UCLA spring football day 11: Team focused on repetition in 11-on-11s

UCLA’s Eldridge Massington, pictured in a 2014 practice, said UCLA’s receivers are more focused on run blocking this year with new coach Jimmie Dougherty. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The timing may not have looked ideal for Jimmie Dougherty, but the affection he has held for UCLA for more than a decade was too strong to ignore.

After less than two months as Oregon’s wide receivers coach, Dougherty flew south to Westwood to take the same position at UCLA this season. Since arriving, he’s jumped head on into improving UCLA’s inconsistent receivers group while providing offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch a vital familiar face as they install a new offense.

More on how Dougherty fell in love with UCLA as a San Diego assistant coach and what he brings to the Bruins.

Video interview with Fisch

Here are notes/observations from practice today: Continue reading “UCLA spring football day 11: Team focused on repetition in 11-on-11s” »

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San Marcos WR Kyle Phillips commits to UCLA

Wide receiver Kyle Phillips announced his commitment to UCLA on Friday, giving the Bruins their first offensive skill player for the 2018 recruiting class.

Phillips also had offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Cal, Oregon, Utah and Washington State, among others. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound prospect from San Marcos High is the No. 7 receiver in California and No. 9 in the West, according to Scout.com. He’s a four-star recruit according to Scout and a three-star by Rivals’ rankings.

UCLA did not sign any receivers in the 2017 class, but will be losing at least four players from the group after this season. Darren Andrews, Eldridge Massington, Alex Van Dyke and Mossi Johnson are all entering their final years of eligibility. Andrews’ graduation will open the starting spot at slot receiver, where Phillips could contribute.

UCLA now has six verbal commits for the 2018 class: safeties Jhevon Hill and Cam’ron Jones, offensive lineman Blake McDonald, athlete Isaiah Johnson and defensive lineman Aaron Maldonado.

Phillips’ junior year highlights:

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UCLA basketball 2017 report card: TJ Leaf

TJ Leaf was the most dynamic offensive weapon for the highest-scoring team in college basketball

Strengths: TJ Leaf was the best one-on-one player on the highest-scoring team in the country. Coupled with the freshman forward’s ability to run (and stretch) the floor, he was UCLA’s most dynamic offensive weapon. Surrounded by shooters and the best facilitator in college basketball, Leaf was in an ideal situation to succeed. But when he needed to create his own shot, he had abundant success scoring on anyone from anywhere. His 61.7 field goal percentage ranked fourth among all power five conference players and the 6-foot-10 freshman shot 47 percent from 3-point range, making him the best stretch four in college basketball aside from Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen.

Weaknesses: Leaf was plenty athletic and surprisingly physical on the defensive end, but he was very slow to adapt as a help defender. Most of Leaf’s defensive shortcomings were mental. He was slow to rotate, was consistently beaten on back-door cuts and generally had a difficult time keeping his head on a swivel. UCLA’s lack of perimeter defense put an unhealthy amount of pressure on UCLA’s big men, but it also exposed Leaf’s lack of continuity with his teammates on the defensive end.

Best moment: One of Leaf’s best halves of the season maintained UCLA’s elite status at a critical point in the season. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: TJ Leaf” »

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Ike Anigbogu hires agent, won’t return to UCLA basketball team

Ike Anigbogu hired an agent on Thursday, meaning UCLA’s entire three-man 2016 recruiting class won’t return for a second season.

Ike Anigbogu has hired an agent and won’t return to UCLA

Fifteen days ago, the 6-foot-10 freshman announced he would declare for the NBA draft. Since then, he has received favorable news about where he will be selected, leading to his decision to sign with agent Jason Glushon.

“With the feedback he’s been getting, I think it’s been made clear to him and his family that it looks like he’s going to be a first-round pick,” said Josh Giles, Anigbogu’s coach at Corona Centennial High School. “Nothing is a guarantee, but this is as close to a guarantee as you can get.”

READ: Ike Anigbogu hires agent, will take his chances in NBA draft

In seeking advice about Anigbogu’s next move, his family has relied heavily on Giles and Etop Udo-Ema, the founder of Anigbogu’s AAU team, The Compton Magic.

Anigbogu’s decision is based on a fascinating contrast. Continue reading “Ike Anigbogu hires agent, won’t return to UCLA basketball team” »

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