UCLA’s preseason schedule continues to fill up, with the latest development being a home-and-home series with Alabama (per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein). The Crimson Tide, who finished 23-13 last season and lost to Maryland in the NIT quarterfinals, will play at Pauley Pavilion this upcoming fall.
It’s no Space Jam, but last night’s Spring Sing intro video pitted four members of the UCLA men’s basketball team against the Company. My vote for best scene starts at 3:23.
One of the first questions asked of Shabazz Muhammad at the NBA draft combine this week was, unsurprisingly, about his age. The former No. 1 recruit’s one-and-done season at UCLA had begun with a suspension and ended with a bizarre report that his father, Ron Holmes, made his son one year younger.
After confirming again that he is 20 years old, Muhammad hinted that the blame lay solely with his father.
“I’m gonna talk for myself now,” he said. “I was a guy who used to just play basketball and let some of my guys talk for me, family members. Right now, I’m more mature as a person.”
Muhammad may also be the only lottery pick who is participating in the NBA draft combine workouts. Top prospects typically opt out since they don’t have much to gain, and arrive instead for interviews. The reigning Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year said he chose to participate because he always wants to complete. “I’m not running from anybody,” he told ESPN’s Andy Katz. Continue reading
Over a month after his sudden departure from Albuquerque, Steve Alford has agreed to a buyout with the University of New Mexico.
The UCLA basketball coach will pay a $300,000 buyout, according to a statement from the Bruins. UNM officials announced Friday afternoon that Alford’s buyout will produce a “net benefit” of $625,000, but UCLA stated that the rest of that sum will come from bonuses the coach had previously given up when he terminated his contract with the Lobos. A buyout agreement has not yet been signed.
Alford took the UCLA job on March 30, just ten days after agreeing to a 10-year extension with New Mexico. After the 48-year-old signed a seven-year, $18.2-million deal with the Bruins, New Mexico said that Alford owed the $1 million buyout stipulated in their new agreement.
The coach instead offered $200,000, the buyout indicated on his prior contract. He had never signed a finalized contract — only a term sheet contingent on one — but the Lobos argued that since Alford had not given proper 30-day notice, the new one still took effect on April 1.
Before he lost his job, Ben Howland said Kyle Anderson would become a full-time point guard — at least on offense.
Over a month after UCLA made its coaching change, that’s no longer the case. Filling in the void left by Larry Drew II is still paramount, but the Bruins may help themselves more by utilizing the multi-talented Anderson all over the court.
“We’ve got to figure out what’s going to be best for the Kyle,” head coach Steve Alford said. “We’ve got to keep all that open as far as how many different ways we can play him.” Continue reading
Fans who enjoyed Vegas during the Pac-12 Tournament won’t have to wait until March to visit again.
UCLA officially announced today that it will play in the 13th annual Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 28 and 29. The Orleans Arena will host the Bruins, Nevada, Northwestern and Missouri. UCLA also has a nonconference game scheduled against the Tigers.
The regional round will take place the weekend prior, with UCLA hosting two teams. Those matchups will be against Chattanooga, IUPUI, Morehead State or Gardner-Webb.
A pair of former Bruins found new homes today.
Most notable in the Pac-12 landscape is Mike Moser, who reportedly committed to Oregon as a graduate transfer out of UNLV. The 6-foot-8 forward played less than five minutes per game at UCLA in 2009-10 before heading to Las Vegas. With the Runnin’ Rebels, he averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds as a sophomore before a disappointing junior year — one that saw his minutes reduced due to both injury and the role of star freshman Anthony Bennett.
Moser will graduate from UNLV and play immediately for the Ducks, who lost three seniors from their Pac-12 tournament-winning squad. He also considered Gonzaga and Washington.
Freshman guard Allerik Freeman, who signed a national letter of intent with UCLA in November, is heading to Baylor after being released from his commitment two weeks ago. Freeman was the highest-ranked uncommitted recruit after No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins.
Here is UCLA head coach Steve Alford’s official statement on the release of Allerik Freeman, who decommitted from the Bruins on Tuesday:
Allerik is a fine young man with a tremendous future ahead of him. My coaching staff and I are supportive of his decision, and we feel that a mutual parting of ways is the best solution. I wish Allerik nothing but the best as he begins his collegiate career next fall.
More than three weeks after the hiring of new head coach Steve Alford, four-star shooting guard Allerik Freeman has decided to re-open recruiting.
Freeman signed a letter of intent during the early recruiting period, but will be granted a release since UCLA went through a coaching change. ESPN’s Dave Telep first reported the news.
The 6-foot-4 Findlay Prep product is rated as Scout.com’s 15th-best shooting guard, but may have seen minutes at the one spot after the departure of senior Larry Drew II. The Bruins’ remaining guard rotation now consists of returners Jordan Adams and Norman Powell, as well as incoming freshmen Zach LaVine and Bryce Alford — none of whom are true point guards. Point forward Kyle Anderson might slide in as well.
Freeman, ranked 62nd in the country by Scout.com and 81st by Rivals.com, is now the country’s top uncommitted recruit after No. 1 Andrew Wiggins. UCLA will likely look to the junior colleges or other transfers for potential replacements.
In perhaps the least surprising announcement of 2013, UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad officially declared for the NBA Draft today.
“I am so thankful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at UCLA and will always be proud to be a Bruin,” Muhammad said in a statement through the school. “From a young age, I have dreamed of playing in the NBA, and I believe that this is the right time for me to move to the next level.”
The announcement comes more than a month after former head coach Ben Howland said that he fully expected the freshman, once ranked the No. 1 recruit in the country, to go pro after one season.
“That was his last game at Pauley Pavilion, no doubt about it,” he said March 2 after a 74-69 win over Arizona. Howland was fired on March 24.
Muhammad is projected to go in the top 10 of the June 27 draft, signaling the end of a scrutinized one-and-done campaign that began with a three-game NCAA suspension. Throughout the winter, the Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year was also criticized for everything from wearing a Gucci backpack to not celebrating teammate Larry Drew II’s game-winner against Washington.
Nonetheless, he led the team with 17.9 points per game and helped the Bruins (25-10) to a Pac-12 regular-season title. UCLA lost to Oregon in the conference tournament final, and then to Minnesota in the NCAA tournament’s round of 64.