Where will UCLA’s Kevon Looney be picked in the NBA draft?

Kevon Looney is among the 19 players who accepted invites to Thursday’s NBA draft. How long will his green-room wait last?

Once considered a near-certain lottery pick, many mock drafts have since dropped the former UCLA forward to borderline top-20 status.

Pac-12 Networks analyst Don MacLean, a former Bruin, isn’t among the detractors.

“Ten years from now, I think Kevon Looney may be the best player from this year’s draft coming out of the Pac-12,” MacLean said. “I really like him. You just don’t see guys with the length, the rebounding, the instincts. … The way he was used at UCLA, you didn’t see the entire package.”

MacLean’s projection is optimistic, but not all that outlandish. After all, the only other Pac-12 product with lottery potential is Arizona’s Stanley Johnson — a strong defender who likely won’t turn into an elite scorer.

But many questions surround Looney’s draft stock as well, some of them not helped by the Bruins’ game plan. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: A Pac-12 team could play Baylor in Australia in 2016

» Baylor is in talks to open the 2016 season in Australia, and would likely face a Pac-12 opponent.

» Less than two years after leaving Arizona State, Texas athletic director Steve Patterson has already made enemies in Austin.

» Former Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is sponsoring a bus to take 40 kids from his hometown to next week’s NBA Draft.

» Kyle Anderson is holding a basketball clinic this Saturday in memory of a childhood friend who committed suicide. Continue reading

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UCLA center Thomas Welsh makes final USA Basketball U19 roster

UCLA center Thomas Welsh will wear red, white and blue this summer.

The soon-to-be sophomore made the final cut for USA Basketball’s U19 team on Wednesday, becoming one of 12 players who will represent the United States at the FIBA World Championship later this month. He is one of two centers to make the team, the other being Purdue’s five-star signee Caleb Swanigan.

Competition will be held June 27 to July 5 in Heraklion, on the Greek island of Crete. The medal-round quarterfinals are on July 3, with the semifinals and finals taking place the following two days. Continue reading

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UCLA has weekly windows set for 2015-16 Pac-12 schedule

The upcoming UCLA men’s basketball schedule is almost finalized.

A few hours after the Bruins announced their 2015-16 nonconference slate, the Pac-12 released weekly windows for conference play. UCLA will play two regular-season games against Arizona for the first time since 2013, hosting the Wildcats in January and traveling to Tucson in February.

Absent from the schedule are home games against Cal and Stanford, as well as trips to Utah and Colorado. UCLA will head to the Bay Area in the last week of February, and will host the Utes and the Buffaloes the week prior.

The Bruins’ Pac-12 slate will begin with a trip to Washington and Washington State the week of Dec. 30 to Jan. 3.

Here is the rough outline for UCLA’s conference schedule: Continue reading

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UCLA center Tony Parker could see minutes at power forward

UCLA center Tony Parker backs down Long Beach State's Eric McKnight (12) during the Bruins' 77-63 win on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

UCLA center Tony Parker backs down Long Beach State’s Eric McKnight (12) during the Bruins’ 77-63 win on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

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

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