Tag: UCLA Bruins


Addition of freshman guards could help Bryce Alford’s scoring

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Bryce Alford was second on UCLA in scoring at 15.4 points per game.

He’ll return in an even bigger role this season with Norman Powell having graduated. However, he should benefit from the addition of two heralded guards joining the program.

Prince Ali and Aaron Holiday, two four-star guards, were the prize recruits in in Steve Alford’s Class of 2015. On Monday, the UCLA coach spoke to reporters, and according to Zach Helfand of the Los Angeles Times, Alford praised the two first-year guards, saying they were both, “way ahead of it physically, more physically ready to play college basketball than most guards are.”

Last season, the Bruins back court was overworked with Alford, Powell and Isaac Hamilton all logging between 34 and 36 minutes a night. The lack of guards meant Alford had the ball in his hands the majority of the time. That should change with Ali and Holiday, the younger brother of former UCLA point guard Jrue Holiday.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Bryce Alford is most productive in catch-and-shoot opportunities, but he rarely operated without the ball last season. With Holiday as an additional point-guard option, Alford should be free to try to score more.

“That’s what we’re hoping,” Steve Alford said. “I think what we’ve seen in the summer has given us an awful lot of confidence that that can happen.”

The UCLA front court is also gaining some much-needed support. Jonah Bolden will make his collegiate debut after being he was not cleared by the NCAA last fall. The 6-foot-9 forward is coming off of knee surgery this past May. Bolden will join Tony Parker and sophomores Thomas Welsh and Gyorgy Goloman. The frontline also adds the other two members of the Class of 2015: Ikenna Okwarabizie and Alex Olesinski.

The UCLA front court will be mostly inexperienced, meaning the Bruins will once again rely on the guards. But this time around they’ll have depth in that department.

UCLA begins the season on Nov. 13 against Monmouth.

Five-star forward T.J. Leaf focusing on eight schools

Adidas Eurocamp 2015 - Day Three
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Just days after announcing that he was de-committing from Arizona, five-star 2016 forward T.J. Leaf is focusing on eight schools. The news was announced by the Compton Magic grassroots program that Leaf plays for.

The eight schools (in no particular order according to the announcement) under consideration are Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Texas, California, San Diego State, Gonzaga and Indiana.

Leaf had an eventful summer on the court, beginning with some good play for the Magic on the adidas Uprising circuit. Leaf tried out for the United States U19 team but did not make the cut for a squad that would go on to win gold at the FIBA U19 World Championships under Arizona head coach Sean Miller’s tutelage. The team is selected by a committee led by Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.

Leaf went on to represent Israel at the FIBA U18 European Championships, where he emerged as one of the top players in the tournament.

Leaf’s list includes some of the nation’s top programs, with many in positions of need when it comes to their front court rotation in 2016. Kentucky seemingly reloads every season, and each of the other teams on the list has at least one contributing senior who will be out of eligibility when the 2015-16 season concludes.

Five-star 2017 forward Michael Porter Jr. cuts list to ten

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Despite having plenty of time remaining in his recruitment, one of the top players in the Class of 2017 announced Wednesday night that he’s trimmed his list of schools to ten.

That player would be 6-foot-8 small forward Michael Porter Jr., who made the announcement just days after his younger brother Jontay verbally committed to Washington. And the Huskies, who are coached by Michael’s godfather (Lorenzo Romar), made the cut as did Duke, Missouri, Stanford, Kentucky, UCLA, Syracuse, Indiana, Kansas and Virginia.

Missouri’s another program that has close ties to the Porter family, with two of Michael’s older sisters on the women’s team and his father serving as an assistant coach. Michael Porter is one of the most skilled players in high school basketball regardless of class, and his versatility will make his recruitment an intense one.

While a decision may not be coming any time soon, Porter has taken the step of narrowing things down in order to focus on just a handful of schools.

Video credit: Courtside Films