L.A. Cathedral guard Kobe Paras commits to UCLA’s 2016 class

UCLA basketball has landed its second 2016 commitment in unranked guard Kobe Paras.

The 6-foot-5 wing sat out his first season at L.A. Cathedral after moving from the Philippines, and will make his U.S. high school debut as a junior next month. Paras helped the Philippines to a gold medal in the FIBA Asia Under-18 3×3 championship in May 2013.

He is the son of Benjie Paras, a former two-time MVP center in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Paras joins five-star guard Lonzo Ball in the Bruins’ 2016 class.

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UCLA extends basketball coach Steve Alford through 2020-21

After guiding UCLA to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008, Steve Alford has signed a one-year extension to his already very lucrative contract.

The Bruins announced today that Alford signed a new agreement keeping as the head coach of the men’s basketball team through the 2020-21 season, adding an extra bit of security to his original seven-year, $18.2 million contract. That contract included an unusually large $10.4 million buyout if he quit the job before April 30, 2016; if UCLA fired him before that date, it would in turn pay him that amount.

The original contract also stipulated that he and athletic director Dan Guerrero would meet each April to discuss the “option to extend the employment agreement, in writing, an additional year.” Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A — 9/15/14 Answers

Note: Presumably to keep the status of Brett Hundley’s injured left elbow under wraps, UCLA has shut down access almost entirely this bye week. Not only are practices closed, but the practice times have not been released.

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Q: Did the running game and OL have a breakthrough against Texas which may bode well for upcoming games, or was Texas just gassed at that point?

A: I think it was a legitimate step forward for the offensive line and running back Paul Perkins. UCLA only had a slight edge in time of possession (31:12 to Texas’ 28:48), so I don’t think the Longhorns defense was particularly worn down. Texas’ offense actually held a significant 10:56 to 4:04 edge in the second quarter, then came out of halftime to give up that 58-yard run to Perkins that set up the Bruins’ first touchdown.

But left tackle Malcolm Bunche injured his left foot; he reentered the game, but was seen on crutches afterward. Conor McDermott would likely start in Bunche’s place if needed.

Q: What do you think is going to happen with Asiantii Woulard? Jerry Neuheisel seems to have gotten a firm grip on the backup quarterback spot and Josh Rosen is coming in. Unless he makes a leap soon, is he the odd man out?

A: That’s going to be the big question heading into spring. Right now, Woulard isn’t in an ideal spot. I think Woulard will at least stick around and compete for the starting spot through spring. If he loses out, he could decide to stick around anyway, change positions or transfer — but it’s a bit early to say at this point.

Q: Do you think maybe UCLA has been playing with too much restraint and not enough heart through the first three games and Neuheisel the Younger stepping in uncorked their emotions? Continue reading

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Graduate transfer guard Jon Octeus denied admission to UCLA

The hits keep coming for UCLA basketball.

For the second time in four days, the Bruins lost a player expected to contribute immediately during Steve Alford’s second season. As first reported by the Coloradoan, potential graduate transfer guard Jon Octeus has been denied admission to UCLA.

Octeus had averaged 13.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a junior at Colorado State last season, and had intended to play his final season with the Bruins.

UCLA’s backcourt rotation now consists of senior Norman Powell, and sophomores Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Noah Allen.

The Bruins also lost the services of true freshman Jonah Bolden, a four-star wing who last Friday was ruled a partial qualifier and thus ineligible to play the 2014-15 season.

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UCLA four-star forward Jonah Bolden declared ineligible

UCLA will enter its second season under Steve Alford without a promising freshman.

A school spokesperson confirmed that four-star forward Jonah Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, meaning that he must sit out the entire 2014-15 season. He will remain on scholarship.

According to ESPN, the problem was caused by the fact that Bolden moved from Australia to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas after his senior season had already started. Continue reading

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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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