UCLA basketball likely to be without Prince Ali to start season

UCLA shooting guard Prince Ali had surgery on his left meniscus Friday, according to the school’s athletic department, and isn’t likely to be ready for the season opener Nov. 11. The 6-foot-3 sophomore suffered the injury July 8 playing basketball in open gym.

Ali was a key reserve last season, but an increase in his role this coming season wasn’t a certainty given the arrival of Naismith High School Player of the year, freshman point guard Lonzo Ball.

Ali, a four-star recruit from Weston, Fl., averaged 3.9 points in 11.8 minutes per game as a freshman. The speculation is that Ball’s arrival will shift Bryce Alford from point guard to shooting guard. Ali was likely to serve as Alford’s primary backup. Continue reading

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UCLA nonconference basketball schedule now complete

The Wooden Legacy, a three-game tournament likely to provide the UCLA men’s basketball team’s best nonconference opponent this coming season outside of Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan, revealed its bracket on Thursday. UCLA will open the four-day event against Portland on Nov. 24.

On Nov. 25 the Bruins will face either Dayton, a 2016 NCAA tournament team, or Nebraska, which finished 11th in the Big Ten last season. On Nov. 27, the Bruins will take on one of four teams from the other side of the eight-team bracket: Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, New Mexico and Cal State Northridge.

Last season Texas A&M won the SEC, Virginia Tech went to the NIT with a 20-15 mark in the deep ACC, New Mexico State finished fifth in the Mountain West and CSUN was 10 games under .500. Continue reading

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No Bruins taken in NBA Draft

UCLA center Tony Parker backs down Long Beach State's Eric McKnight (12) during the Bruins' 77-63 win on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

UCLA center Tony Parker backs down Long Beach State’s Eric McKnight (12) during the Bruins’ 77-63 win on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

No surprise, but there were no UCLA players drafted in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. Center Tony Parker was the only player eligible. He averaged 12.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and one block in 25.1 minutes per game as a senior.

This is the third time since 1997 that the Bruins have not had anyone drafted. The other times were 2010 and 2012. The Bruins are coming off a 15-17 last year.

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Former Bruin Kevin Love celebrates NBA title with Cleveland

Former UCLA Bruin Kevin Love won his first NBA championship Sunday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Golden State 93-89 in an epic Game 7.

Love had nine points and 14 rebounds while playing some clutch defense against Stephen Curry. Here are snapshots of his night, from a late-game defensive stop to the post-game celebration.

LONG LIVE THE KING #216 #champs #family @playerstribune

A photo posted by @kevinlove on

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UCLA links: Making UCLA men’s basketball fun again?

Incoming freshman Lonzo Ball will make an immediate impact on UCLA men's basketball. (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Incoming freshman Lonzo Ball will make an immediate impact on UCLA men’s basketball. (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

ESPN calls UCLA commit and incoming freshman Lonzo Ball “the first player of a new age” in college basketball. But Eamonn Brennan also wonders if the dynamic Chino Hills point guard with range out to the parking lot can inject some fun into UCLA men’s basketball this season.

Perhaps the more important question is if head coach Steve Alford will let Ball bring some fun back. As explained in this great story from The Ringer (which I have shared previously), Ball is a product of an unorthodox basketball upbringing, brought up under his father LaVar’s unique system of “the only bad shot is the one you don’t practice.” We’ll see how much Alford buys into that way of playing.

Other links:

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