Lonzo Ball’s odd shooting form becoming a hot topic


The closer Lonzo Ball gets to June’s NBA draft, the more his unconventional shooting form is discussed. The list of stories about his shot is growing even before it will assuredly explode in the offseason.

Add the Wall Street Journal to the list. WSJ’s Ben Cohen wrote a piece today about The Ugly Beauty of Lonzo Ball’s shot. So far the consensus seems to be that Ball’s shot may look broken, but his shooting percentage suggests it doesn’t need fixing. CBS staff writer Matt Norlander came to that conclusion in his story a month ago.

I wrote an extensive piece two months ago about the evolution of Ball’s shot, including an experiment he conducted over the summer with conventional form while UCLA played a series of exhibition games against professional Australian teams. Ball’s conclusion? His old form works just fine. And he doesn’t plan to change it once he gets to the NBA. Continue reading

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Bryce Alford destined for top 5 on UCLA career scoring list

Bryce Alford is just 44 points from moving into fifth on UCLA’s career scoring list

Bryce Alford has long since carved out a place for himself in the UCLA record book. Now he’s just etching his name deeper.

The senior’s 26 points in UCLA’s blowout win against USC on Saturday moved him into seventh on UCLA’s all-time scoring list with 1,802. With four games left in the regular season in addition to any Pac-12 and NCAA tournament games, he is just 13 points behind Ed O’Bannon and 44 from surpassing Toby Bailey to move into the top five.

There are plenty of questions surrounding the coach’s son – and his father’s role in aiding totals that will land him among UCLA’s all-time greats – but he has managed to be consistently productive during all four years of his career. Should a guy who seemingly has little to no shot at the NBA have played ahead of current Minnesota Timberwolves 19-point per game scorer Zach LaVine during his lone season at UCLA? Should Alford be playing now ahead of defensively superior sophomore Aaron Holiday?

Alford said earlier this season he has learned to block out such noise. His detractors won’t like to hear that Alford has a decent chance to leave UCLA as the all-time leader in one significant offensive category. Continue reading

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UCLA basketball attendance bouncing back from lowest ever

UCLA is averaging 13,376 fans since conference play began. Pauley Pavilion’s capacity is 13,800


The UCLA basketball team’s attendance this season is its highest in 21 years. After it’s sixth sellout crowd of the season Saturday night witnessed a 102-70 win over USC, Pauley Pavilion is averaging 10,853 fans this season. The building’s capacity is 13,800.

The most impressive number is the 13,376 average attendance for conference games, nearly 5,000 more than UCLA averaged for Pac-12 games last season. UCLA coach Steve Alford said the crowd was the difference in UCLA winning its most significant home game of the season Feb. 9 against then-No. 5 Oregon.

A crowd of 13,659 on Saturday helped UCLA’s average this season surpass that of the 1997-98 team. UCLA’s best attendance since the season after John Wooden retired remains 11,872 fans in 1995-96, the season after the school’s most recent national championship.

Attendance dropped at an alarming rate each of the first two years of the Alford era, bottoming out at 7,711 two years ago, the lowest average in the history of Pauley Pavilion. That number went up to 8,073 last season, but the Bruins’ ranked 60th in the country in attendance for the second consecutive season. Continue reading

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UCLA weekend recap: Women’s basketball earns first-round bye

The UCLA women’s basketball team finished its regular-season home slate with a sweep of the Washington schools that clinched a first-round bye in next month’s Pac-12 tournament.

After a big 90-79 win over No. 9 Washington on Friday, the No. 18 Bruins extended their home unbeaten streak to 27 with a 67-48 win over Washington State on Sunday.

Jordin Canada, who spent most of the week rehabbing a neck injury she suffered against Oregon State, came off the bench against UW and scored 22 points to lead the Bruins (20-7, 11-5 Pac-12) to a critical ranked victory. UCLA was coming off a terrible road trip in which it lost three of four games. The win over the Huskies gave the Bruins a victory over each of the top three teams in the Pac-12 this season (Oregon State, Stanford and UW).

Against Washington State, Monique Billings tied a school record for rebounds in a game, pulling down 25, while notching her 16th double-double of the season with 12 points.

Elsewhere in UCLA athletics: Continue reading

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UCLA avoids 5th straight loss to USC, routs its rival


Steve Alford looked like he might make it all the way to mid-court – while the game was ongoing. The UCLA basketball coach clapped fiercely at his team early in Saturday’s second half, unaware of his surroundings but plenty cognizant of his team’s destination in the Pac-12 standings.

UCLA earned a redemptive 102-70 win over rival USC Saturday night that was significant for so many reasons. The Bruins avoided a fifth consecutive loss to their rival, which would have been its longest streak since the late 1940s. It avenged the ugliest mark on its NCAA tournament resume, an 84-76 loss to the Trojans on Jan. 25. The Bruins created a divide in the conference standings, above which it sits with only Oregon and Arizona. And UCLA proved against a competent basketball team that it may be playing its best basketball of the season at the best time.

The Bruins’ offense, the highest scoring and most efficient in the country, is back in fifth gear. And their defense is making strides that can’t be ignored. A date at Arizona awaits on Feb. 25, but so far UCLA has avenged two of its three losses this season, none sweeter than Saturday night’s shellacking of its crosstown rival.

Links from tonight’s coverage:

  • Game story: UCLA embarrasses USC, ends losing streak at four
  • Jeff Miller: UCLA and USC ready for something bigger
  • Scott Wolf: USC loses opportunity to gain national respect
  • Bennie Boatwright’s return wasn’t enough for USC
  • Notebook: UCLA’s attendance its best in 19 years
  • Photo Gallery: The many faces of Bryce Alford
  • Video: Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf on 32-point win
  • Video: Bryce Alford on his “Kobe face”
  • Video: Steve Alford on growth since last loss to USC
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