UCLA football links: Latest mock drafts

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

With the end of the NFL season officially over, teams are turning their attention to April’s NFL draft.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley is the most popular first-round pick for the Bruins as he’s projected as a late first-rounder by CBS Sports (No. 30 to the Steelers), Sports Illustrated (No. 29, Packers) and NFL.com (No. 31, Falcons). ESPN’s Todd McShay has McKinley at No. 23 to the Giants, while Rotoworld has the defensive end slotted at No. 16 to the Ravens.

In Sports Illustrated’s three-round mock draft, McKinley is the only UCLA prospect listed, however, cornerback Fabian Moreau gets the Cowboys’ draft pick at No. 60 in Walter Football mock draft with Conor McDermott going at No. 105 overall to the Bengals.

Moreau drew rave reviews after the Shrine Game last month and that helped boost his stock. He jumped into NFL.com’s list of top 50 prospects, checking in at No. 47, following McKinley at No. 23.

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Lonzo Ball keeps finding new ways to prove his greatness


Dillon Brooks’ game-winning 3-pointer on Dec. 28 instantly erased the memory of it. With time winding down on UCLA’s first meeting with Oregon six weeks ago in Eugene, the Bruins spread the floor and Lonzo Ball drove for a clutch contested lay-up that appeared to seal a 14th consecutive win to begin the season.

Instead, UCLA lost a four-point lead in the last 15 seconds of the 89-87 loss, diminishing what was a massively clutch basket by Ball on the road against the current No. 5 team in the country.

After the freshman made four of his last five shots Thursday night, including a 30-foot step-back 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in UCLA’s season-altering 82-79 win over Oregon, you can understand why he characterizes the last few minutes of the game “my time to do what I’ve got to do.”

“I don’t get nervous,” he said Thursday night. “It’s the game of basketball, something I’ve been working for my whole life.”

Ball keeps finding different ways to prove his greatness. Thursday provided an array of examples.

UCLA’s point guard bounced back from one of his worst halves of the season to have one of his best. After his defensive assignment was flipped to Brooks with 16 minutes to play, he held Oregon’s leading scorer without a point over the game’s final 15 minutes.

“I think it was arguably Zo’s toughest 20 minutes (of the season) to start the game,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “And maybe one of his better 20 minutes after halftime. That’s how special he is.”

The nation’s leader in assists didn’t have a single one with 15 minutes left in the game. He had 5 points on six shots with 10:30 to play and UCLA didn’t have a single fast break point. The struggle was so evident in Ball’s body language, it created concern he may be playing through injury.

For a freshman who is carrying the largest load on his team to recover mentally in that fashion during a game UCLA trailed by 19 points is nothing short of remarkable. If UCLA can muster some strong defensive stretches like it did during a 14-0 run in the first half and the decisive 21-3 run in the second, Ball is proving he can take care of the rest.

Links from No. 10 UCLA’s 82-79 win over No. 5 Oregon:

  • Game story: Lonzo Ball delivers Bruins biggest win of the season
  • Mark Whicker: UCLA peeled itself off the floor and is flying high again
  • Notebook: UCLA honors broadcaster Dick Enberg
  • Video: Lonzo Ball on his most clutch performance this year
  • Video: Steve Alford on UCLA’s best defensive stretch of the season
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  • Oregon is UCLA’s best remaining shot at quality win

    Dillon Brooks’ last-second 3-pointer on Dec. 28 cost UCLA a win at Oregon

    UCLA has the largest disparity between its ranking (10) and RPI (21) of any team in the Associated Press top 10. Only West Virginia (13/33) has a larger disparity in the entire top 25.

    In other words, it’s easy to argue the Bruins are getting more credit than they deserve.

    UCLA’s chances to boost that RPI are running out. Tonight’s game against No. 5 Oregon at Pauley Pavilion may be its best opportunity to not only add to the resume, but provide convincing evidence UCLA is among the nation’s elite.

    The Bruins have two wins against teams with a top-50 RPI: Kentucky (13) and Cal (36). It can be argued that a road win at Kentucky is the only significant feather in UCLA’s cap. For example, Cal lost by 23 at Oregon on Jan. 19.

    Of course, Oregon was lucky to beat UCLA on Dillon Brooks’ 3-pointer with .08 seconds left in the Bruins’ first conference game. But despite 21 wins and just three losses, even those shiny totals make it difficult for UCLA to argue it’s a championship-caliber team.

    READ: Preview of No. 5 Oregon at No. 10 UCLA

    Aside from Kentucky, the Bruins’ nonconference wins simply haven’t held up. It’s not UCLA’s fault, but RPI numbers aren’t much help from Ohio State (69), Michigan (75) and Texas A&M (93), meaning it has to largely prove itself in conference play.

    So far, it is winless in two games against the Pac-12’s elite, Oregon and Arizona. It plays at Arizona on Feb. 25 and could easily get another shot or two at either team in the Pac-12 tournament, but tonight is its last home game against the class of its conference.

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    UCLA hires Jimmie Dougherty as WR coach

    Jimmie Dougherty was a offensive analyst at Michigan in 2016 and worked with now UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press)

    (Updated Feb. 8, 11:33 a.m. — UCLA announces hire officially)

    UCLA hired former Oregon wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty for the same position Wednesday, the school announced.

    Dougherty, who held his job with the Ducks for about seven weeks, was an offensive analyst at Michigan last year, where he worked with current UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Dougherty will serve also as passing game coordinator for the Bruins.

    “Knowing Jimmie since 2009 and having been able to see him in action at practice, during games and in the meeting room, it’s exciting to add a coach of his caliber to our staff,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement.

    Dougherty is the fourth new offensive coach for the Bruins this season, including Fisch, Hank Fraley (offensive line) and DeShaun Foster (running backs). The only remaining offensive coach from the previous year is tight ends coach Rip Scherer.

    Dougherty has previous Pac-12 coaching experience at Washington, where he coached receivers from 2009-12 under Steve Sarkisian. He was an assistant head coach, receivers coach and passing game coordinator at San Jose State from 2013-15.

    During his short tenure at Oregon, Dougherty helped the Ducks rope in four receivers for their 2017 recruiting class. He is also the second assistant coach to leave within the past week, as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach David Reaves resigned last Friday following an arrest for multiple traffic violations, including DUII, on Jan. 22. Dougherty was a passenger in the car at the time, according to the Oregonian, but was not charged with any crimes.

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    UCLA-committed LaMelo Ball scores 92 points after loss

    UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball said he didn’t throw any jabs at his two younger brothers after the Chino Hills High School’s basketball team’s 60-game win streak was snapped on Saturday.

    The next time they took the court, youngest brother LaMelo Ball scored 92 points on Tuesday night in a 146-122 win over Los Osos High. The sophomore made 37 of 61 field goals (61 percent) and added a cool seven assists. Lonzo Ball showed his appreciation on twitter:

    With senior LiAngelo Ball, who scored 72 in a game earlier this season, sitting out to rest up for the playoffs, LaMelo took advantage. The youngest of the Ball brothers didn’t do most of his damage from 3-point range, making 30 of his 39 attempts from inside the arc.

    LaMelo Ball, who famously made a half-court shot in the middle of a game earlier this season, was 7 of 22 from 3-point range Tuesday night. He had 29 points at halftime and scored 41 of his 92 in the fourth quarter. High school quarters are eight minutes long. Continue reading

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