Under Steve Alford, UCLA point forward Kyle Anderson said his ballhandling duties have increased “90 percent.”
On Tuesday, he was named to the 46-man watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, given each year to the top point guard in college basketball. Anderson averaged 9.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a freshman, and was the only Pac-12 player to rank top-10 in both the latter two categories. Continue reading →
– Steve Alford said UCLA has been doing a lot of work using 15- and 20-second shot clocks, and is ahead of where they should be on offense — albeit turning the ball over too often. However, the team is behind defensively, especially on the backboard.
“Our two best rebounders have probably been Kyle (Anderson) and Tony (Parker),” Alford said, adding that the team has been much better on the offensive glass.
The Bruins were last in the Pac-12 last year with a -1.6 rebounding margin.
– Five-star power forward Kevon Looney was on campus for the last of his five official visits. He will announce his decision on Oct. 31, with Duke being the favorite. Continue reading →
Last week, Andy Enfield’s in-practice comments on UCLA’s “slow” play picked up steam in the national media. Naturally, it was the first question asked of him at Thursday’s Pac-12 Media Day.
He and UCLA coach Steve Alford both insisted that there was no bad blood between them, mentioning how much respect they had for one another. Alford offered similar thoughts again on Monday before the Bruins’ afternoon practice.
But when asked if he has a better grasp on the city’s rivalry, he pointed something else out.
“It’s hard to say. I know that there’s a rivalry,” Alford said. “Obviously, you’ve got two Pac-12 schools that are in the same town. You understand that. Do I understand there’s still a big difference in the basketball side of it? Yeah, I think there’s still a big difference there.” Continue reading →
In his first media appearance in UCLA colors, forward Wanaah Bail declined to talk about his reasons for leaving Texas Tech. The 6-foot-9 forward, still recovering from knee surgery, originally signed with Texas Tech in 2012 but left the school that summer.
He signed with the Bruins in June, and was cleared last week by the NCAA to play this season.
“I’m happy to be here,” Bail said. “I’ve got a great group of guys around me. I love the coaching staff. Let’s move forward.”
Work on handle a lot more and his shot. Feels comfortable shooting anywhere inside 20 feet. He said his knee feels good, but he is not certain when he will be cleared to practice.
The Bruins have a new dunk champion. Last year, Norman Powell had clearly staked that title. Now, he’s been dethroned by true freshman Zach LaVine.
“The way he dunks the ball, no question,” sophomore Kyle Anderson said. “I wouldn’t put anybody in the conference up with him.”
According to Anderson, Powell may still be slightly better at finishing a stiffly contested dunk. When it comes to freestyling, however, LaVine has the edge.
UCLA’s point forward recalled a scrimmage at Pauley Pavilion over the summer. While sitting behind the basket, he watched LaVine turn rise up from outside the circle on a fast break, dunking under a defender before coming back up and finishing.
“It was one of the best dunks I’ve ever seen,” Anderson said.
Say this for Andy Enfield: he knows how to make headlines. The USC coach first came to national prominence while guiding Florida Gulf Coast to a thrilling, dunk-filled run to the Sweet Sixteen.
Now in Los Angeles, he’s trying to build up a long-struggling Trojans program while seizing attention away from UCLA — a traditional basketball power trying to find its own way under new coach Steve Alford.
According to the San Jose Mercury-News, Enfield stopped a recent USC scrimmage and told his players they weren’t executing his “Dunk City” offense the way he wanted.
“We play up-tempo basketball here,” he said. “If you want to play slow, go to UCLA.” Continue reading →
For the second straight year, UCLA was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 preseason behind Arizona.
The gap between them, though, was a little larger. A few months before winning the conference, the Bruins finished just one point behind the Wildcats in the poll, and actually edged them with 16 first-place votes to 15. This year, Arizona took 21 first-place votes to UCLA’s one.
The media have correctly selected the winner 12 times in 21 tries.
Colorado also received a first-place vote. USC was picked to finish 11th in its first season under head coach Andy Enfield.
UCLA’s thin frontcourt received the big boost Tuesday afternoon.
The NCAA cleared freshman forward Wanaah Bail to play the 2013-14 season, clearing up a summer of doubt surrounding the former Texas Tech signee’s eligibility. The former three-star recruit adds depth to the Bruins three weeks away from the team’s Nov. 8 season opener against Drexel.
“We are grateful that this matter has come to a conclusion and are very happy for Wanaah,” head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. Continue reading →
UCLA will host an open practice for fans at Pauley Pavilion on Oct. 20, running from 3:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Head coach Steve Alford and players will meet with fans afterward for approximately 15 minutes.
Admission is free, but parking will cost either $12 for the day or a pay-per-space rate at lots No. 4 and 8. Doors open at 3 p.m., and visitors will be seated on the north side of the court in sections 101-103.
Assistant coach Ed Schilling started UCLA’s Monday practice with a skill-work session, focusing on dribbling and passing. Some players couldn’t dribble two balls at quite the rhythm and pace asked of them, so it’s a good sign the staff is spending time building these skills.
– The eligibility of forward Wanaah Bail and guard Isaac Hamilton are still undetermined. Coach Steve Alford said the NCAA could issue a decision on Bail very soon, but Hamilton’s appeal was submitted very recently. Continue reading →