Thursday could mark a new milestone for UCLA basketball.
Guards Zach LaVine, Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams each have a chance to go in the first round — setting up what could be the program’s largest draft class in more than three decades.
The last time three Bruins were taken in the first round was 1979, when David Greenwood, Roy Hamilton and Brad Holland went second, tenth and 14th, respectively. UCLA came close to matching that in 2008; Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love went off the board at fourth and fifth on their way to All-NBA resumes, but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute slipped into the second round at 37th overall.
UCLA will get the last crack at convincing an experienced point guard to come to Los Angeles.
Colorado State’s outgoing graduate transfer Jon Octeus has narrowed down his choices to the Bruins along with Missouri and Cincinnati, and will visit UCLA on either June 26 or 27 according to The Coloradoan. He is currently finishing up a two-day visit to the Tigers and will see the Bearcats over the weekend.
Octeus announced his intent to transfer out of Colorado State on Monday. The Miami-area native will be immediately eligible upon obtaining his undergraduate degree next month. Continue reading →
Since helping UCLA to three straight Final Fours, Darren Collison has embarked on what is turning into a bit of a journeyman’s career. He’s played for four teams in five seasons, and transitioned from being a starter in Indiana to a capable backup in Dallas and Los Angeles.
But even though he’ll be a free agent again this summer — opting out of $1.9 million — he insists he wants to stay in his hometown.
Collison talked a bit this week about his first season with the Clippers, the current state of UCLA basketball, as well as his basketball camp for middle schoolers starting June 23.
How did your first season with the Clippers go?
I think as far as the team, we expected to go deeper. We expected to win it all. That didn’t quite go well. It’s stuck with us even now. I think it’s going to be a motivating factor even now. we understood the road that we came from. we felt like we were right there.
My intention is to stick with the Clippers. They’re a good team. Good teams like San Antonio and Miami have stuck with the same core. I’d love to stay for three to four years, but there has to be a mutual agreement.
How does this summer of free agency for you compare to last year’s?
Last year, it was just putting myself in a position where I could find myself again as a player mentally. I’ve been through a lot. The previous season with Dallas, I still had a good season, but mentally I just felt like I needed to be a part of a team that was going to try to win it all. That was my intention. To try and be a part of a team that was going to win a championship.
This year, it’s pretty much the same thing. It’s just my value went up. I understand that. But I don’t want it to affect my decision with the Clippers. Continue reading →
For taking UCLA to its first Sweet Sixteen in six years, Steve Alford’s debut in Los Angeles earned him a spot as one of college basketball’s top-50 coaches.
No. 36 isn’t a lofty spot for someone at the helm of one of the sport’s most recognizable programs, but Alford also benefited in inheriting a unique college star in All-American point guard Kyle Anderson, as well as a capable scorer in Jordan Adams.
But nevertheless turned around a team that was embarrassed in the first round a year ago, and successfully implemented an up-tempo style that wasn’t apparent in his years at New Mexico.
UCLA radio announcer Chris Roberts will retire after the 2014-15 season, ending a tenure that has spanned over two decades.
Having served as the school’s radio voice for football and basketball since 1992, Roberts will leave as the program’s longest-serving play-by-play announcer — tying the late Fred Hessler. Also presence on Los Angeles radio since 1982, Roberts has won the Golden Mike Award four times and joined the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2012.
He will be honored at both the Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion during his final run, and will retire with lifetime football and basketball season tickets.
“I cannot put into words what it has meant to be the ‘Voice of UCLA’ for all these years,” Roberts said in a statement. “The Bruins have played a major role in my life for the past two-plus decades and hopefully my broadcasts have reflected this. Our athletes, coaches and administrators here in Westwood are first-class, and it has been an absolute delight providing the soundtrack for some of their greatest accomplishments.
“All athletes would love the chance to go out on top, and with both UCLA Football and Basketball poised to do great things in 2014-15, as a broadcaster, I am in the envious position of actually having that very opportunity.”
The new building will be located near the Bruins’ home court of Pauley Pavilion, immediately south of the Los Angeles Tennis Center and west of the planned $50 million football facility. The school said private donations will fund the project — which will house practice gyms for both men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well locker rooms and a training area. Continue reading →
To understand just how well Zach LaVine did at this week’s NBA Draft Combine, take a look at these numbers: first, second, eighth, fourth, third.
That’s what he placed in strength and agility drills among 59 participants, doing so with — respectively — a 10.42-second lane agility drill, a 2.8-second shuttle run, a 3.19-second three-quarter sprint, a 33.5-inch standing vertical, and a 41.5-inch max vertical. No one else placed top-10 in all five.
The NBA combine doesn’t usually move draft stock as much as the NFL’s does, so top prospects often sit out of drills. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid all sat out completely this year, not even traveling to Chicago for interviews and measurements.
That said, this is exactly the type of environment LaVine was going to use to his advantage. Continue reading →
Both UCLA football and men’s basketball teams have earned their highest academic progress rates in a decade.
The former scored a four-year APR of 979 for the 2012-13 academic year, second in the Pac-12 behind Stanford. The program’s multi-year score has improved each year since it recorded a 915 in 2004-05.
Basketball was seventh in the conference at 969 — a significant improvement from the 951, 942 and 948 it scored in the three prior academic years.
Head coach Jim Mora earned a $50,000 bonus for having the football team reach an APR of at least 930, and a graduation success rate of more than 56 percent. Steve Alford earned a $10,000 bonus for having the men’s basketball team clear an APR of 925.
To compete in the NCAA postseason, teams must have a minimum four-year APR of 900 or a two-year average of 930. Starting in 2014-15, that bar rises to 930 and 940.
The five UCLA teams that earned perfect single-year APR scores of 1,000 were baseball, women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, women’s water polo and women’s golf — which also scored perfectly on its four-year average. Continue reading →
UCLA officially announced the dates of its upcoming home-and-home basketball series against Gonzaga.
The Bruins will host the Bulldogs at Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 13, 2014 — part of head coach Steve Alford’s efforts to beef up the team’s nonconference slate. UCLA will visit Spokane on Dec. 12, 2015, though that game could be moved to another December date.