VIDEO: Gyorgy Goloman talks about adjusting to Los Angeles

A year ago, Gyorgy Goloman had yet to play in a U.S. high school game. Now the 6-foot-10 Hungarian native is practicing with the UCLA men’s basketball team, hoping for a spot in a crowded frontcourt rotation.

He’s also been acclimating to his new home.

“It’s not hard to adjust to Los Angeles,” Goloman said, smiling. “But yeah — Hungary is a whole different world. It’s hard to explain without experiencing it. But I like it a lot here.”

He talked to reporters about what he missed most about his homeland, his favorite American foods, as well as who he thinks he compares to in the pros.

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New Pac-12 reforms include guaranteed four-year scholarships

The Pac-12 has adopted “sweeping reforms” geared toward improving the welfare of its athletes, the conference announced Monday.

The biggest news is that the league will now guarantee four-year scholarships for all athletes regardless of sport effective in 2015-16 — a change that will dramatically affect how much room for error teams have in each recruiting class. While many players often have their scholarships renewed year to year as a mere formality, a blanket rule covering everyone on the roster makes it trickier for coaches to push out athletes for one reason or another.

According to a CBS Sports report last month, UCLA only gave out three guaranteed multi-year scholarships across all sports in 2013-14.

See the full set of reforms below, per the Pac-12′s press release: Continue reading

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UCLA basketball notes from Pac-12 Media Day

My story today from Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day focused on UCLA guard Norman Powell, but also touched on head coach Steve Alford’s reactions to an offseason that included a campus flood and the loss of not only three NBA draftees, but also two prospective newcomers.

Some more notes from the event:

» Whether or not big man Tony Parker can stay out of foul trouble will affect how successful UCLA will be on defense this season. Alford said he hopes to play the junior around 25 minutes per game this season, up from the 17.2 he averaged last year.

Parker was one of the most foul-prone players in the Pac-12, committing an average of 6.77 every 40 minutes. Earlier this week, he gave himself a D- for his sophomore campaign, citing those foul troubles. He added that he’s in better shape now, and is also learning how to adjust to officials more.

» Based on what Alford has said in recent weeks — as well as the realities of the backcourt depth chart — sophomore Noah Allen appears primed for a significant uptick in playing time. The former three-star recruit only played in 11 games last season, averaging 1.0 point in 3.5 minutes per outing. Continue reading

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UCLA picked to finish fourth in Pac-12 media poll

After losing four starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad, UCLA men’s basketball was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12.

A preseason media poll slotted the Bruins behind Arizona, Utah and Colorado — but did give them one first-place vote. All 31 other first-place votes went to the Wildcats, widely considered a national title contender.

They lost guard Nick Johnson and forward Aaron Gordon — the Pac-12 Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively — but return point guard T.J. McConnell and adds five-star recruit Stanley Johnson.

“There’s no better team than Arizona,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle told USA Today last week. Continue reading

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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.

***
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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