UCLA’s Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Tony Parker talked about the start of the 2015-16 season, and what they’ve focused on improving during their offseason.
In his final season at UCLA, Tony Parker could be playing a new role.
Through 104 games — including 42 starts — the 6-foot-9 big man has primarily served as a true center, a rarity as stretch forwards continue to proliferate in basketball. As a senior in 2015-16, he could be playing stretches as a power forward.
“Probably so,” Parker said. “It’s one thing coach (Steve) Alford wants me to do, so I’ll do it.”
Moving the Atlanta-area native to the four would allow the Bruins to give more minutes to soon-to-be sophomore Thomas Welsh, a promising 7-footer who recently received an invite to the USA Basketball U19 training camp. Continue reading
UCLA men’s basketball held its year-end banquet last night. Here’s the list of awards the team handed out.
Norman Powell, Sr., G, 6-4, 215
John Wooden Award (most valuable player)
Kevon Looney, Fr., F, 6-9, 220
Seymour Armond Memorial Award (most valuable freshman)
Gerald A. Finerman Award (rebounding leader)
Tony Parker, Jr., F/C, 6-9, 260
Player Improvement Award Continue reading
No. 11-seed UCLA (22-13) vs. No. 2-seed Gonzaga (34-2)
NCAA South Regional semifinal
Friday, 4:15 p.m. PT, NRG Stadium (Houston)
TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
Scouting report: Gonzaga is, simply put, the best offensive team that UCLA has played this season. The Bulldogs have enough weapons to survive an off night from any one player except Kyle Wiltjer.
Gonzaga is ranked first in the country in effective field goal percentage, and is accurate at the rim, beyond the arc, and most areas in between. Only 6.2 percent of the Zags’ shots get blocked, lower than all but four others in college basketball. Parts you could pick at? This isn’t a team that gets to the line all that often, or converts at a particularly high rate (68.7 percent). It’s not a truly dominant offensive rebounding team.
But overall, this is a very dangerous scoring roster. That offensive engine helped push head coach Mark Few over his recent round-of-32 hump, where Gonzaga ended its past five seasons.
UCLA didn’t get blown out in its only loss at Pauley Pavilion, but it also didn’t look competitive for most of the second half. The Zags led by double digits for almost that entire stretch, and easily snuffed out the one run the Bruins made shortly out of halftime. Still, this is a very different UCLA team than the one that lost five straight starting in December. Continue reading
UCLA arrived in Houston last night, and shot around for about an hour or so this morning at NRG Stadium. Formerly known as Reliant Stadium, the football venue can seat up to 80,000 people — absolutely dwarfing any other place the Bruins have played this season.
Will that set-up affect how players shoot?
“You get to go out there and you see how big the stadium is,” said point guard Bryce Alford. “The scoreboard is huge. The court is elevated. All that stuff. It’s what you dream of when you’re a kid, playing in a venue like this. …
“You got to get used to the shooting. It’s definitely different, but they’ve done a great job of making the background darker. There’s black (canvas) behind both hoops. So, I don’t think it will be too much different than shooting in a normal gym.”
In case you missed anything, here’s a roundup of our UCLA-Gonzaga coverage so far this week: Continue reading