Steve Alford

UCLA, Gonzaga announce home-and-home series agreement

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UCLA and Gonzaga haven’t met on the basketball court since the 2006 Sweet 16, with the Bruins winning in one of the wildest finishes in the recent history of the event. That will change on December 13, as it was announced Wednesday that the two programs have come to an agreement on a two-game, home-and-home series. Gonzaga will host the return meeting on December 12, 2015.

“We are excited to face Gonzaga in a home-and-home series beginning with the 2014-15 season,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said in the release. “Mark Few has built a strong and consistent program in Spokane, and we know this will be a very entertaining matchup for our fans in Pauley Pavilion.

“Playing Gonzaga will add to what we already believe is a very competitive non-conference schedule next season.”

This matchup will benefit both teams, and for the Bulldogs this game will be played one week after their visit to Pac-12 favorite Arizona (December 6). Gonzaga’s put together quality non-conference schedules over the years, and having Arizona and UCLA on the slate will not only benefit them ahead of West Coast Conference play but also give them the chance to take on two of the western United States’ most storied programs.

“Obviously, we are excited about the opportunity to play both UCLA and Arizona home-and-home,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said in a release. “It’s great for our fans, our program and for all college basketball fans, especially the ones out West that get to see the three of us playing home-and-home.”

UCLA, which reached the Sweet 16 this past season, will have some significant holes to fill as three players (Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine) entered the NBA Draft and the Wear twins ran out of eligibility. However the Bruins add a solid recruiting class led by Kevon Looney, and the addition of Isaac Hamilton will help as well.

As for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs lose David Stockton but return Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Przemek Karnowski, and the addition of Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer will be a big one.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.