Troy Aikman donates $1 million to UCLA’s new football facility

Former UCLA and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has made a $1 million donation to the Bruins’ new football facility project, pushing total fundraising to more than $54 million.

The Wasserman Football Center, which is budgeted at $65 million, will now include the Troy Aikman Strength and Conditioning Center in honor of his contribution. The facility is scheduled to break ground this fall.

“UCLA holds a very special place in my heart,” Aikman said in a statement. “As you go through life, it is common to be defined by the company you keep. I’ve been fortunate to be associated with two outstanding institutions. In many eyes, I’ll always be a Dallas Cowboy, and I’m extremely proud of that.

“By making this contribution to UCLA Football, It’s clear that I am, and always will be, a UCLA Bruin as well. My time at UCLA helped mold me into the person I am today, and I want the Bruin student-athletes that come after me to have the same opportunity I had to achieve their boyhood dreams.”

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Five-star running back Soso Jamabo arrested for fleeing police

Mugshot of Soso Jamabo, UCLA's five-star signee, who was arrested early Sunday morning for evading police in a vehicle. (Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office)

Mugshot of Soso Jamabo, UCLA’s five-star signee, who was arrested early Sunday morning for evading police in a vehicle. (Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office)

Five-star running back Soso Jamabo, who signed with UCLA in February, was arrested early Sunday morning for fleeing police in a vehicle.

Jamabo posted a $7,500 surety bond on Sunday afternoon, and was released from Kaufman County Jail. Online records had showed that Sotonye Josiah Jamabo was booked at 1:28 a.m. CT on multiple charges, including minor possession of alcohol and speeding, but he is now only facing one charge — evading arrest with a vehicle, a state jail felony under the Texas penal code.

“We are aware of the reports out of Dallas regarding Sotonye Jamabo,” a UCLA spokesperson said in a statement. “We are obviously concerned about these reports and are currently gathering more information. As this is a continuing process, we will withhold further comment until the appropriate time.”

The Plano West star was arrested by Kemp police, approximately an hour southeast of the high school. A since-deleted picture uploaded onto Twitter showed that Jamabo, 18, may have been attending prom.

Kemp chief of police Robert Walker said in an emailed statement that Jamabo was driving a Ford pick-up truck that exited Highway 175-East at approximately 7:20 p.m. Saturday night at a “high rate of speed.” Continue reading

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JUCO big man Ikenna Okwarabizie commits to UCLA

Days after missing on a major frontcourt recruit, UCLA has landed 6-foot-10 big man Ikenna Okwarabizie out of Tyler Junior College.

Okwarabizie grew up in Nigeria, but played his senior year of high school at Sioux City (Iowa) East before spending his first season of college ball 100 miles east of Dallas. According to the Sioux City Journal, he also drew interest from Iowa, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech.

The Bruins have considered offering the 245-pounder as early as last October.

Okwarabizie averaged 6.5 points and 7.0 rebounds through his lone JUCO season, shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from the line. His announcement on Sunday morning helps add depth to UCLA’s frontline, which lost all-conference forward Kevon Looney to the NBA draft and little-used reserve Wanaah Bail to a transfer.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar undergoes quadruple bypass surgery

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar underwent quadruple bypass surgery on Thursday at UCLA Medical Center, but is expected to make a full recovery.

UCLA released a statement today at the request of the former Lakers and Bruins star. He was operated on by Dr. Richard Shemin.

From the university’s statement:

At this time, Abdul-Jabbar would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received. He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon.

He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest.

For those wanting to send well wishes, he thanks you in advance and asks that you support those in your own community who may be suffering from various health issues.

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Four-star wide receiver Darian Owens commits to UCLA

Four-star receiver Darian Owens committed to UCLA on Friday, announcing his decision in a ceremony at Clovis West High.

He becomes the seventh verbal commitment in the Bruins’ 2016 recruiting class, giving them a 6-foot, 192-pound target with speed. He is ranked just outside the top 100 nationally at any position by Rivals.com, and among the top 20 prospects in California. Scout.com ranks him as a top-10 athlete in his class.

“I already knew where I wanted to go a month ago and I have the best relationship with coach (UCLA wide receivers coach Eric) Yarber out of every other coach,” Owens told Rivals.com. “UCLA honestly gave off a home feel.”

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