washington collapsed at the end and no place more so than at the free throw line where it was just 4 of 10 on the night.

UCLA’s seniors combined for 50 points. Josh Shipp had 20 points, Darren Collison had 17 and Alfred Aboya had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

What did you think of the win? Are the Bruins back after the disappointment in the desert?

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Scheduling conflict

I had a chance to sit down with freshman guard Jrue Holiday the other day and ask –among other things you’ll read about in my column tommorrow — about the big night for the Holiday family tonight. Jrue and older brother Justin, a sophomore at Washington, are playing for first place in the Pacific 10 Conference tonight.

His mother Toya and younger sister Lauren open the Southern Section girls basketball playoffs tonight as Campbell Hall (21-1) hosts Sacred Heart of Jesus. Lauren is a freshman, but she leads the team in scoring at 17.0 points a game and rebounding (8.9)

“I’d rather go watch their game,” Jrue said of his mother and sisters’ playoff opener. “It’s too bad they’re on the same night. But I think their game will be over in time to come watch the end of our game.”

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Women’s Hoops lands a key transfer

Hey all,

Ramona Shelburne here. I thought I’d pass a long a little women’s hoops news. New coach Nikki Caldwell just landed a big transfer, announcing that former Long Beach Poly star guard Jasmine Dixon is transferring from Rutgers to UCLA and will be eligible after the fall of 2009.

Dixon was a McDonald’s All-American last year at Long Beach Poly and led the Jackrabbits to three straight California Division I State titles. She averaged 14.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.2 assists a game in her senior season. She was state player of the year twice.

When she opted to head East for college, it was seen as yet another example of the two local schools, UCLA and USC, failing to keep the top Southland talent in LA. Bringing her back is obviously a pretty big victory for a rookie coach.

Due to the sensitive nature of this situation, after all, the kid is leaving Brian’s beloved alma mater, I thought I’d post this entry instead of inflicting any unnecessary emotional pain or discomfort ;)

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Nearing the end

It appears the Bruins will wrap up the win, with a commanding 28-3.

Three thoughts….

1) Craft looked gooooooood. Granted, the Cougars looked baaaaaaad. But progress is progress.

2) Though Logan Paulsen was a key to this offense, Ryan Moya appears to have become a go-to-guy for Craft, at least in the red zone.

3) The UCLA defense when attempting stunts, looks effective. Again, Washington State is not the New England Patriots of 2007, but the Bruins turned in a sound defensive performance.

Any thoughts from you guys?

—JG

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Super-Bell

Kahlil Bell scored his second touchdown of the game on a leaping 1-yard dive on 4th-and-goal, soaring over several lineman for the score. With the score, the Bruins lead 28-3.
Kevin Craft connected with Ryan Moya for their second touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter.
The redshirt junior quarterback has looked fantastic today, both in game management and actual performance. Craft has 22-of-34 passes for 220 yards thus far with two touchdowns.

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