LaMelo Ball commits to UCLA basketball as a 13 year old

LaMelo Ball has verbally committed to the UCLA men’s basketball team. LaMelo Ball is 5-foot-10 and 13 years old.

In the latest development in the strange world of recruiting, the youngest Ball brother decided on Friday to follow in the footsteps of his two older siblings. Before even playing in his first game for Chino Hills High School, he accepted an offer to become a Bruin.

“It is my dream school,” he told the Los Angeles News Group’s Michelle Gardner. “I decided to get it out of the way now instead of waiting for the future.”

Lonzo Ball is a five-star point guard who is the gem of UCLA’s 2016 class. The middle brother, LiAngelo, announced in April his decision to join the Bruins in 2017.

Assuming his commitment holds, LaMelo Ball will arrive in Westwood in 2019.

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UCLA to open Maui Invitational against UNLV

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UCLA last won the Maui Invitational in 2006. Doing so again this year would be a big statement for Steve Alford.

The eight-team tournament will signal the Bruins’ first significant competition of the season, starting with UNLV on Nov. 23 at 8:30 pm PT (ESPN2). The Runnin’ Rebels have regressed under head coach Dave Rice — missing the NCAA tournament the last two years — but still have a talented roster that includes five-star center Stephen Zimmerman.

After that game, UCLA will face either Kansas or Chaminade the next day. The other side of the tournament bracket consists of St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Indiana.

“You get a really good litmus test right away,” Alford said. “You get a really good feel from a coaching standpoint, playing three games in a row against quality opponents. You’re going to get a really good idea and picture of who your team is going into December.” Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading

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UCLA to break ground on football, basketball practice facilities

UCLA will break ground on its new football and basketball practice facilities in August, less than two years after fundraising first began.

An official ceremony will be held on Thursday, Aug. 27 for both the Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Basketball Center, west of Spaulding Field and southwest of Pauley Pavilion. Football and basketball head coaches Jim Mora, Steve Alford and Cori Close will be present, as will donors Casey Wasserman and Mo Ostin.

“This is confirmation that UCLA will continue as the premier intercollegiate athletics program in the nation while remaining a force to be reckoned with well into the future,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Marcus Mariota is the last unsigned NFL first-round pick

» Former Oregon quarterback and No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Marcus Mariota has not yet signed his contract with the Tennessee Titans, making him the last first-rounder to hold out. A report suggested that Mariota was upset that the contract barred him from surfing — but, disappointingly, others have debunked that reason.

» Utah cornerback Dominique Hatfield has been charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. A former receiver, he was expected to start as a junior.

» Colorado defensive tackle Josh Tupou has been ruled out for the Buffaloes this season after being arrested in spring, but school officials aren’t commenting further. Continue reading

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