UCLA is the lone team in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll that finished last season with a losing record.
There are a couple of entries at nine games over .500. Texas was just five games above the mark and Rhode Island is the closest at 17-15.
Expectations for the upcoming season became a little more real as the Bruins earned a No. 20 preseason ranking in the first major poll released ahead of the 2016-17 season. UCLA obviously isn’t the only team on the list with a top-five recruiting class, but Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu are expected to elevate their program more than any other freshmen in the country.
2016-17 USA TODAY COACHES’ PRESEASON POLL
1. Duke (27)
2. Kansas (1)
3. Villanova (1)
4. Kentucky (2)
5. Oregon (1) Continue reading
Senior Isaac Hamilton, the Pac-12’s top returning scorer, is a stark contrast to the other member of UCLA’s backcourt named to a preseason award watch list.
How deep is the UCLA backcourt? Two guards have been named to preseason award watch lists – not including two returners who were starting guards last year.
Senior Isaac Hamilton, the top returning scorer in the Pac-12, was a natural choice for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award watch list announced Tuesday. The buzz about freshman Lonzo Ball is only growing after he earned the distinction as a watch list candidate for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.
To illustrate the depth in the UCLA backcourt, consider that Bryce Alford, who averaged seven tenths of a point less than Hamilton last season, is a certainty to be in the starting lineup when the season begins Nov. 11. As for Aaron Holiday, whose minutes are more difficult to project than the coach’s son, all he did was averaged double figures as a freshman last season and play the best on-ball defense of anybody on the roster. Continue reading
Former UCLA basketball player Kevin Love (left) made a record-tying donation to UCLA’s Mo Ostin Basketball Center. (AP Photo/Dick Whipple)
The UCLA athletic department announced a record-tying donation to the Mo Ostin Basketball Center from former UCLA basketball player Kevin Love on Tuesday as the NBA champion matched his former college teammate Russell Westbrook’s donation that was the largest by a former basketball player.
In honor of the gift, UCLA will name the new basketball-specific strength and conditioning facility in the Ostin Basketball Center The Kevin Love Strength and Conditioning Center.
Love will be at the Rose Bowl on Saturday at UCLA’s football game against Stanford for the UCLA Olympians reunion after he helped Team USA to a gold medal at the
Rio London Olympics. He will be honored during the first quarter break.
“UCLA will always be my home,” Love said in a statement. “I have such fond memories of my time here from meeting Coach Wooden, to our run to the Final Four. I want to give back to the school and help prepare all the athletes who come through UCLA sports programs for their next steps, just like my time on campus prepared me.”
Television executives have officially joined the faction anticipating Steve Alford’s heralded recruiting class. The UCLA men’s basketball team will make more national television appearances this coming season than each of the previous three under Alford.
Featuring touted freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, the Bruins will appear on CBS on three occasions, Fox Sports 1 six times and the ESPN family of networks a minimum of 10 times, according to the schedule released by the UCLA athletic department on Thursday.
UCLA’s 15-17 record last season and a 6-12 conference mark that was their worst in 14 years didn’t deter the networks. The obvious reason seems to be the arrival of rivals.com’s No. 5 recruiting class in the country to a roster that has a solid nucleus after graduating just one senior, center Tony Parker. Ball and Leaf are rated the class of 2016’s fourth and 16th recruits in the country, respectively, by rivals.com, which rates UCLA freshman center Ike Anigbogu 25th. Continue reading
UCLA coach Steve Alford praised his three freshmen after the Bruins blew out Sydney University in their exhibition game Tuesday. (David Crane/Staff)
Freshmen starred for the UCLA men’s basketball team in its 123-76 exhibition blowout victory over Sydney University on Tuesday.
UCLA’s trio of freshmen had 46 combined points with TJ Leaf leading the way with a team-high 21. Ike Anigbogu had 16 and Lonzo Ball had nine. Leaf added nine rebounds and Anigbogu had eight boards. Ball had four assists, two steals and two blocks.
“They were outstanding, all three of them – Ike, Lonzo and TJ,” head coach Steve Alford told UCLABruins.com. “We know what they can do. They came here in their first exhibition game and all three played very well.”
UCLA seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford had 18 and 17 points, respectively.