UCLA basketball lands most national TV games of Steve Alford era

Television executives have officially joined the faction anticipating Steve Alford’s heralded recruiting class. The UCLA men’s basketball team will make more national television appearances this coming season than each of the previous three under Alford.

Featuring touted freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, the Bruins will appear on CBS on three occasions, Fox Sports 1 six times and the ESPN family of networks a minimum of 10 times, according to the schedule released by the UCLA athletic department on Thursday.

UCLA’s 15-17 record last season and a 6-12 conference mark that was their worst in 14 years didn’t deter the networks. The obvious reason seems to be the arrival of rivals.com’s No. 5 recruiting class in the country to a roster that has a solid nucleus after graduating just one senior, center Tony Parker. Ball and Leaf are rated the class of 2016’s fourth and 16th recruits in the country, respectively, by rivals.com, which rates UCLA freshman center Ike Anigbogu 25th. Continue reading

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UCLA links: Men’s basketball cruises to win in Australia

UCLA coach Steve Alford said this year's Bruins don't respond as well to "mental pressure" as last year's team. (David Crane/Staff)

UCLA coach Steve Alford praised his three freshmen after the Bruins blew out Sydney University in their exhibition game Tuesday. (David Crane/Staff)

Freshmen starred for the UCLA men’s basketball team in its 123-76 exhibition blowout victory over Sydney University on Tuesday.

UCLA’s trio of freshmen had 46 combined points with TJ Leaf leading the way with a team-high 21. Ike Anigbogu had 16 and Lonzo Ball had nine. Leaf added nine rebounds and Anigbogu had eight boards. Ball had four assists, two steals and two blocks.

“They were outstanding, all three of them – Ike, Lonzo and TJ,” head coach Steve Alford told UCLABruins.com. “We know what they can do. They came here in their first exhibition game and all three played very well.”

UCLA seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford had 18 and 17 points, respectively.

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UCLA links: Lonzo Ball wants to bring ‘culture of winning to UCLA’

Incoming freshman Lonzo Ball will make an immediate impact on UCLA men's basketball.  (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Incoming freshman Lonzo Ball will make an immediate impact on UCLA men’s basketball. (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Football season is quickly approaching, but there is still some time for college basketball talk.

Here’s an interesting read on the Ball family from Slam Magazine. In it, incoming UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball says of starting his college career: “For me, I’m trying to bring back the culture of winning to UCLA.”

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UCLA signs Lonzo Ball, Ike Anigbogu and Kobe Paras to 2016 class

The UCLA men’s basketball team officially added Lonzo Ball, Ike Anigbogu and Kobe Paras to its 2016 class on Wednesday, securing what should be the Pac-12’s most impressive recruiting haul.

Ball is a five-star point guard who is considered one of the nation’s top 2016 prospects at any position. The 6-foot-5 star from Chino Hills signed and delivered his letter of intent to the Bruins almost two years after he first committed in January 2014.

“Lonzo is a tremendous scorer, passer and defender who has displayed great athleticism, instincts and size,” head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “Our coaching staff is excited to see what he can do in our program, and we know that he’s going to have a special career at UCLA.”

Anigbogu, a four-star center whom Alford said has “an NBA body,” and Paras, a three-star shooting guard, have also sent in their letters of intent.

Those three recruits combine to give UCLA the most highly regarded recruiting class in the conference, one that is ranked fourth in the country by Rivals and sixth by Scout.

The Bruins could also add five-star power forward T.J. Leaf, who will announce his decision on Thursday afternoon on ESPN. He is deciding between UCLA, San Diego State and Oregon.

Updated at 2:39 p.m. to reflect Lonzo Ball’s signing. Updated at 4 p.m. with comments from head coach Steve Alford.

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LaMelo Ball commits to UCLA basketball as a 13 year old

LaMelo Ball has verbally committed to the UCLA men’s basketball team. LaMelo Ball is 5-foot-10 and 13 years old.

In the latest development in the strange world of recruiting, the youngest Ball brother decided on Friday to follow in the footsteps of his two older siblings. Before even playing in his first game for Chino Hills High School, he accepted an offer to become a Bruin.

“It is my dream school,” he told the Los Angeles News Group’s Michelle Gardner. “I decided to get it out of the way now instead of waiting for the future.”

Lonzo Ball is a five-star point guard who is the gem of UCLA’s 2016 class. The middle brother, LiAngelo, announced in April his decision to join the Bruins in 2017.

Assuming his commitment holds, LaMelo Ball will arrive in Westwood in 2019.

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