New Pac-12 reforms include guaranteed four-year scholarships

The Pac-12 has adopted “sweeping reforms” geared toward improving the welfare of its athletes, the conference announced Monday.

The biggest news is that the league will now guarantee four-year scholarships for all athletes regardless of sport effective in 2015-16 — a change that will dramatically affect how much room for error teams have in each recruiting class. While many players often have their scholarships renewed year to year as a mere formality, a blanket rule covering everyone on the roster makes it trickier for coaches to push out athletes for one reason or another.

According to a CBS Sports report last month, UCLA only gave out three guaranteed multi-year scholarships across all sports in 2013-14.

See the full set of reforms below, per the Pac-12′s press release: Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

UCLA vs. Georgia: Quick Look

The No. 11 Bruins’ loss to Georgetown last night exposed many of this team’s flaws: Ben Howland has difficulty making in-game adjustments, the offense still isn’t meshing, and UCLA has no inside game to speak of. Georgetown will likely be a ranked team depending on how it does against No. 1 Indiana tonight, but the Hoyas — even with the duo of Otto Porter and Markel Starks — aren’t more talented than UCLA.

Shabazz Muhammad’s quote from last night about missing out sums up this team right now: “”It doesn’t feel good inside. I really wanted a shot at them. We’re really not ready yet.”

Is it time for fans to panic? Not quite, UCLA certainly doesn’t look like a Final Four contender. Some thoughts heading into tonight’s tipoff against Georgia, another unranked team.

Must-win? Yes. The Bulldogs kept pace with the Hoosiers for a most of the game, but they’re still a 1-3 team. Georgia has just one player — sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, an All-SEC freshman last year — averaging double-digit scoring, and they’re shooting just 36.3 percent from the field while allowing 43.4. Here’s guessing Jordan Adams goes for another 20 tonight.

Inside game: UCLA really doesn’t have much. John Thompson III talked up what a big team the Bruins were after last night’s game, but the Wears hardly ever play in the low post and Josh Smith still doesn’t stay on the court for long stretches. David Wear is out tonight with a back injury and Tony Parker sat out last night with back spasms, which reduces the low-post troops even further. The Bruins had success late in the game when they pushed a full-court offense more. Not sure if Howland plans to do that more against Georgia, but with the players he has, he probably should.

Freshman duo: Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson were the supposed to be program saviors this year. Tonight’s a chance to prove it. Neither is playing at 100 percent right now, what with Anderson’s bone contusion and Muhammad not being in full game shape, but they’ll both be in the starting lineup for the first time this season. That bodes well for offensive chemistry. By his own admittance, Anderson hasn’t played well recently and looks particularly out of place on defense. Still, he has preternatural passing instincts, and having him dish to Shabazz early could get the offense rolling.

(Not a major concern for the college game, but I have no idea what Anderson will do at the next level. He already can’t defend point guards, and doesn’t have the offensive skill to play forward.)

On a side note, Kyle Anderson’s father doesn’t think much of how Howland handles his son. Not a particularly volatile situation at this point, but Anderson going scoreless against Georgetown probably didn’t help the situation.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Shabazz Muhammad to start against Georgia

Shabazz Muhammad is in line for his first start this season against the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can catch the game on ESPNU. The freshman will slot in for David Wear, who exited last night’s 78-70 loss to Georgia after landed hard on his back after a mid-air collision midway through the second half.

Assuming no more changes between now and tipoff, the starting lineup is now Travis Wear, Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Norman Powell and Larry Drew II. It’s an unorthodox set, but getting Muhammad more time may help him assert himself better early. He was just 2 of 6 for 4 points in the first half, finishing the game with 15 points

“I think at the end, we felt a little bit more comfortable with each other,” Muhammad said last night. “I’m just trying to get out here and really gel with my teammates for the first time. Just trying to get used to the system.”

Tony Parker sat out last night with back spasms, and Tyler Lamb is still recovering from swelling in his left knee after arthroscopic surgery.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Muhammad’s shoulder ‘day to day’

Here’s a season preview for UCLA basketball that ran in Wednesday’s paper. Of note, Ben Howland said Tuesday that Shabazz Muhammad is “day to day” with his shoulder strain and could be physically ready to play by Friday. During Pauley Madness last week, the freshman swingman threw down a few windmill dunks that were encouraging signs of his health.

His eligibility, however, has still not been cleared by the NCAA; the team continues to play the waiting game, but Muhammad’s 45-day window of practice allowance will expire sometime in the next two weeks or so. Howland’s projected starting lineup for Friday’s 8 p.m. game against Indiana State is currently as follows: the Wear twins, Kyle Anderson, Norman Powell, Larry Drew II.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Pac-12 Media Day streaming 10 a.m.

The Pac-12 is live-streaming its men’s basketball media day from San Francisco starting at 10 a.m. Ben Howland and David Wear are scheduled to go on at 11:35 a.m.

UCLA barely missed out on the top spot in the conference preseason media poll. The Bruins received 16 votes to Arizona’s 15, but the Wildcats had 403 points overall, edging UCLA by one.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

NCAA clears Kyle Anderson to play

Kyle Anderson, one of the two gems in UCLA’s freshman class, has been cleared to play by the NCAA. He had been under investigation for a relationship between his father and NBA agent Thad Foucher.

From teammate and fellow freshman Jordan Adams:

Statement from athletic director Dan Guerrero: “UCLA was informed by the NCAA earlier today that freshman guard Kyle Anderson is eligible to play this season, and that the NCAA has found no evidence to substantiate claims of violations in his case. I am grateful to all those who were involved in the process. We are looking forward to opening our season on November 9 against Indiana State at New Pauley Pavilion.”

No movement yet on the eligibility of Shabazz Muhammad, who of course would miss the season opener regardless with a shoulder strain.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email