With their 13th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected UCLA’s Zach LaVine. He was not thrilled.
To be fair, LaVine isn’t headed into an ideal situation. The 6-foot-5 guard had predicted going to the Phoenix Suns –likely one spot later rather than at No. 18 — and he’ll instead join a franchise that ranks among one of the most inept in the league. With star forward Kevin Love almost certainly on his way out, the roster might only return three players who average double-digit scoring.
As a consolation (?), he could play alongside fellow former UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad, whom the Timberwolves picked 14th overall in 2013.
Also, I hear it’s cold in Minnesota. Good luck, Zach.
*UPDATE: Reporters asked LaVine whether or not he was aware that Twitter thought he was upset.
“No man, I’m completely ecstatic,” he said. “I couldn’t be more happy. I’m a very emotional person, so I might’ve uttered something completely wrong but I put my head down, thanked God, kissed my mom, kissed my dad, couldn’t believe this was happening to me right now. I’m going into Minnesota full-fledged ready to become a Timberwolf.”
Thursday could mark a new milestone for UCLA basketball.
Guards Zach LaVine, Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams each have a chance to go in the first round — setting up what could be the program’s largest draft class in more than three decades.
The last time three Bruins were taken in the first round was 1979, when David Greenwood, Roy Hamilton and Brad Holland went second, tenth and 14th, respectively. UCLA came close to matching that in 2008; Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love went off the board at fourth and fifth on their way to All-NBA resumes, but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute slipped into the second round at 37th overall.
UCLA will get the last crack at convincing an experienced point guard to come to Los Angeles.
Colorado State’s outgoing graduate transfer Jon Octeus has narrowed down his choices to the Bruins along with Missouri and Cincinnati, and will visit UCLA on either June 26 or 27 according to The Coloradoan. He is currently finishing up a two-day visit to the Tigers and will see the Bearcats over the weekend.
Octeus announced his intent to transfer out of Colorado State on Monday. The Miami-area native will be immediately eligible upon obtaining his undergraduate degree next month. Continue reading →
» The Pac-12′s record $334 million in revenue in 2012-13 led all conferences, but the league only returned 68.3 percent of that back to its members. Every other Big Five conference returned at least 90 percent.
Pac-12 CFO Ron McQuate told CBS that the disparity is due to the conference’s costs in operating its own network, rather than a media partnership.
» Oregon State has officially hired former Cal State LA head coach Stephen Thompson as an assistant. Thompson, who played for Syracuse, faced UCLA coach Steve Alford during Indiana’s 74-73 national title game victory in 1987.
Since helping UCLA to three straight Final Fours, Darren Collison has embarked on what is turning into a bit of a journeyman’s career. He’s played for four teams in five seasons, and transitioned from being a starter in Indiana to a capable backup in Dallas and Los Angeles.
But even though he’ll be a free agent again this summer — opting out of $1.9 million — he insists he wants to stay in his hometown.
Collison talked a bit this week about his first season with the Clippers, the current state of UCLA basketball, as well as his basketball camp for middle schoolers starting June 23.
How did your first season with the Clippers go?
I think as far as the team, we expected to go deeper. We expected to win it all. That didn’t quite go well. It’s stuck with us even now. I think it’s going to be a motivating factor even now. we understood the road that we came from. we felt like we were right there.
My intention is to stick with the Clippers. They’re a good team. Good teams like San Antonio and Miami have stuck with the same core. I’d love to stay for three to four years, but there has to be a mutual agreement.
How does this summer of free agency for you compare to last year’s?
Last year, it was just putting myself in a position where I could find myself again as a player mentally. I’ve been through a lot. The previous season with Dallas, I still had a good season, but mentally I just felt like I needed to be a part of a team that was going to try to win it all. That was my intention. To try and be a part of a team that was going to win a championship.
This year, it’s pretty much the same thing. It’s just my value went up. I understand that. But I don’t want it to affect my decision with the Clippers. Continue reading →
» O’Bannon v. NCAA rolled on through Tuesday with testimony from Roger Noll, a Stanford professor emeritus of economics. Noll, who calls the NCAA a ‘cartel’, has testified for seven-and-a-half hours through the first two days and will take the stand again Wednesday.
» Jeremy Bloom, a two-time Olympic skier and former Colorado All-American receiver, shared his thoughts on the NCAA. Bloom was declared ineligible for football in 2004 due to endorsements he received as a pro skier, but was still taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
For taking UCLA to its first Sweet Sixteen in six years, Steve Alford’s debut in Los Angeles earned him a spot as one of college basketball’s top-50 coaches.
No. 36 isn’t a lofty spot for someone at the helm of one of the sport’s most recognizable programs, but Alford also benefited in inheriting a unique college star in All-American point guard Kyle Anderson, as well as a capable scorer in Jordan Adams.
But nevertheless turned around a team that was embarrassed in the first round a year ago, and successfully implemented an up-tempo style that wasn’t apparent in his years at New Mexico.
» Two recent pieces on former UCLA stars worth reading: Grantland’s look at the unusual career arc of point guard Russell Westbrook, and Sports Illustrated’s story about safety Rahim Moore and how he nearly lost his leg.