UCLA routs Washington as Lonzo Ball wins duel with Markelle Fultz


Lonzo Ball versus Markelle Fultz was the only dramatic aspect of UCLA’s 107-66 win at Washington. The No. 11 Bruins, who figure to move up in the rankings after another chaotic weekend in the top 10, ran away early with a game they eventually led by 44 in the closing minutes.

Fultz and Ball, the focus of 21 NBA scouts in attendance for Alaska Airlines Arena’s first sellout in five years, were the game’s two leading scorers with 25 and 22 points, respectively. Ball made 7 of 12 field goals and added six rebounds and five assists. Fultz was 9 of 19 from the field with six rebounds and five assists.

The difference was three other UCLA players with at least 20 points. Bryce Alford had 21 and TJ Leaf and Aaron Holiday had 20 apiece. Fultz had little help from his friends in coach Lorenzo Romar’s most lopsided loss in his 15 seasons at Washington.

The blowout gave the Bruins their 21st win earlier than any other season in school history. The victory sets up a matchup on Thursday with Oregon at Pauley Pavilion with massive implications in the Pac-12 race.

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Former UCLA safety Kenny Easley elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Kenny Easley, who starred at UCLA before playing his entire NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
(Rick Stewart / Getty Images)

Former UCLA safety Kenny Easley was one of seven voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Kidney disease cut Easley’s professional career as the 1981 first-round draft pick was forced to retire in 1987 after spending his entire NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks.

In 1984, he won the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was a four-time All-Pro selection and was elected to the Pro Bowl five times.

Easley is one of the best players to come out of UCLA. He was a three-time consensus All-American and was the first player in Pac-12 history to be named an all-conference selection for four straight years. He still holds the program record for interceptions in a career (19). In 1980, he finished in ninth place for the Heisman Trophy. His No. 5 jersey is retired by the school, and he was voted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

The 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class also includes running backs Terrell Davis and LaDanian Tomlinson, quarterback Kurt Warner, kicker Morten Anderson, defensive end Jason Taylor and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The class will be enshrined on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.

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How UCLA landed four-star OL Stephan Zabié

Four-star offensive lineman Stephan Zabie committed to UCLA on National Signing Day on ESPNU.

UCLA got an early morning present on National Signing Day last Wednesday when four-star offensive lineman Stephan Zabié put on his UCLA hat at about 6 a.m. PT on ESPNU.

Zabié was UCLA’s only new Signing Day commit as the rest of the 18-man class had previously announced their commitments before signing on Feb. 1.

Head coach Jim Mora described the recruiting of the 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive lineman was “fast and furious,” as Zabié didn’t get an offer from the Bruins until Jan. 18. UCLA hadn’t even hired its offensive line coach when Zabié took his official visit to campus.

However, the Bruins were able to keep the prospect away from in-state Texas with the help of new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Mora said Fisch was critical in landing Zabié as the coach had a previous relationship with the player and his family.

Zabié is both an intriguing and important pick up for the Bruins. Bolstering an offensive line that suffered from injuries and depth issues was of utmost importance. Zabié was one of five offensive linemen to sign last Wednesday. Continue reading

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UCLA-Washington pits nation’s top two point guards

Freshman point guards Lonzo Ball of UCLA and Markelle Fultz of Washington are projected to be the top two picks in the 2017 NBA draft (USA Today images)

The UCLA men’s basketball team isn’t looking past anybody. Not after losing consecutive conference games and three of its first six in the Pac-12.

But considering the lopsided records of the No. 11 Bruins (20-3, 7-3) and Washington (9-13, 2-8) entering tonight’s game in Seattle, who could blame anyone for focusing less on the team dynamic and more on the most interesting individual matchup in the country?

DraftExpress.com projects Washington point guard Markelle Fultz as the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. His UCLA counterpart, Lonzo Ball, is projected to go No. 2. The designated section for NBA scouts at Alaska Airlines Arena won’t be hard to spot.

Fultz, a 19-year-old from Maryland, has established himself as probably the most dynamic player in the country. He is lacking playmakers around him, as the Huskies’ six losses in their last seven conference games would indicate, but that makes what he has done even more impressive. His 23.1 points per game is the seventh-highest mark in the country and the highest for a power 5 conference player.

Ball, the only player in the nation averaging more than 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds, can probably appreciate Fultz’ ability to fill a stat sheet too. Continue reading

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How UCLA’s newest recruiting class stacks up to previous years

Buena Park High defensive back Elijah Gates is part of an 18-player UCLA recruiting class that was heavy on defense and offensive linemen. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

Six weeks ago, UCLA’s recruiting class was 47th in the nation, according to Scout. By the end of the Signing Day festivities, the Bruins had vaulted up to 21st.

UCLA made major moves in the month of January to make up for its slow start to the recruiting cycle to end up with the third-best class in the Pac-12, but the haul is the worst in the Jim Mora era, according to rankings from Scout and Rivals.

Continue reading

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