Four-star shooting guard Prince Ali officially joins UCLA’s 2015 class

Prince Ali has officially signed with the UCLA men’s basketball team, the school announced Thursday, giving the Bruins a second top backcourt prospect in their 2015 class.

The four-star shooting guard is a consensus top-40 national recruit according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com, and is a former Sagemont (Fla.) High teammate of UCLA freshman forward Gyorgy Goloman. Ali joins a class that includes four-star point guard Aaron Holiday, whose signing was announced Wednesday.

“Prince is an extremely talented player who has established himself as one of the premier backcourt players in the country,” head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “He’s a big, athletic guard who has tremendous versatility and comes to our program with a strong understanding of a winning culture. Prince is a wonderful young man and a great addition to the Bruin family.

“When you factor in the signing of Aaron Holiday, our staff couldn’t be more excited about the start of this 2015 class.”

The Bruins do not currently have any other 2015 basketball commitments.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

UCLA signs four-star point guard Aaron Holiday

UCLA has officially signed four-star point guard Aaron Holiday, the younger brother of former Bruin and current New Orleans Pelicans’ guard Jrue Holiday.

Aaron Holiday is one of two commitments that UCLA currently holds in the class of 2015. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard is ranked the No. 58 best prospect in the country by Rivals.com, and No. 36 by Scout.com. A natural scorer with impressive athleticism, Holiday was named CIF Southern Section Division 4A Player of the Year after his junior season at North Hollywood’s Campbell Hall.

“Aaron is a very talented player who we know will really help our backcourt next season,” head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “He is a quick, tough guard who possesses the ability to be both an efficient scorer and a lockdown defender. Our coaching staff is excited to add a player of Aaron’s caliber, both on and off the court, to our 2015 class, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Bruin family.”

Older brother Jrue Holiday only spent one season with the Bruins, averaging 8.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds while playing out of position next to then-starting point guard Darren Collison. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

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.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

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

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

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

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

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

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

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.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email