With UCLA men’s basketball set to tip off its season against Monmouth tonight at 8 p.m., here’s a look at the Bruins’ roster.
UCLA men’s basketball landed a commitment from five-star power forward T.J. Leaf on Thursday, adding yet another top recruit to should be a top-five class.
“It just felt like home,” Leaf said on the ESPNU broadcast, pulling out a Bruin hat and shoe as he made his announcement.
The Foothills Christian and Compton Magic product is ranked one as the No. 15 prospect in 2016, and boasts a 6-foot-10, 205-pound frame that should fill out even more by the time he arrives on campus. Leaf originally committed to Arizona, but changed his mind and reopened his recruiting process in August.
The Bruins had offered Leaf a scholarship back in the summer of 2013.
“We connect really well,” Leaf said of UCLA coach Steve Alford. “I think we have really similar personalities. I just think he’s got a great basketball mind.”
UCLA has already signed a five-star point guard in Lonzo Ball to its 2016 class, as well as four-star center Ike Anigbogu and three-star wing Kobe Paras.
The UCLA men’s basketball team officially added Lonzo Ball, Ike Anigbogu and Kobe Paras to its 2016 class on Wednesday, securing what should be the Pac-12’s most impressive recruiting haul.
Ball is a five-star point guard who is considered one of the nation’s top 2016 prospects at any position. The 6-foot-5 star from Chino Hills signed and delivered his letter of intent to the Bruins almost two years after he first committed in January 2014.
“Lonzo is a tremendous scorer, passer and defender who has displayed great athleticism, instincts and size,” head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “Our coaching staff is excited to see what he can do in our program, and we know that he’s going to have a special career at UCLA.”
Anigbogu, a four-star center whom Alford said has “an NBA body,” and Paras, a three-star shooting guard, have also sent in their letters of intent.
— Centennial Hoops (@Cen10Hoops) November 11, 2015
The Bruins could also add five-star power forward T.J. Leaf, who will announce his decision on Thursday afternoon on ESPN. He is deciding between UCLA, San Diego State and Oregon.
Updated at 2:39 p.m. to reflect Lonzo Ball’s signing. Updated at 4 p.m. with comments from head coach Steve Alford.
Q: If UCLA wins out, and then beats Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game, do you think UCLA can get an invite to the playoffs?
A: Doubtful, but I wouldn’t rule it out if chaos breaks out across the rest of the country. Even Stanford will likely need to run the table to make the four-team field, with a win over Notre Dame sure to vault the Cardinal up from its current No. 11 spot. The fact that Pat Haden removed himself from the playoff committee means one fewer West Coast presence to lobby for a two-loss Pac-12 champion. UCLA has displayed its flaws this season, and if it can win the league even with that banged-up defense, too many committee members could discount the strength of the conference entirely.
Q: Why is it that year after year, Jim Mora always seems to be in the rumor mill as a candidate to take an NFL job? Even when Mora always says he doesn’t plan on going anywhere, there goes his name being linked with every available job.
A: He was in the NFL for so long, and is still happy to expound on the goings-on in the league fairly regularly. Throw in the fact that he’s never lasted long as a head coach anywhere before, and no amount of public denials can fully tamp down speculation.
Q: Do you think UCLA as a program has hit a ceiling? As a lifelong Bruin fan I hope not but it just feels like we can’t seem to show the consistency the big time programs show year after year.
A: I don’t think UCLA has hit a ceiling as a program. This is still a school with a strong athletic tradition and the advantage of being in Los Angeles. There’s potential for a national championship, or at least for regular conference titles. Has it hit a ceiling under Jim Mora? I’m not sure. Continue reading
Former UCLA guard Darrick Martin will work as the Bruins’ new basketball radio analyst, replacing one-time Tracy Murray.
Murray, who had occupied the role for seven years, was hired earlier this month by the Los Angeles Lakers as a shooting coach. He and Martin both played together for the Bruins from 1990-92, and spent more than a decade as NBA journeymen — the former joining the league as the No. 18 overall pick in 1992, and the latter signing on as a free agent three years later.
“I’m incredibly grateful and excited to be able to return home and work alongside Bill Roth in this new role,” Martin said in a statement. “No place is more special to me than UCLA. I’m honored to represent my alma mater in this capacity and get back inside iconic Pauley Pavilion.”
Roth is currently in his first football season as the Bruins’ play-by-play announcer, replacing the recently retired Chris Roberts.
UCLA will host an exhibition game against Cal State Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and will begin its regular season at Pauley Pavilion against Monmouth on Nov. 13.