UCLA isn’t just keeping coaches away from blue-blood programs. The same day head coach Jim Mora turned away inquiries from Texas, four-star linebacker Zach Whitley flipped his verbal commitment from
Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman first reported the news. According to Rivals.com’s Edward Lewis, Whitley will enroll in spring alongside Galena Park North Shore teammate Najee Toran, a three-star offensive lineman.
The Houston-area product had committed to the Crimson Tide last May.
In the final minute against Alabama, Tony Parker had a block, two rebounds and made both of his free throws to give UCLA a 75-67 victory in the final tuneup at Pauley Pavilion before Pac-12 play begins.
Parker was a 43 percent free-throw shooter before Saturday’s game, where he made 80 percent (4 of 5), including two with 56 seconds left.
Offensive lineman Dominick Jackson, regarded as one of the top JUCO prospects in the country, has decided to go back on his verbal commitment to UCLA made earlier this month, according to Rivals.com. The 6-foot-7, four-star guard will instead play at Alabama.
He told Rivals’ Andrew Bone that he made the decision despite not having yet visited the Crimson Tide: “(Offensive line) coach (Mario) Cristobal never stopped recruiting me. He really showed me how interested Alabama was in me after I committed.”
UCLA’s preseason schedule continues to fill up, with the latest development being a home-and-home series with Alabama (per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein). The Crimson Tide, who finished 23-13 last season and lost to Maryland in the NIT quarterfinals, will play at Pauley Pavilion this upcoming fall.
UCLA finished fourth in the Super Six final last night, ending a season beset by injuries. Senior Vanessa Zamarripa, ranked No. 1 in vault, landed on her knees to end the Bruins’ night, but the team couldn’t have won its seventh title even if she had scored a perfect 10. (Full story here.)
“Emotionally, physically, mentally, we are spent,” coach Valorie Kondos Field said. “We left it all on the floor. As a coach, I could not ask for more from them.”
Florida, coached by former UCLA All-American Rhonda Faehn, won its first national title despite two falls off the beam to open the day. Oklahoma placed second, and two-time defending champion Alabama finished third.