One-time Texas Tech signee Wanaah Bail officially headed to UCLA

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6-9 power forward Wanaah Bail was one of the top prospects in the 2012 class in Texas, with his athleticism and ability on the defensive end making him a very intriguing player for then-Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie.

But things didn’t work out for Bail in Lubbock, resulting in his departure from the program within weeks of his arrival on campus. Gillispie would be relieved of his duties soon thereafter for issues regarding his treatment of players, with Chris Walker taking over as interim head coach.

After leaving Texas Tech Bail spent some time at the Canarias Basketball Academy, and he also worked out with John Lucas for part of the spring.

And nearly one year after his first, albeit brief, college basketball experience Bail is officially headed to UCLA as announced by the school. It was reported last Friday that Bail verbally committed to attend UCLA.

“Today, I signed my financial aid agreement declaring my intent to attend UCLA,” Bail said in the release. “In the coming weeks, I will be arriving on campus to being summer classes in pursuit of my degree. In addition, I look forward to joining my teammates and Coach Alford and his staff to begin preparing for the upcoming season.

“UCLA has a long history of excellence on and off the basketball court. I am excited to join the Bruin family, get in school and get to work.”

The addition of Bail, who would become the fourth newcomer headed to UCLA (two, Noah Allen and Zach Levine, committed while Ben Howland was the head coach), gives the Bruins added depth inside if he’s eligible to play. According to the school it is still working through the process to see whether or not Bail will be able to play this season.

UCLA went through much of last season with a three-man rotation in the paint, with the Wear twins (David and Travis) and Kyle Anderson receiving the majority of the minutes and freshman Tony Parker dealing with injuries and inconsistency for much of the year.

Adding Bail gives UCLA an athletic piece who can help them on the defensive end of the floor if cleared to play. He’s a bit raw offensively, but head coach Steve Alford and his staff (which includes Ed Schilling, who is highly respected for his skill development work) can bring Bail along in that area.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)