Pac-12 links: Conference only distributes 68 percent of revenue back to members

» 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.

» Recovering from a recent hip surgery, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said recent transfers out of the program aren’t indicative of a “smoking gun.” Continue reading

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Alumni Q&A: Darren Collison looks back on first season with Clippers

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

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Pac-12 links: O’Bannon trial continues with testimony from economics professor

» 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.

Former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon took the stand on Monday.

» 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.

» Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said eliminating National Signing Day could make sense. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: An inside look at the life of a basketball recruit

» Worth reading: An inside look at the recruitment of Marvin Clark Jr., a one-time Oregon commit whose future flickered when he fractured his foot.

» Former USC coach Lane Kiffin’s three-year contract as Alabama’s offensive coordinator will pay him $680,000 for the first two years, then $714,000 in the third.

» Arizona State may ban beer kegs at its tailgates. Continue reading

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Steve Alford ranked No. 36 on ESPN’s list of top college basketball coaches

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.

From ESPN: Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Conference sets revenue records with help of new TV deals

» The Pac-12′s new TV deals pushed it to $334 million in revenue for the 2012-2013 fiscal year — the record for any college conference. UCLA gets a $19,838,644 payout.

» 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.

» UCLA’s use of a drone in football practices is part of a larger trend in sports.

» Todd Graham’s one-year extension will keep him at Arizona State through the 2018 season, and raises his annual salary to $2.7 million.

» Arizona has also agreed to contract extensions to May 31, 2019 for basketball coach Sean Miller, football coach Rich Rodriguez and athletic director Greg Byrne. Continue reading

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UCLA radio announcer Chris Roberts will retire in 2015

UCLA radio announcer Chris Roberts will retire after the 2014-15 season, ending a tenure that has spanned over two decades.

Having served as the school’s radio voice for football and basketball since 1992, Roberts will leave as the program’s longest-serving play-by-play announcer — tying the late Fred Hessler. Also presence on Los Angeles radio since 1982, Roberts has won the Golden Mike Award four times and joined the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2012.

He will be honored at both the Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion during his final run, and will retire with lifetime football and basketball season tickets.

“I cannot put into words what it has meant to be the ‘Voice of UCLA’ for all these years,” Roberts said in a statement. “The Bruins have played a major role in my life for the past two-plus decades and hopefully my broadcasts have reflected this. Our athletes, coaches and administrators here in Westwood are first-class, and it has been an absolute delight providing the soundtrack for some of their greatest accomplishments.

“All athletes would love the chance to go out on top, and with both UCLA Football and Basketball poised to do great things in 2014-15, as a broadcaster, I am in the envious position of actually having that very opportunity.”

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UCLA announces new basketball practice facility, estimated to cost $30-40 million

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UCLA will spend an estimated $30-40 million on a new basketball practice facility, the school announced Thursday afternoon.

The new building will be located near the Bruins’ home court of Pauley Pavilion, immediately south of the Los Angeles Tennis Center and west of the planned $50 million football facility. The school said private donations will fund the project — which will house practice gyms for both men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well locker rooms and a training area. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: AT&T’s deal for DirecTV could expand Pac-12 Networks’ reach

» AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV for $48.5 billion could finally make Pac-12 Networks available on the latter, but not until 2015 or 2016.

» Oregon State didn’t make the splashiest hire in Wayne Tinkle, but the Beavers also aren’t taking a major risk.

» After a weekend tryout, the Green Bay Packers signed former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla. Lyerla went undrafted earlier this month, his troubled history weighing down his physical talents. Continue reading

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NBA combine roundup: Zach LaVine wows with athleticism

To understand just how well Zach LaVine did at this week’s NBA Draft Combine, take a look at these numbers: first, second, eighth, fourth, third.

That’s what he placed in strength and agility drills among 59 participants, doing so with — respectively — a 10.42-second lane agility drill, a 2.8-second shuttle run, a 3.19-second three-quarter sprint, a 33.5-inch standing vertical, and a 41.5-inch max vertical. No one else placed top-10 in all five.

The NBA combine doesn’t usually move draft stock as much as the NFL’s does, so top prospects often sit out of drills. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid all sat out completely this year, not even traveling to Chicago for interviews and measurements.

That said, this is exactly the type of environment LaVine was going to use to his advantage. Continue reading

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