UCLA hires Bill Roth as new play-by-play announcer

UCLA has hired Bill Roth as its new play-by-play announcer for football and men’s basketball, officially replacing the recently retired Chris Roberts.

Roth will come to Los Angeles to become the Bruins’ lead radio broadcaster after serving in the same role at Virginia Tech for the last 27 years, a span that saw him earn spots in both the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and the Syracuse University’s WAER Hall of Fame. The 11-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year will end his tenure in Blacksburg with Saturday’s spring game.

“I have tremendous respect for the UCLA tradition, having grown up sitting in front of the television in awe of national broadcasts featuring UCLA teams playing at historic venues like Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl,” Roth said in a statement. “From hearing ‘Sons of Westwood’ blaring through the speakers to witnessing championship teams led by larger-than-life coaches, I am well aware that this is one of America’s most iconic institutions. Continue reading

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Three-star shooting guard LiAngelo Ball commits to UCLA

If both verbal commitments hold through the next two years, the UCLA men’s basketball team could be relying heavily on the Ball brothers.

Three-star shooting guard LiAngelo Ball decided to become a Bruin on Tuesday, becoming the first member of the program’s 2017 class. He follows his brother, five-star point guard Lonzo Ball, a 2016 prospect who verbally committed to UCLA in January 2014.

Both currently play for Chino Hills High, where The elder Ball was recently named the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s Player of the Year. LiAngelo, who averaged 20.1 points and 3.5 rebounds, earned a spot on the all-area first team. A third brother, LaMelo, will join them in the 2015-16 season.

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JUCO big man Ikenna Okwarabizie commits to UCLA

Days after missing on a major frontcourt recruit, UCLA has landed 6-foot-10 big man Ikenna Okwarabizie out of Tyler Junior College.

Okwarabizie grew up in Nigeria, but played his senior year of high school at Sioux City (Iowa) East before spending his first season of college ball 100 miles east of Dallas. According to the Sioux City Journal, he also drew interest from Iowa, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech.

The Bruins have considered offering the 245-pounder as early as last October.

Okwarabizie averaged 6.5 points and 7.0 rebounds through his lone JUCO season, shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from the line. His announcement on Sunday morning helps add depth to UCLA’s frontline, which lost all-conference forward Kevon Looney to the NBA draft and little-used reserve Wanaah Bail to a transfer.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar undergoes quadruple bypass surgery

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar underwent quadruple bypass surgery on Thursday at UCLA Medical Center, but is expected to make a full recovery.

UCLA released a statement today at the request of the former Lakers and Bruins star. He was operated on by Dr. Richard Shemin.

From the university’s statement:

At this time, Abdul-Jabbar would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received. He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon.

He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest.

For those wanting to send well wishes, he thanks you in advance and asks that you support those in your own community who may be suffering from various health issues.

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UCLA’s wait continues as center Stephen Zimmerman picks UNLV

Five-star center Stephen Zimmerman announced his commitment to UNLV tonight, spurning Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA in favor of his hometown team.

Before Thursday, the 6-foot-11 prospect had been one of the top national recruits still undecided on their college destination. His choice leaves the Bruins — who are coming off back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16 — looking somewhat precarious in their quest to break back into the sport’s elite ranks.

A player like Zimmerman would have helped reinvigorate a frontcourt that lost Kevon Looney to the NBA draft. Through his first two years in Los Angeles, head coach Steve Alford has yet to construct a roster with depth across the court. Continue reading

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