Ike Anigbogu hires agent, won’t return to UCLA basketball team

Ike Anigbogu hired an agent on Thursday, meaning UCLA’s entire three-man 2016 recruiting class won’t return for a second season.

Ike Anigbogu has hired an agent and won’t return to UCLA

Fifteen days ago, the 6-foot-10 freshman announced he would declare for the NBA draft. Since then, he has received favorable news about where he will be selected, leading to his decision to sign with agent Jason Glushon.

“With the feedback he’s been getting, I think it’s been made clear to him and his family that it looks like he’s going to be a first-round pick,” said Josh Giles, Anigbogu’s coach at Corona Centennial High School. “Nothing is a guarantee, but this is as close to a guarantee as you can get.”

READ: Ike Anigbogu hires agent, will take his chances in NBA draft

In seeking advice about Anigbogu’s next move, his family has relied heavily on Giles and Etop Udo-Ema, the founder of Anigbogu’s AAU team, The Compton Magic.

Anigbogu’s decision is based on a fascinating contrast. Continue reading “Ike Anigbogu hires agent, won’t return to UCLA basketball team” »

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UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Ike Anigbogu

UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu didn’t earn the playing time expected of scout.com’s No. 17 recruit in the country last season. (Brian Rothmuller/Getty Images)

Strengths: Ike Anigbogu’s current situation perfectly illustrates the exceptional athletic ability of the UCLA freshman center. Despite averaging a pedestrian 4.7 points and 4 rebounds, the obvious potential he possesses could land him alone side some of college basketball’s elite in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft. He is more than six months shy of his 19th birthday, but he has the muscle tone of an NFL strong safety. He is at least 6-foot-10, but looks vastly different than the majority of gangly basketball players at his position. By the end of the season, Anigbogu’s off-the-charts body and athleticism were translating to a high level of defense on the court.

Weaknesses: Anigbogu was the very last offensive option in UCLA’s eight-man rotation last season. He didn’t get much opportunity to develop his skills on that end of the court, but it doesn’t mean Anigbogu doesn’t have the ability to score using more than just brute strength and leaping ability. He averaged 17 points per game as a senior in high school and showed glimpses of having soft hands and nice touch around the basket. It’s apparent that he is lacking polish at the offensive end, where he was most effective catching lob passes.

Best moment: Anigbogu started the season slow after a knee injury, but his coming out party happened on a grand stage. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Ike Anigbogu” »

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Ike Anigbogu declares for NBA draft, doesn’t hire an agent

Freshman Ike Anigbogu will declare for the NBA draft, joining classmates Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf.

Ike Anigbogu became the third UCLA freshman in the last 12 days to announce he will declare for the NBA draft. Unlike classmates Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf, Anigbogu left the door open for a return by not hiring an agent.

“He’s not going to hire an agent for the time being, but that could change if he starts shooting up the draft boards and it pretty much becomes a lock that he’ll go in the first round,” said Anigbogu’s coach at Corona Centennial High School, Josh Giles. “If Ike really starts doing well in these workouts, I’ve had NBA people tell me he could be a late lottery guy.”

One the one hand, Anigbogu’s potential seems limitless. The measurables don’t nearly do his body justice. He is a chiseled 6-foot-10, 250 pounds and his legs look like tree trunks. And he only turned 18 five months ago.

On the other hand, he only played 13 minutes per game and averaged 4.7 points, 4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. His opportunities were limited in part because he played behind Thomas Welsh, who probably has a future in the NBA, but Anigbogu’s statistics are underwhelming.

Giles and Etop Udo-Ema, the founder of Anigbogu’s AAU team, the Compton Magic, both did their homework about where Anigbogu might be drafted. Both coaches have served as mentors to Anigbogu and aided his parents in making basketball decisions throughout Anigbogu’s career. They both got similar answers when digging for information about where Anigbogu may be selected in the NBA draft.

“I’ve received calls from 15 to 17 NBA teams and I’ve talked to scouts and directors of player personnel,” Giles said “The overwhelming consensus is there are very few people who think Ike’s going to fall out of the first round. He could go as high at 15, but mostly what we’ve heard is the 18 to 34 range. I know a few people who have played and coached in the NBA and (Udo-Ema) has a ton of contacts. It would be different if we were getting different answers, but everyone we’ve talked to has given us the same numbers about where Ike will go.” Continue reading “Ike Anigbogu declares for NBA draft, doesn’t hire an agent” »

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Ike Anigbogu expected to play Sunday in NCAA Tournament

UCLA forward Ike Anigbogu dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oregon State, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

After missing UCLA’s first-round game against Kent State on Friday with a sprained foot, forward Ike Anigbogu is slated to make his NCAA Tournament debut in the second round against Cincinnati.

Head coach Steve Alford said Saturday that he expects Anigbogu to play Sunday. Before practice, the 6-foot-10 freshman was seen without his protective walking boot.

“He’s improving great and we expect him to play,” Alford said.

The coach added that Anigbogu was “pretty close” to playing Friday, but said “it’s always the student-athlete’s best interest in mind first and we felt like he needed more time.”

Freshman Lonzo Ball‘s bruised hip shouldn’t be a problem. Alford said he believes Ball will be “close to 100 percent tomorrow” and that the hard fall just “stung him a little bit.”

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Lonzo Ball’s hip is ‘fine’ after big crash

SACRAMENTO, CA – MARCH 17: Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins is helped up after falling to the court and sustaining an injury against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 17, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

UCLA’s already short-handed roster got another scare Friday night when Lonzo Ball crashed to the Golden 1 Center court against Kent State.

The freshman played through a right hip bruise to set UCLA’s single-season assist record at 257, surpassing Larry Drew II‘s mark of 256 from the 2012-13 season, as the Bruins advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 97-80 win against Kent State. The Bruins (30-4) face Cincinnati on Sunday at 6:40 p.m. PT on TBS.

Ball played 17 minutes during the second half after suffering the minor injury and said afterward simply his hip is “fine.”

UCLA head coach Steve Alford said he doesn’t think it’s anything to worry about.

The greater concern is forward Ike Anigbogu, who missed Friday’s game with a sprained foot. He suffered the injury in practice Tuesday and was still in his protective boot while sitting on the bench Friday. According to a UCLA spokesperson, the freshman is still day-to-day. Alford said he’s hopeful that the 6-foot-10 forward will be back.

Against an undersized Kent State team, the Bruins didn’t miss Anigbogu much. They’ll surely need him against sixth-seeded Cincinnati.

The Bearcats (30-5) easily got past Kansas State 75-61 in the first round Friday. They scored 34 points in the paint and outrebounded the Wildcats 31-23. Kyle Washington, a 6-foot-9 forward, had 16 points and four rebounds while fellow forward Gary Clark had 15 points and seven rebounds. Guard Troy Caupain led the Bearcats with 23 points.

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