NBA Draft: Steve Alford talks about Kevon Looney, Norman Powell

UCLA head coach Steve Alford answered a few questions about Kevon Looney (No. 30 overall pick, Warriors) and Norman Powell (No. 46, Raptors) after Thursday night’s NBA draft.

What are your thoughts on Looney’s fit with the defending champs?

“You can never predict the draft, and you don’t really have any say of where you go. it’s one of the first times. These guys pick their AAU, pick their high school, pick their college. it’s a different experience for them. You go in the draft, and now you get a chance to go in the first round. You get picked by the defending champs, an organization like Golden State — it just doesn’t get much better than that.

“We said the same thing last year in regard to Kyle (Anderson going to the Spurs). I think if you talk to Kyle — he didn’t play a whole lot this year, he got some minutes — but being a part of that franchise, it was an incredible year for him. I couldn’t be happier for Kevon, because he’s going to a terrific organization.”

Did concerns about Looney’s health depress his draft stock?

“There’s no question. He definitely dropped because of that. Fortunately, he dropped into a great situation, being with the franchise he’s with. But I definitely think those were some concerns. I had to field an awful lot of phone calls in the last week or two, and all of my comments were the same. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Norman Powell drafted in second round by Raptors

A few months ago, UCLA’s Norman Powell saw himself as a late first- or early second-round draft pick. He lasted just a little bit longer on Thursday, going No. 46 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-4 guard became the 16th pick of the round — going to the Toronto Raptors as the pick that the originally belonged to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors received the pick as part of their deal in giving up Greivis Vasquez.

In Toronto, Powell joins another Pac-12 senior in point guard Delon Wright, taken No. 20 overall as the second draftee out of the conference.

UCLA forward Kevon Looney was drafted 30th by the Golden State Warriors, falling amid concerns about his hip and back.

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UCLA’s Kevon Looney falls to Warriors at No. 30 in NBA Draft

In the green room at the Barclays Center on Thursday, Kevon Looney waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, he and his party stood and left their table. More than 20 picks had come and gone already in the 2015 NBA Draft, and Looney — once talked about as a potential lottery pick — was still without a home.

But a few minutes later, that changed. His agent had heard word that the Golden State Warriors were about to select the UCLA forward with the No. 30 pick. Looney and his family zipped back.

“It was just nerveracking,” Looney said later. “I got a little stiff and sore; I was sitting there a long time. It was a long wait. You never know what’s going to happen.” Continue reading

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UCLA finishes second in 2014-15 Directors’ Cup standings

UCLA finished second in the latest Directors’ Cup standings, its highest placement in seven years.

The Bruins were behind only Stanford, which has won the award 21 straight times — missing out only when the inaugural trophy went to North Carolina in 1994. UCLA edged out USC for second place with 1,236 points to the Trojans’ 1,209.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero will receive a $30,000 bonus as a result — half for finishing in the top 10 percent of Division I schools, and half for finishing in the top 10. Through Guerrero’s 13-year tenure in Westwood, UCLA has missed the top 10 only twice (2008-09 and 2010-11).

This marks the first time the Bruins have finished second since 2007-08, the third of three straight years as the nation’s No. 2. They have placed top-three in three of the past four years.

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NCAA proposal could allow NBA draft entrants to return to school

Next year, college basketball players could have more leeway in their NBA draft decisions.

According to ESPN, the NCAA men’s basketball committee sponsored a proposal on Wednesday that will allow early entrants to return to school even after declaring their intentions to go pro.

The new system would allow underclassmen who are exploring their options to attend the pre-draft combine in Chicago without losing their college eligibility, though they will not be allowed to sign with an agent. The proposal, which could be approved in January, was a coordinated effort with the NBA. Continue reading

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