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.
Since being hired as UCLA basketball’s 13th head coach, Steve Alford has weathered intense criticism concerning his defense of Iowa star Pierre Pierce in 2002.
Then a sophomore for the Hawkeyes, Pierce was faced with third-degree sexual assault charges and suspended from the team. However, Alford repeatedly proclaimed Pierce’s innocence, even doing so less than a week before the point guard pleaded to a reduced misdemeanor.
A University of Iowa report then stated that Alford’s comments “implied that he disbelieved and discredited the claims of the student victim, and his words were perceived as reflecting insensitivity to issues of sexual assault and sexual violence.” Pierce was imprisoned later on separate charges that included assault with intent to commit sex assault.
On Thursday, nine days after he was introduced at Pauley Pavilion, Alford issued an apology through a press release. His statement in full:
Over the past week, questions have arisen about my handling of an incident involving a charge of sexual assault made against a student-athlete in 2002, while I was coach of the University of Iowa men’s basketball team. At that time, I instinctively and mistakenly came to his defense before knowing all the facts. I wanted to believe he was innocent, and in response to a media question, I publicly proclaimed his innocence before the legal system had run its course. This was inappropriate, insensitive and hurtful, especially to the young female victim involved, and I apologize for that. I have learned and grown from that experience and now understand that such proclamations can contribute to an atmosphere in which similar crimes go unreported and victims are not taken seriously. It’s important for me personally and professionally to make sure Chancellor Block, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, all of my student-athletes and the entire UCLA community, including our fans, understand that today I would handle the situation much differently, with the appropriate regard and respect for the investigative process and those impacted by it. I look forward to being a Bruin and leading a program that everyone will take pride in, both on and off the court.
Four-star point guard Rysheed Jordan picked St. John’s this morning, joining former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin in New York City. The Philadelphia product turned down hometown Temple as well as the Bruins.
Ranked No. 29 by Rivals.com and No. 53 by Scout.com, Jordan was the nation’s highest-ranked uncommitted recruit after No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins.
The move leaves UCLA without much depth at the point after the departure of Larry Drew II. Ben Howland had said before his firing that Kyle Anderson would play full-time at the one on offense, but that may change under new coach Steve Alford. Incoming freshman shooting guards Allerick Freeman and Zach LaVine may also slide in for some minutes.
Looks like freshman center Tony Parker wants to stay at UCLA. The big man had been undecided about his future after averaging just 6.3 minutes per game, and was visibly upset after many games as former coach Ben Howland left him strapped to the bench. Still, he enrolled for spring quarter and also made an appearance at Saturday’s spring football practice sporting school gear.
With a tweet Sunday night that said, “UCLA I’m a Bruin,” Parker confirmed that he will stay to play for Steve Alford — who had said that his main priority will be retaining players rather than recruiting. Shooting guard Norman Powell had also considered transferring out until Howland was fired.
Duane Broussard: Broussard, the first to join the new UCLA staff, has on the New Mexico staff even before Steve Alford started there after coaching at Iowa. One of his main responsibilities with the Lobos with advance scouting and game preparation, so his duties under Alford with the Bruins could be similar. Continue reading
On Thursday, UCLA officially announced that it had extended athletic director Dan Guerrero’s contract for six years and nine months. Here is a summary of the main financial terms from the new agreement, which starts retroactively on April 1 and ends on Dec. 31, 2019. Continue reading
UCLA announced Thursday that it has extended athletic director Dan Guerrero’s contract through 2019.
The Bruins have won 22 NCAA national championships since Guerrero was appointed in 2002, guiding the program to what chancellor Gene Block said is a “national example of how intercollegiate athletics serve and further the mission of higher education.”
The new contract is retroactive to April 1, and will replace the one that expired on March 31. Guerrero has a rolling five-year clause that would have taken effect had there not been an extension. As the the Daily Bruin first reported, Guerrero will be paid $734,774 with an annual 5 percent increase.
His new term of appointment will end on Dec. 31, 2019.
Prior to the extension, Guerrero was already the highest-paid athletic director at a Pac-12 public school with $715,211 in guaranteed salary.
The school said in a press release that no tuition or state funds were used in his compensation, which comes from athletic department revenues and private fundraising. Continue reading
UCLA coach Steve Alford got a hug from Shaq on Tuesday, but got some far less welcoming news a day later.
New Mexico, his employer of the past six years, wants its full $1 million buyout before the end of the month. Alford had blindsided the school, taking a job with the Bruins just 10 days after the announcement of a 10-year extension with the Lobos.
According to documents obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, the school’s legal counsel is arguing that Alford’s original contract — signed in 2007 — required that he give 30 days notice before leaving for another job. Therefore, the school considers his last day to be April 29, and is demanding full payment by the same date. Continue reading
Steve Alford said during his introductory press conference Tuesday that his UCLA staff would be filled within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Former New Mexico assistant Duane Broussard, whom Alford officially announced while giving his opening statement at Pauley Pavilion, was the first name. According to the Indianapolis Star, former Wright State head coach Ed Schilling is the next, leaving one more open Bruins assistant spot.
“I wasn’t really looking to get back into college coaching,” Schilling told the Star. “I was content with what I was doing. But to be able to coach with one of my best friends and to do it at UCLA was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Continue reading