You are an NBA scout, or if you’ve worked your way up, even an executive. You’ve circled Jan. 9 on your calendar, carving out a spot on your busy schedule to watch UCLA host No. 1 Arizona. You’re excited about this one, and you’re right to be. Awaiting you is the best atmosphere Pauley Pavilion has seen in years, as well as a sick, one-handed reverse alley-oop by lottery prospect Aaron Gordon.
But you try and roll into Westwood about — oh, an hour or so before tipoff. After spending half that time stuck in the long line of traffic leading into Lot 8, another realization: There are 44 others who requested (and were granted) scouting credentials to this game. You get seated far above your usual accommodations, much too distant to hear any on-court expletives or see any beads of sweat.
And so, you start complaining to the media.
Here it goes …
Plenty of grumbling from NBA execs from UCLA-Arizona last night about how poorly they were treated. "I'll never go back to Pauley" one says.
Pauley Pavilion did its best Superdome impression Monday night during the first-ever L.A. Tennis Challenge. As Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras teamed up against the Bryan brothers for a doubles exhibition match — one guest-judged by actor Rainn Wilson — the main lights cut out and forced an early tiebreaker set. It would take 15 minutes for the lights to return, so Wilson asked the crowd of 8,500 to use their phones to help out.
Q: Larry Scott has been very active since becoming commissioner, expanding the conference from ten to twelve, creating the Pac-12 Networks, and bringing a tremendous amount of new revenue to each member school. Any idea that the next big thing from Scott will be?
A: Most pressing is getting a DirecTV deal nailed down, but that’s not exactly a “big thing” so much as a necessary one. Scott has said consistently over the past few months that the conference isn’t looking to expand, so the Pac-12 probably won’t be leading the country into an era of 16-team superconferences. What he might look to do next is push for some significant reform in the NCAA, especially as the institution’s enforcement policies look more and more like a joke. Scott has been candid about the need for change in the past, something he reaffirmed again on Saturday.
Q: What is the latest news on RB Craig Lee commitment status? Also, we heard of the great recruiting class UCLA had this year but did not hear of any high school seniors that flipped their commitment. Were there any? Continue reading →
If you weren’t allowed into Pauley Pavilion last night, here are some shots from the festivities.
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You can see Shabazz Muhammad dunking just after the 2:00 mark. Ben Howland said Muhammad’s shoulder is still sore, but the freshman didn’t look banged up during warm-ups. Center Josh Smith said afterward that the team is preparing to open the season with the assumption that their star freshman won’t be available.
Belated, but here’s a look at the unveiling of the Wooden statue if you didn’t make it out Friday afternoon. Skip to the 4:00 mark if you want to skip Dan Guerrero’s comments and get right to the curtain pull.
On Tuesday, the media went on a tour of Pauley Pavilion but weren’t allowed to release anything until tonight. Here are some quick shots I took on the walkthrough. For all those interested, John Wooden’s eight-foot statue will be unveiled … Continue reading →