Norman Powell (4) goes for a steal during UCLA’s 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23. Powell finished the regular season leading the Bruins in points (16.3) and steals (60), and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team. (Stephen Carr/Staff)
Norman Powell blossomed into UCLA’s go-to option in his final season as a Bruin, and was rewarded with a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team. The 6-foot-4 guard led his team in scoring, steals and free throw attempts, and ranked third in rebounds and assists.
Powell was also a conference all-defensive honorable mention for the second year in a row. UCLA had landed multiple players on the All-Pac-12 first team in three of the last four seasons.
Freshman Kevon Looney, who averaged 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, didn’t make the 10-member first team but earned a second-team nod. Sophomore point guard Bryce Alford was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, rounding out a relatively unsurprising showing for the Bruins in the postseason awards.
The big shocker came in Joseph Young winning Pac-12 Player of the Year, becoming the first Oregon player to do so since Luke Ridnour in 2003. Young led the conference with 19.8 points per game, but isn’t as well-rounded a player as Arizona’s T.J. McConnell or Utah’s Delon Wright — two players who were the presumptive frontrunners for the league’s top individual honor.
It certainly helped Young’s case that Oregon won nine of its last 10 games to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. Head coach Dana Altman was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
UCLA Bruins (15-10, 7-5) vs. Oregon (18-7, 8-4)
Tipoff: Saturday, Feb. 14, 12:07 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
Scouting report: Oregon is a run-and-gun offense, one that can bury a team quickly if its shooters heat up. That’s what happened to UCLA when it traveled to Eugene last month. The Bruins played a level of defense that veered from lackadaisical to putrid — allowing the Ducks to shoot 75 percent from the field in the first half of an 82-64 blowout.
UCLA senior Norman Powell called out the team for its defensive effort in Eugene, and it might be up to him again to make sure there isn’t a letdown after stifling Oregon State on Wednesday.
On the other hand, Oregon’s own defense is paper thin. Since conference play started, the team has allowed opponents to make 53.2 percent of their 2-point shots — a huge hole that UCLA should be able to exploit if it can establish an inside-out attack. Continue reading →
— After an upset of Stanford, many USC players called for the school to retain Ed Orgeron as head coach. NBC Sports’ Chris Huston, also known as the Heisman Pundit, argues against removing the “interim” tag.
— Utah quarterback Travis Wilson’s career might be over after a post-concussion exam revealed a pre-existing neurological condition.
» Stanford“traded” Twitter handles with Syracuse, giving up @SUAthletics in exchange for a local goods package that includes a crate of oranges.
“Obviously we’re thrilled to activate @GoStanford as our official Twitter handle and pull off this dynamic trade,” said Bernard Muir, The Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics at Stanford. “From a branding standpoint, this trade makes sense for both schools. We held both accounts – the social media equivalent to having two starting quarterbacks, and we wanted to derive as much value fun as possible. We expect great things from our new starter, @GoStanford, and wish @SUAthletics good luck in a new home.”
» Oregon continues its run as basketball’s Transfer U. Last week, the Ducks added Houston transfer Joseph Young, a 6-foot-3 guard that led the Cougars with 18.0 points per game as a redshirt sophomore. If he isn’t granted a waiver, he will only be eligible for the 2014-15 season.
» Oregon State running back Storm Woods, on his team’s 31-27 Alamo Bowl loss to Texas: “I’ve watched it more than 10 times by myself, honestly. It haunts me still, and it fuels me but at the same time, I have to let it go.” Continue reading →