UCLA football links: Bruins host scouts at Pro Day

UCLA tight end and fullback Nate Iese runs an agility drill in front of NFL scouts during UCLA’s pro day for NFL draft prospects in Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

For the 12 UCLA seniors who didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine, Tuesday’s Pro Day was the biggest job interview of their lives.

“This is their Combine,” head coach Jim Mora said.

UCLA hosted its annual Pro Day on Tuesday, welcoming scouts and coaches from all 32 NFL teams, as 17 outgoing seniors worked out to improve their draft stocks. Former UCLA running back Jordan James and punter Matt Mengal also participated in the workout.

Wide receiver Kenneth Walker III had a good day, showing off his impressive speed (some scouts clocked his 40-yard dash in the 4.2-second range) and make a number of good catches in rainy conditions. Despite slipping a few times on the slick turf, linebacker Cameron Judge was approached by an Atlanta Falcon scout after the linebackers drills and was commended on his performance. Judge was also thrilled with his 40-yard dash time that was clocked in the low 4.5-second range.

More from Pro Day

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Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf on facing Kentucky in Sweet 16


UCLA’s victory at then-No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 3 was the Bruins’ signature win most of this season. The only one that may have surpassed it was a road win at Arizona nearly three months later.

Before Tuesday’s practice, Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf promptly dismissed its December triumph in Lexington, KY – at least as it pertained to Friday’s matchup with second-seeded Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

“We’re both different teams right now,” Leaf said. “And the stakes are a lot higher. So it’s going to be a completely different game than the first one.”

Thirty-five games into its season, UCLA is better than it was nine games in. Naturally, a Kentucky team even more freshman-driven than UCLA is also considerably better, according to Ball.

One thing Ball and Leaf agree will be the same is the fast pace. UCLA outran Kentucky in the 97-92 win that snapped the Wildcats’ 42-game home winning streak. The Bruins’ 90.2 points per game make them the highest scoring team in the country. Kentucky isn’t far behind in ninth with 85.2 points per game. It figures to be another track meet on Friday at FedExForum in Memphis.

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UCLA Pro Day: Jayon Brown, Eddie Vanderdoes, Takkarist McKinley

Linebacker Jayon Brown talks about UCLA’s Pro Day and improving on his 40-yard dash.

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes talks about dropping nearly 40 pounds since last summer, his health and his path to the NFL.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley talks about his recent shoulder surgery, watching Pro Day from the sideline and getting ready for the NFL Draft.

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UCLA women’s basketball advances to Sweet 16

UCLA bench erupts after a Kari Korver 3-pointer in Westwood, CA on Monday, March 20, 2017. UCLA vs Texas A&M in the 2nd round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

The UCLA women’s basketball team’s reward for two dominating home wins to open the NCAA Tournament? A cross-country trip to face No. 1 Connecticut.

The Bruins completed a perfect home schedule at Pauley Pavilion on Monday, stretching their home unbeaten streak to 29 games with an second-round 75-43 drubbing over Texas A&M. UCLA (25-8) will face UConn on Saturday in the Sweet 16 in Bridgeport, Conn.

Kari Korver scorched the fifth-seeded Aggies (22-11) with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. The senior spent the majority of the fourth quarter on the bench while the Bruins cruised to the school’s largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game, but Korver subbed back in late for one final hurrah in front of the UCLA faithful.

“It’s been really cool to play here at UCLA for five years,” Korver told reporters after the game. “And just the support from the fans, support from my family. It’s just really cool and I appreciate what Coach (Cori Close) did.”

PHOTOS: UCLA demolishes Texas A&M

Jordin Canada had 12 points and 11 assists, while Kennedy Burke notched a career-high nine assists to go with nine points. Monique Billings had 12 points, two blocks and three steals.

UCLA will make back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history. Although they’re facing UConn and its 109-game winning streak, the Bruins are focused on themselves.

“They obviously have our respect, but my team has my respect,” Close said of the Huskies. “I need to lead them the same way that we’ve done it all year long. And that focus is on how do we need to grow, how do we play to our best given the opponent we have next. We’re going to play in a Sweet 16; we’re not just going to play UConn.”

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