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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UCLA basketball finalizes 2015-16 nonconference schedule

UCLA men’s basketball released its upcoming nonconference schedule today, and the spot to mark in your calendar is Dec. 3.

That’s when the Bruins will host Kentucky, facing a team that dismantled them in an 83-44 blowout last December in Chicago — one that the Wildcats opened with a 24-0 run. UK will almost certainly enter Pauley Pavilion as the favorite, but this is also a team that lost seven players from its Final Four squad.

As has become customary under head coach Steve Alford — who is heading into his third season — UCLA has a loaded nonconference slate that also includes a visit to Gonzaga on Dec. 12, and a game against North Carolina on Dec. 19 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Both teams beat the Bruins by double-digits last winter. The Bulldogs also ended UCLA’s season with a 74-62 win in the Sweet 16.

“I’ve maintained all along that we want to upgrade our program’s schedule in hopes of playing tough and exciting marquee games,” Alford said in a statement, “and I’d say we’ve moved even further in that direction this year. … This non-conference schedule figures to be one of the strongest in the nation, and I know our players can’t wait to take on this challenge.”

The Bruins could also play Kansas and Indiana in November’s Maui Invitational, a tournament that also includes St. John’s, UNLV and Wake Forest.

UCLA’s first competition will come in an exhibition game against Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 30, and it will officially open its season against Monmouth on Nov. 13.

See the full nonconference schedule below: Continue reading

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