October 2011 Archives
UCLA has plenty of changes coming this basketball season.
The Bruins are playing their games off campus, starting several new players and
adding a pair of two new conference foes in Colorado and Utah this season. But
the pressure of playing for a program that strives for nothing short of
championship excellence remains the same.
The Bruins were picked to win the Pac-12 in the conference
media poll that was revealed as part of the Pac-12 Media Day on Friday at the
LA Live complex in downtown Los Angeles.
"Our team always has high expectations," Coach Ben Howland
said at the event. "It's the expectations we put on ourselves that matter most.
It's always nice to be picked high, but that doesn't guarantee anything. It's
where you finish."
UCLA, with 14 first-place votes and 421 overall, was named
the favorite, ahead of California and Arizona, who were the other teams earning
The media have selected the Bruins seven previous times and
were correct five times, including the Bruins' last two conference titles in 2006-07
Howland and senior guard Lazeric Jones talked to the media
about a variety of things, including recruiting, Derrick Rose, the additions of
Colorado and Utah and the Wear twins, who are both expected to play serious
minutes after sitting out last season after transferring to North Carolina.
Here are some highlights:
Howland on the Wear twins:
"They're very similar, actually. It's interesting. Dave - they're the same size. They work out. Everything they do together. It's unbelievable. These guys take every class together. They share the same bedroom. I mean everything's together. They're really close. But what I'm most impressed about them in their work ethic."
Howland on Colorado joining the Pac-12:
"Yeah, they're 5,000 feet above sea level. That affects you. They've got a great home-court situation because of that."
Howland, whose phone began ringing mid-answer, on texting and tweeting more after the NCAA changed its recruiting rules:
"I don't mind texting. That's fine. I think it's good for us. Having to keep track of every phone call you make and write it down is very, very difficult. You see, I'm trying to tweet right now. I apologize. That was my trainer trying to update me on the MRI (to Anthony Stover). I won't take it now, but I'll let you know right after."
Jones on his relationship with Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who attended the same high school:
"I mean, we're just really good friends. We don't talk too much about basketball. It's more like back in high school and things like that."
Jones on playing in the Sports Arena and so close to rival USC:
"It was different. But it was alright. The fact that we're right by SC is kind of weird. I was talking to somebody earlier about us getting booed on our home games, but it will be a different experience."
The UCLA men's basketball team had their private time during
a closed scrimmage with Cal State Fullerton on Thursday at the Los Angeles
Sports Arena. That doesn't mean Coach Ben Howland hopes it stays that way at
the Bruins temporary home.
"Our guys work hard and our coaches work hard and they want
support for our team," Howland said in a teleconference after the scrimmage.
"The students are where it all starts. They're the group that makes a home
court advantage. They're rambunctious and loud and into it. I love our students
and we need them. I'll do everything I can to reach out to them."
Howland said he's planning to visit with different student
groups to ask for their support of the team.
UCLA men's basketball coach Ben Howland got a chance to see his team in a
live-game scenario against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday afternoon at the Los
Angeles Sports Arena. He couldn't say much about it, per NCAA rules, but it was
clear he liked the scrimmage format.
"It's really good, I really like it," Howland said of the
private scrimmage format that allows two Division I teams to play a private
scrimmage with no reported score or statistics. "It was a dress rehearsal for a
real game. We had the team going through warm-ups, we used Pac-12 officials, and
there were media timeouts. We played it as a normal game."
Howland didn't use the word education, but it was clear
that's what his staff was focused on for the scrimmage. With no official stats
or score, it was a chance for Howland and his staff to ascertain what needs to
be worked on before the season starts in two weeks with Loyola Marymount.
"The team is aware we've got to get a lot better," Howland
said during a teleconference on the drive back from the Sports Arena. "We've
got a lot of work to do. I'm going to go home and watch the tape now."
Howland talked about defensive issues in transition and
off-the-dribble defense, both typical early-season problems. Offensively,
Howland said the team hasn't focused on it during the first batch of practices
this preseason and has a long way to go in building out offensive plays for the
By Bob Holtzman
UCLA men's basketball coach Ben Howland is used to the rabid
attention his team gets throughout the season and beyond. But on Thursday, he'll
get to experience something that's a little different from the norm for UCLA.
He'll get to coach a game that nobody can watch. NCAA
rules allow for men's basketball teams to conduct a practice scrimmage
against another Division I team but forbid anybody from watching it beyond "athletic
department staff members and those individuals necessary to conduct the
So when UCLA scrimmages Cal State Fullerton at the Los Angeles Sports
Arena Thursday afternoon, they'll do it under lock and key.
"Sorry you guys can't come tomorrow," Howland said during a
media teleconference on Wednesday evening. "Even Ryan Finney (UCLA basketball's
sports information director) can't come. It's sort of amazing."
The NCAA rules are so strict, UCLA won't be able to share a
score nor any statistics from the scrimmage with any media outlets. Pac-12
rival Washington and head coach Lorenzo Romar (who served as an assistant at
UCLA in the mid 1990's) ran into some troubles with these rules when he
mentioned a scrimmage between the current team and a team of former Huskies
(many currently locked out of the NBA). The Seattle
Times reported Washington "positioned ushers and closed the curtains around
the main floor (at Edmundson Pavilion) to keep the scrimmage private."
Howland won't need to put a curtain up around the Sports
Arena court and isn't that worried about getting the team situated while Pauley
Pavilion undergoes renovations. No fans can come Thursday, but the Bruins play
14 games this year at the Sports Arena, and Howland does hope to see lots of
Bruins fans make the trip for those games.
"The athletic department is doing everything it can to help
people get to those games and support our team," Howland said. "I think we'll
have free buses for students and buses for a nominal fee from Jackie Robinson
Stadium so they can be bused down and back."
The buses won't be running tomorrow but Howland is clearly
more focused on using his time during the preseason to coach and prepare this group
of players to become a team. Having a chance to face off against Cal State
Fullerton, even with nobody else around to see it, will be an invaluable
"Playing against a Division I team with Division I athletes
is a good thing," Howland said.
By Bob Holtzman
Basketball fans know injuries are part of the game and bumps
and bruises should be welcomed during the preseason, as players fight and scrap
their way toward the season. But the injuries suffered this preseason by the UCLA
men's basketball team have coach Ben Howland calling it something else.
UCLA suffered a pair of concussions last week, keeping
sophomore center Anthony Stover and junior guard De'End Parker out of practice.
Stover returned on Wednesday, only to suffer a subluxed left shoulder that will
keep him out indefinitely. Howland said he'll undergo an MRI in the next few
days to determine the extent of the injury.
While the Bruins wait to hear the result of Stover's MRI,
they're also waiting for Parker to recover from what Howland called a "severe
"It affected him to where he was having troubles with light
and sound and he missed a midterm," Howland said. "(Wednesday) was the first
day he's felt better since Saturday - the first time he was at practice and
watched. We're hopeful to have him back somewhere toward the beginning to
middle of next week. There's a whole protocol before he can be cleared to play."
While Parker is out, Howland said David Wear has spent most
of the time playing the small forward position and that he has also used with a
three-guard lineup in practice.
The USA men's volleyball team will face Brazil tonight (10/26) at 6 p.m. (PDT) on ESPN2 as part of the Pan Am Games coverage from Guadalajara, Mexico. UCLA Bruins on on the team include setter Kyle Caldwell and middle hitter/opposite Nick Vogel. John Speraw (UCLA '95) is the head coach. Check your local listings for channel number.
Punter/Kickoff specialist Jeff Locke has been honored for his play against Arizona by the College Football Performance Awards. The junior was named National Kickoff Specialist of the Week and earned Honorable Mention Punter of the Week accolades. Against Arizona, Locke had six punts for a total of 300 yards, averaging 50.0 per punt. He had a long of 53 and had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line. On kickoffs, Locke tallied three touch backs.
College Football Performance Awards - Week 8
UCLA student-athletes continue to succeed in the classroom, posting a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 83 percent, according to Statistics for the Graduation Success Rate released Tuesday by the NCAA.
Two Bruin squads - men's tennis and women's volleyball - had GSRs of 100 percent. Ten of UCLA's 20 sports programs (cross country, indoor track and outdoor track count as one program for each gender) had GSRs of 90 percent or higher, and 15 of the 20 sports were at 85 percent or higher. All 20 UCLA sports hold GSRs higher than the federal rate.
The GSR is the NCAA's more comprehensive calculation of student-athlete academic success and is based on student-athletes who entered college as freshmen in the 2001-02 through 2004-05 classes. It allows for the removal of those individuals who left UCLA in good academic standing prior to the completion of their athletic eligibility.
The NCAA's GSR includes transfer students and student-athletes who leave in good academic standing, unlike the federal rate, which does not count transfers. The GSR and federal rate calculations measure graduation over six years from initial college enrollment.
The GSR for female student-athletes is 92 percent, while the rate for male student-athletes is 75 percent.
The USA Men's Volleyball team edged Puerto Rico 3-2 in their opening match at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico Monday. The Stars and Stripes won 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-26, 15-13. UCLA senior and USA starting setter Kyle Caldwell contributed six points on three kills and three blocks in the victory. The USA team is coached by UCLA alumnus John Speraw. UCLA senior Nick Vogel is also on the team, but did not record any stats against Puerto Rico.
Three UCLA golfers completed play in the Bill Cullum Invitational, hosted by CS Northridge at Wood Ranch Country Club on Monday. Junior Mario Clemens tied for seventh place with scores of 75-70-69--214 (-2). Freshman Preston Valder tied for 18th at 218 (+2) after posting scores of 70-71-77 and junior Bobby Lange tied for 48th place at 227 (+11) following scores of 74-76-77.
The 2011-12 UCLA men's basketball team held its annual Media Day Wednesday afternoon at the Student Activities Center or 'The Old Men's Gym,' where Coach John Wooden's teams used to play and practice.
The Bruins officially begin practice Oct. 13.
Senior guard and team captain Lazeric Jones is ready for the start of practice. "I'm just excited, anxious to get started," he said. We've been working hard the whole summer for this. I feel really good about the team and how we look. We play in the summer vs. all the pros right here on this floor. Coach John Wooden held his practices here so hopefully some of his winning ways can rub off on us too."
Another player ready for the start of practice is sophomore forward Travis Wear. Travis, along with his twin brother David, played at North Carolina during the 2009-10 season. They transferred to UCLA last year and participated in practices but could not play in the actual games because of the transfer rule.
"Sitting out last year wasn't very fun," Travis said. "I got to work on my game and everything, but you want to get out there and actually play in games and see how much you have improved. I finally get to do that, to get out here and play with these guys, so I'm just really excited."
Travis and David prepped at Mater Dei HS and are from Huntington Beach. They understand the UCLA historical significance of practicing in 'the Old Men's Gym.'
"Coach Wooden coaching here, all the Bruin greats that have played in here, just the legacy this place has is amazing," Travis said. "All the top NBA players that have come in here to play during the summertime - Magic Johnson, countless others. Just to be able to get on this court that so many others have played on, it's going to be fun."
UCLA volleyball players Kyle Caldwell and Nick Vogel played in a pre-tournament Pan Am Games match for the United States on Tuesday at Concordia University in Irvine. Toray Arrow of Japan defeated the U.S. 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 29-27, 25-19). Vogel and Caldwell each scored three points in the setback.The USA Team, coached by UCLA alumnus John Speraw, will begin competition on Oct. 24 in Group B with Brazil, Canada and Puerto Rico. UCLA sophomore Gonzalo Quiroga will play for his native Argentina, which is slotted in Group A.
Congratulations to UCLA seniors Stephanie Kono and Brianna Do after they advanced to Stage III of the LPGA's Qualifying Tournament. Both players made the cut in the 72-hole Stage II event at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, FL. Kono tied for 18th place at two-under par 286 with scores of 73-71-71-71. Do tied for 65th at five-over par 293 with scores of 75-72-73-73. The 90-hole Stage III event is set for Nov. 30-Dec. 4 at the LPGA International facility in Daytona Beach, FL.
Assistant track and field/cross country coach Forest Braden raced to the Santa Monica 5000 10k crown on Sunday as he and four of his student-athletes competed in the road race. Braden, who was a standout distance runner for Boise State, won the 10,000m race (6.214 miles) in a time of 30:49.2.
Freshman Sergey Sushchikh (2nd, 31:18.2), junior David McDonald (3rd, 32:12.9), sophomore Jacob Wood (4th, 32:16.9) and sophomore Brett Walters (7th, 33:45.7) also competed in the race.
Tight end Joseph Fauria has earned weekly honors from the College Football Performance Awards after the Bruins' game against Stanford. Fauria earned Honorable Mention Tight End of the Week acclaim after recording three receptions for 43 yards and two touchdowns. One of the highlights of the game came when Fauria caught a pass from Richard Brehaut, hurdled over a Stanford defender, and jogged into the end zone for a Bruin touchdown.
Week 5 Honors