Four-star guard Prince Ali commits to UCLA

Four-star recruit Prince Ali has announced his commitment to UCLA, giving the Bruins’ their second 2015 prospect.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard is ranked No. 27 nationally by Rivals.com, and No. 10 at his position by Scout.com. He had decommitted from defending national champion UConn in March.

Ali joins four-star point guard Aaron Holiday in UCLA’s recruiting class.

“A lot of things have been going on these past couple of weeks,” Ali told Rivals.com. “I just felt that UCLA was the best situation for me to go and excel as a college basketball player and the best situation for me to ultimately play in the pros which is everybody’s dream.”

A native New Yorker, Ali plays at The Sagemont School in Weston, Fla., where he was once teammates with UCLA freshman forward Gyorgy Goloman.

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UCLA to open Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against Oklahoma

battle4atlantis

The Battle 4 Atlantis released its bracket this morning, slotting UCLA into what may be the tournament’s best opening-round game.

The Bruins will play Oklahoma on Nov. 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET, facing a Sooners squad that could be a top-15 team in the preseason AP rankings. OU returns top scorer Buddy Hield (16.5 points), leading rebounder Ryan Spangler (9.3) and assists leader Jordan Woodard (4.6).

After its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2008, UCLA’s young lineup features just one returning starter in Norman Powell, but adds a trio of touted freshmen in forwards Kevon Looney and Jonah Bolden, as well as center Thomas Welsh. Oklahoma will be the Bruins’ first test away from Pauley Pavilion.

The winner will advance to play either Butler or North Carolina.

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After flood, Pauley Pavilion’s new wood floor to be ready by end of October

The wood floors inside Pauley Pavilion being dried out with special ventilation equipment. The newly renovated athletic center was flooded when water rushed in from a pipeline that burst open on Sunset Blvd. (John McCoy/Daily News)

The wood floors inside Pauley Pavilion being dried out with special ventilation equipment. The newly renovated athletic center was flooded when water rushed in from a pipeline that burst open on Sunset Blvd. (John McCoy/Daily News)

Earlier this week, athletic director Dan Guerrero said he was confident that the flooding of Pauley Pavilion would not impact UCLA’s basketball teams.

On Friday, he offered more specifics. In a statement, Guerrero said that the entire hardwood floor at Pauley Pavilion will be replaced with a “new state-of-the-art court” — one that should be ready by the end of October. Men’s basketball plays its a home exhibition game against Azusa Pacific on Oct. 31, while women’s basketball hosts a Nov. 2 exhibition against Westmont.

Collins Court in the John Wooden Center will also receive a new floor, but will not be ready until early November. UCLA women’s volleyball was slated to begin its home schedule there on Sept. 26 against Arizona; Guerrero said the athletic department is “currently evaluating all of our options” to find another venue.

Drake Stadium was fully cleaned by the end of Wednesday, just 24 hours after the water main break released 20 million gallons of water north of campus.

The UCLA Hall of Fame at the J.D. Morgan Center, the Gifford Golf Practice Facility, and the Bud Knapp Football Complex and Acosta Athletic Complex sustained only minor damage.

RELATED: A before-and-after photo gallery of UCLA’s cleanup of the flood.

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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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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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Pac-12 links: Former Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour heads to Penn State

» Just a month after stepping down (or being forced out) as Cal’s athletic director, Sandy Barbour parlayed an uneven tenure in the Bay Area into a bigger job at Penn State — one that will pay her $700,000 per year.

» Stanford’s Josh Huestis went to the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 29th overall pick in the NBA draft, but will head to the D-League rather than sign his guaranteed rookie contract. Grantland’s Zach Lowe explains why.

» Gary Payton II has arrived on the Oregon State campus, where his famous father’s enormous shadow still looms. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Brady Aiken, Jacob Nix remain unsigned as MLB deadline nears

» No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken and fifth-rounder Jacob Nix, both of whom signed with UCLA, have yet to come to terms with the Houston Astros. The deadline to sign draft picks is Friday at 2 p.m. PT.

» Most fans aren’t happy with Utah’s newest mountain-sleeved Under Armour jerseys.

» Hall of Famer and former USC star Ronnie Lott calls Oregon “the greatest,” but admitted that UCLA is “the team that everybody’s talking about right now.”

» Oregon State’s new basketball assistants will earn a combined $535,008 annually. Continue reading

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