TJ Leaf’s intellect, charisma only helping his draft stock


TJ Leaf was lauded for his interview skills as much as anything during the NBA Draft Combine last week. The former UCLA power forward interviewed with 14 teams at the combine and has since worked out with three teams individually.

On Thursday, the projected first-round pick worked out for the Toronto Raptors – the Raptors pick 23rd in the first round – after which he talked about everything from his ability to score on three levels to whether Lonzo Ball would provide him some Big Baller Brand basketball shoes.

Leaf was the life of the party in the UCLA locker room last season, and gave some insight into what a charismatic person he is before stiffening up with the media as the season went along. Continue reading “TJ Leaf’s intellect, charisma only helping his draft stock” »

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Rachel Garcia leads UCLA softball into NCAA Tournament

Rachel Garcia won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award while helping UCLA softball to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. (Photo courtesy Katie Meyers)

Kelly Inouye-Perez knows great pitchers. The former UCLA catcher and current UCLA softball head coach won three NCAA titles as a player and caught games for Bruin legends Lisa Longaker and Lisa Fernandez who combined for seven first-team All-American honors.

So when Inouye-Perez says her newest ace Rachel Garcia reminds her a bit of Fernandez, it’s not just hyperbole.

“No one really got comfortable in the box with Lisa (Fernandez) pitching,” Inouye-Perez said. “It was her presence and ability to attack hitters really aggressively that put them in that position. Rachel is very similar.”

Garcia is possibly the next great UCLA pitcher as the redshirt freshman leads the Bruins into postseason play this weekend. .

More on Garcia, who will start against Lehigh on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Easton Stadium.

Scouting the Los Angeles Regional field: Continue reading “Rachel Garcia leads UCLA softball into NCAA Tournament” »

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Men’s tennis advances to Elite Eight

Maxime Cressy clinched UCLA’s 4-1 victory over No. 13 Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament round of 16 on Thursday, sending the No. 5 Bruins to their sixth straight Elite Eight.

UCLA (22-5) will play host Georgia in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT after the No. 13 seed Bulldogs upset No. 4 USC in the Sweet 16.

After the Bruins won the doubles point, Evan Zhu scored an upset singles victory as he won in straight sets over Jordi Arconada, who is ranked 48th in the country, at No. 2 singles.

Joseph Di Giulio won in straight sets at No. 6 before Cressy’s 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 4 singles sealed UCLA’s spot in the next round.

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Post-lottery NBA mock drafts slot UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu

It’s nearly impossible to find a mock draft projecting Lonzo Ball to be selected by a team other than the Lakers. (AP photo)

Where do UCLA’s NBA prospects fit now that the draft order is in place?

Tuesday’s draft lottery likely only effected one of them, but Lonzo Ball’s destination seems more certain than ever. It is nearly impossible to find a mock draft that doesn’t project the former UCLA point guard as the No. 2 pick to the Lakers.

Even CBS Sports’ mock draft forecasts Ball to the Lakers despite slotting Duke’s Jason Tatum as the top pick to Boston, dropping near-consensus No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz to the 76ers at pick No. 3.

The Trailblazers and Raptors – Portland owns picks 15 and 20 while Toronto picks 23rd – are popular destinations for TJ Leaf and Ike Anigbogu, the two other UCLA players expected to be drafted.

Anigbogu, who averaged just 4.7 points and 4 rebounds in 13 minutes per game during his lone season at UCLA, is largely moving up on draft boards after the NBA Draft Combine last week. His best projection is 15th to the Chicago Bulls in Sports Illustrated’s mock draft. On the lowest end of the scale, NBADraft.net has Anigbogu dropping to the Magic with the fifth pick of the second round.

Leaf, who aptly showed off his range of offensive skills as the leading scorer for college basketball’s most efficient offense last season, is projected to be selected as high as 14th by the Miami Heat in The Sporting News mock draft. Leaf is a consensus first-round pick, but Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders predicts him to fall to 28th, where the Lakers will use their second first-round pick, No. 28 overall, to reunite him with Ball.

Mock drafts:
ESPN: Ball (No. 2, Lakers); Leaf (No. 18, Pacers); Anigbogu (No. 20, Trailblazers).
Sports Illustrated: Ball (No. 2, Lakers); Anigbogu (No. 15, Trailblazers); Leaf (No. 23, Raptors).
CBS Sports: Ball (No. 2, Lakers); Anigbogu (No. 16, Bulls); Leaf (No. 23, Raptors).
The Sporting News: Ball (No. 2, Lakers); Leaf (No. 14, Heat); Anigbogu (No. 23, Raptors). Continue reading “Post-lottery NBA mock drafts slot UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu” »

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Maurice Jones-Drew leads 2017 UCLA Hall of Fame Class

Maurice Jones-Drew (pictured in 2005) will be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame this year. (Photo by Stephen Dunn /Getty Images)

Three-time NFL Pro-Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew leads UCLA’s nine-member 2017 Hall of Fame Class, which was announced on Wednesday.

The group, which includes three Olympians and a combined 17 national championships, will be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame on Oct. 20 and honored during halftime of UCLA’s game against Oregon at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 21.

Jones-Drew left UCLA in 2005 with school records in career and single-season all-purpose yards, touchdowns in a game, single-game rushing yards and single-season punt returns for touchdowns. His punt return average of 28.5 yards in 2005 is still the NCAA record. During his NFL career, he rushed for 1,000-yards three times, including a league-leading 1,606 in 2011.

Other Hall of Fame inductees: Continue reading “Maurice Jones-Drew leads 2017 UCLA Hall of Fame Class” »

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