UCLA basketball links: Bruins in the NBA Summer League

Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball shoots over Los Angeles Clippers’ Brice Johnson (10) during overtime of an NBA summer league basketball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) ORG XMIT: NVJL117

Lonzo Ball‘s much-anticipated NBA Summer League debut for the Lakers started with a bang: an alley-oop pass to Brandon Ingram on the team’s very first possession.

The former UCLA Bruin’s night ended with his father LaVar Ball saying Lonzo did “the worst you can do,” after Ball was 2 for 15 shooting in the Lakers’ 96-93 overtime loss to the Clippers in Las Vegas on Friday.

Despite struggling with his shot, Ball still made an impact with five assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block.

More on Ball’s Summer League debut

Other links:

  • TJ Leaf was one of NBA.com’s 10 standouts from the Orlando Summer League with the Indiana Pacers. He played in three of the Pacers’ five games, averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
    • Fellow Pacers draft pick Ike Anigbogu did not participate in any summer league games due to a knee injury, according to the Indianapolis Star.
    • Undrafted guard Isaac Hamilton averaged 5.3 points and one rebound in three summer league games with the Pacers.
  • From the Albuquerque Journal: Bryce Alford, who landed with the Golden State Warriors after going undrafted, will stick to what he knows best: shooting. The Warriors start their summer league schedule Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN against the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas.
  • Jonah Bolden, who attended UCLA for one year before going to Europe to turn pro, played in three game with the 76ers in the Utah Summer League, averaging 10 points and 5.3 rebounds. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about Bolden’s defensive versatility after he had a team-high four blocks in his debut. His team will continue summer league play in Las Vegas.

UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Isaac Hamilton

Strengths: Isaac Hamilton’s malleable nature made him an ideal teammate, an ideal representative for why this UCLA team’s unselfishness made it so good, but he didn’t have a problem calling his own number when needed.

Isaac Hamilton epitomized UCLA’s rare unselfishness

Hamilton’s average dipped nearly three points from his junior year to 14.1 points per game as a senior, but he finished third in assists behind only point guards Lonzo Ball and Aaron Holiday on the team that averaged the most assists since UNLV set the Division-I record 26 years ago. The senior was an accomplished scorer who likely would have climbed into the top 10 on the school’s career scoring list had he played four years at UCLA.

Weaknesses: Hamilton wasn’t the target Bryce Alford was on the defensive end, but he was the Bruins’ second-weakest link on that end of the floor. His athleticism translated to him being a crafty scorer and a great shooter, but lateral movement wasn’t Hamilton’s forte. Consistent struggles to stay in front of his man forced UCLA’s back line to play help defense more often than the Bruins could handle, especially with two freshman in the front court who needed time to learn defensive rotations.

Best moment: Hamilton broke out of a slump with a 33-point game on Jan. 19 in a win over Arizona State, tying a school record in the process. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Isaac Hamilton” »

Lonzo Ball on Isaac Hamilton: ‘Obviously, he’s back.’

None of the three UCLA players who had postgame press conferences after Thursday’s 102-80 win over Arizona State had any idea Isaac Hamilton tied a significant school record.

It’s hard to blame them. Bryce Alford tied the same record with nine 3-pointers in a game a week earlier. It’s probably just understood at this point that No. 3 UCLA is so special offensively, breaking records just comes with the territory.

Hamilton wasn’t one of the three players made available to the media after the game because the senior guard was getting stitches after suffering a lacerated tongue. But making 9 of 14 attempts from 3-point range and scoring a season-high 33 points had to mean a great deal to him after a recent shooting slump during which he made 4 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc range over a seven-game stretch.

Hamilton made 4 of 5 3-pointers a week ago, seemingly pulling out of the slump during a win at Colorado, where UCLA set a school record with 19 3-pointers. But Hamilton followed that with a 1-for-7 performance from beyond the arc in Saturday’s 83-82 win at Utah. He made 7 of 8 from 3-point range in Thursday’s first half alone, outscoring Arizona by himself, 25-21, by the time he made his seventh with 6:08 left in the first half.

“Obviously, he’s back,” Lonzo Ball said. “I like playing with him when he’s like that.”

Links to our coverage of the 102-80 win over Arizona State:

  • Game story: Hamilton leads UCLA to best start since 1992
  • Notebook: UCLA to honor Kareem at halftime of Arizona game
  • Video: Lonzo Ball ready for UCLA’s offense to get even better
  • Video: TJ Leaf takes it personally when teams try to run with UCLA
  • Isaac Hamilton’s shooting slump the worst of his UCLA career

    UCLA senior Isaac Hamilton was the team's leading scorer before totaling two points during the team's two-game road trip to OregonWould the UCLA basketball team still be undefeated if Isaac Hamilton’s shooting slump didn’t bottom out in Oregon? All the Bruins needed was three more points in the last-second loss to the Ducks Dec. 28 punctuated by Dillon Brooks’ 3-pointer.

    Hamilton, the leading scorer 11 games into the season for the highest-scoring offense in the country outside The Citadel, had 2 points in Oregon. That’s one basket over two games – an 89-87 loss to Oregon and a 76-63 win over Oregon State – for the Pac-12’s top returning scorer from a season ago.

    UCLA’s shooting guard has made 2 of 23 three-pointers over a five-game span and 1 of his last 16 field goals in the last two games combined.

    “It’s a slump,” Hamilton said. “But it’s nothing I can’t bounce back from.” Continue reading “Isaac Hamilton’s shooting slump the worst of his UCLA career” »

    UCLA basketball beefs up resume with major conference wins

    It wasn’t just that No. 14 UCLA beat SEC and Big Ten teams over the weekend, it was how those wins were achieved that should inspire some more confidence.

    For the first time in this young season, UCLA found itself in not one, but two tight games. It won both, claiming the tournament title at the Wooden Legacy in the process.

    In Friday’s semifinal it staved off a pesky Nebraska team that nearly erased UCLA’s 15-point second-half lead. Then it withstood four lead changes and two tie scores in the final five minutes of Sunday’s win over Texas A&M in the tournament title game.

    It’s not like they’re toppling the best teams in the country (Wait for it…UCLA plays at No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday!) but these are major conference opponents that pushed the Bruins to provide answers to some significant questions. Most notably, could freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf answer the bell in close games? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Continue reading “UCLA basketball beefs up resume with major conference wins” »