Norman Powell named UCLA’s MVP at basketball banquet

UCLA's Norman Powell defends Byron Wesley during the Bruins' Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga on March 27. Powell had 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks to end his career at Houston's NRG Stadium. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

UCLA’s Norman Powell defends Byron Wesley during the Bruins’ Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga on March 27. Powell had 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks to end his career at Houston’s NRG Stadium. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

UCLA men’s basketball held its year-end banquet last night. Here’s the list of awards the team handed out.

Norman Powell, Sr., G, 6-4, 215
John Wooden Award (most valuable player)

Kevon Looney, Fr., F, 6-9, 220
Seymour Armond Memorial Award (most valuable freshman)
Gerald A. Finerman Award (rebounding leader)

Tony Parker, Jr., F/C, 6-9, 260
Player Improvement Award Continue reading

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UCLA vs Gonzaga: Gameday reads

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For anyone looking for something to do between now and UCLA’s tipoff against Gonzaga at 4:15 p.m. PT (CBS), here’s a roundup of relevant reading:

— Isaac Hamilton started the season on a bumpy path, but has rediscovered his “old man’s game” late in the season.
— UCLA assistant coach Ed Schilling once shot poorly in a football stadium, but he doesn’t think the same will hold for the Bruins at NRG Stadium.
— From the Spokesman-Review: The first person to ever hire Steve Alford as a coach explains how it happened.
— From Grantland: How Kyle Wiltjer turned himself into a star by leaving Kentucky.
— From Y! Sports: An oral history of UCLA’s 2006 comeback against Gonzaga.
— And last but not least … Bill Walton’s recent aMa on Reddit.

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VIDEO: Isaac Hamilton talks about career-best performance vs. USC

UCLA coasted to a 96-70 win over USC in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals, as sophomore Isaac Hamilton scored a career-high 36 points — the most for any Bruin in a decade. Hamilton did this just four days after the death of his grandmother, Lucine.

“I said a little prayer,” he said. “I knew she was watching me above. I just came out and competed. I’m hoping she’s happy with the performance I had today.”

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Isaac Hamilton scores career-high 36 as UCLA blows out USC

LAS VEGAS >> That UCLA beat USC in the Pac-12 Tournament wasn’t much of a surprise.

That Isaac Hamilton was the Bruins’ best offensive player? Well, this was new.

The sophomore guard scored a career-high 36 points in a 96-70 decision over the Trojans on Thursday, one that punched a ticket to the Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against No. 1-seed Arizona.

It was an astounding performance, particularly for a player who entered the MGM Grand Garden arena averaging 10.1 points per game. Hamilton had only topped 20 points once in his career. In four of his last eight games, he hadn’t even scored in double digits. Continue reading

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