Basketball notes: Bruins behind in defense, rebounding

– Steve Alford said UCLA has been doing a lot of work using 15- and 20-second shot clocks, and is ahead of where they should be on offense — albeit turning the ball over too often. However, the team is behind defensively, especially on the backboard.

“Our two best rebounders have probably been Kyle (Anderson) and Tony (Parker),” Alford said, adding that the team has been much better on the offensive glass.

The Bruins were last in the Pac-12 last year with a -1.6 rebounding margin.

– Five-star power forward Kevon Looney was on campus for the last of his five official visits. He will announce his decision on Oct. 31, with Duke being the favorite. Continue reading

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Basketball notes: Steve Alford talks guard rotation, schemes

UCLA officially started practicing this past Saturday, and the first 15 minutes of Monday’s afternoon session was open to the media. The Bruins didn’t do anything intensive to start, but freshman Bryce Alford manned the point while Kyle Anderson did individual drills at the other end of the court.

Anderson said he’s playing a lot more point guard than he did under former head coach Ben Howland, estimating the increase at roughly 90 percent.

Other notes: Continue reading

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Jordan Adams talks rehab and new role as No. 1 scorer

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Jordan Adams entered his freshman season as the least-heralded member of UCLA’s No. 2 recruiting class. He quickly turned into one of the Bruins’ most effective scorers, averaging 15.3 points per game (fifth in the Pac-12) until he broke his foot in the conference tournament semifinals.

Expected to now be the team’s primary option, he’ll return to the court sometime in August. He talked this week about his rehab, his impressions of the new coaching staff, and some reflections on last season.

Q: Where are you in your rehab?

I’m close to getting back on the court. I’ve talked to the trainers and the doctors; they said early August, middle of August. … Easing back into it. They’ll let me decide when I want to officially come back. It’ll be my decision at the end, but I’m still not cleared until August. Continue reading

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How often will Kyle Anderson play point guard?

Before he lost his job, Ben Howland said Kyle Anderson would become a full-time point guard — at least on offense.

Over a month after UCLA made its coaching change, that’s no longer the case. Filling in the void left by Larry Drew II is still paramount, but the Bruins may help themselves more by utilizing the multi-talented Anderson all over the court.

“We’ve got to figure out what’s going to be best for the Kyle,” head coach Steve Alford said. “We’ve got to keep all that open as far as how many different ways we can play him.” Continue reading

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UCLA to play in November’s Las Vegas Invitational

Fans who enjoyed Vegas during the Pac-12 Tournament won’t have to wait until March to visit again.

UCLA officially announced today that it will play in the 13th annual Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 28 and 29. The Orleans Arena will host the Bruins, Nevada, Northwestern and Missouri. UCLA also has a nonconference game scheduled against the Tigers.

The regional round will take place the weekend prior, with UCLA hosting two teams. Those matchups will be against Chattanooga, IUPUI, Morehead State or Gardner-Webb.

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Notes from Steve Alford’s official introduction

UCLA did its best to give new coach Steve Alford a warm welcome, rolling out a grand stage for him on the Pauley Pavilion floor Tuesday at noon. Here’s the full scene from the day as well as a photo gallery featuring Shaquille O’Neal, but these are the main highlights. Continue reading

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Brown’s sprained ankle another hit to thin lineup

With UCLA down to a seven-man rotation, coach Ben Howland will need to turn to walk-ons if anyone else gets injured between now and Friday’s 6:57 p.m. PT tipoff against Minnesota.

Sophomore guard David Brown, who hit a 3-pointer in his 13 minutes of play this season, would have been the first man off the bench had he not sprained his ankle in yesterday’s practice. He was wearing a boot over his left foot in today’s public shootaround. Howland said Sooren Derboghosian will be the first big he’ll use, while Aubrey Williams will be the first guard. Both have played a total of seven minutes.

Freshman Jordan Adams did not make the trip to Austin, Texas for the NCAA tournament after undergoing surgery this week.

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Short-handed UCLA falls short of Pac-12 tourney title

Without shooting guard Jordan Adams, UCLA couldn’t do enough to beat Oregon for the Pac-12 tournament championship. As Adams sat at the end of the bench with a broken right foot, the Bruins lost 78-69 and failed to put together one strong, late rally.

UCLA cut the Ducks’ to two points with 12 minutes left to go on a 3-pointer by Larry Drew II, but proceeded to give up a 6-0 run over the next 90 seconds. It went the rest of the way down between six and 12 points — save for a 19-second stretch that saw the deficit shrink to four.

Oregon won its first tournament title since 2007. No team has won both the regular-season and tournament championships since the Bruins did so in 2008.

– UCLA’s seed for the NCAA tournament will likely drop due to Adams’ absence. The NCAA selection committee often account for injuries in their decision, and the Bruins being without their second-leading scorer could weigh heavily. In 2000, top-ranked Cincinnati missed out on a No. 1 seed when Kenyon Martin broke his leg. In 2009, St. Mary’s missed the tournament despite 26 wins because point guard Patty Mills hadn’t shaken off rust after breaking his hand. Continue reading

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UCLA 66, Arizona 64: Notes and quotes

UCLA pulled out a big 66-64 victory against Arizona to advance to the Pac-12 title game, but the cost was a season-ending broken foot for Jordan Adams (story here). The freshman guard erupted for 18 second-half points, including 13 straight, as the Bruins beat the Wildcats for the third time this season.

Tomorrow’s 8 p.m. tipoff (ESPN) pits UCLA against Oregon — a tough matchup for the Bruins even with Adams.

More notes after the jump. Continue reading

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