Pacific Palisades defensive lineman Baraka Beckett committed to UCLA on Sunday, pushing Chip Kelly’s 2018 recruiting class to 12 total prospects with three weeks left until National Signing Day.
Beckett is a lightly recruited defensive tackle who was previously committed to Hawaii. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect is a two-star recruit, according to 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings, and had other offers from Army, Columbia, Cornell, Idaho, UC Davis and UNLV.
Although UCLA has only one defensive lineman in this recruiting class, Beckett told 247 Sports Kelly offered him as an offensive lineman, an even more urgent position of need for the Bruins who are losing three starters this season.
Etiwanda High offensive tackle Alec Anderson signed his National Letter of Intent during December’s early signing period and Mater Dei four-star offensive lineman Chris Murray is on board with a verbal commitment he announced during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month.
UCLA guard Kris Wilkes, right, shoots as Colorado forward Lucas Siewert defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Los Angeles. Colorado won 68-59. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The hottest offense in the Pac-12 heaved long 3s the same way UCLA had done during its past two games to great success. On Saturday, it didn’t work.
After entering Saturday’s game against Colorado as the top scoring offense in Pac-12 play, the Bruins fell flat in a 68-59 loss that moved them out of first place in the conference standings.
UCLA (13-5, 4-2 Pac-12) was just 5-for-25 from 3-point range while Colorado was 11-for-22.
Thomas Welsh, who had 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting and eight rebounds, gave the Bruins their only consistent offense to match Colorado’s George King (26 points, 10 rebounds). Aaron Holiday had 10 points, but turned the ball over six times.
“That was as poor as we’ve played all year,” head coach Steve Alford said. “Outside of Tom we just didn’t have much as far as good concentrated effort. Obviously, you’re not going to win at this level when you don’t have enough guys collectively to do that, but I take responsibility for that.”
Guard Aaron Holiday and center Thomas Welsh talk about UCLA’s offensive struggles against Colorado, Welsh’s 10-point personal run in the second half and how the Bruins can find consistency in Pac-12 play.
UCLA guard Kris Wilkes (13) shoots over Washington State’s Kwinton Hinson (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
UCLA is coming off two of its most efficient offensive performances of the season, thanks to a steady stream of made 3-pointers against Stanford and Utah, but offense alone hasn’t resulted in two straight blowout victories for the Bruins.
“We’re going through a period here where our habits defensively are getting better,” head coach Steve Alford said. “We’re able to do more things now: We’re pressing, we’re zoning, we’re manning. And I think the guys like that. The change of defenses seems to get these guys a little bit more engaged.”
In Pac-12 play, the Bruins are second in opponent field goal percentage (42.6 percent) and lead the conference in scoring margin (plus-13.8) entering Saturday’s game against Colorado at 7:30 p.m.
The game is televised on Pac-12 Networks with the radio broadcast on AM 570.