UCLA lands 4-star SG Jules Bernard

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UCLA received its second verbal commitment in the Class of 2018 on Tuesday, as 6-foot-6 shooting guard Jules Bernard announced that he will be a Bruin. Bernard, considered to be a four-star prospect, joins another perimeter prospect in four-star guard David Singleton III in Steve Alford’s 2018 class to date.

Bernard, who averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game at the Winward School in Los Angeles, was also a standout for the Compton Magic grassroots program on the adidas Uprising circuit.

“This has been a humbling and amazing journey over the last few years,” Bernard said in the release. “I’ve been fortunate to have met some special people who have taught me, mentored me, molded me, and guided me. I would like to thank all the college coaches and schools that believed in me, recruited me, and those who put time and effort into getting to know me and my family. I am excited and honored to continue my education and growth as a basketball player in my hometown at UCLA.”

Bernard’s size and versatility makes him a good addition to the UCLA program, which does not lack for young talent on the perimeter. This year’s team has four freshmen among its perimeter players, including point guard Jaylen Hands, shooting guard LiAngelo Ball and wings Kris Wilkes and Chris Smith.

UCLA also has three returnees on the perimeter from last season’s Sweet 16 team, junior Aaron Holiday and redshirt sophomores Prince Al and Alex Oleshinski. Ali, who averaged 3.9 points in just under 12 minutes per game as a freshman, sat out last season after undergoing offseason knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

PHOTOS: Kanye West and 2 Chainz practice with UCLA

David Grace/UCLA
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UCLA received a nice surprise on Monday as rappers Kanye West and 2 Chainz showed up and played at practice.

Both multi-platinum recording artists have made numerous references to basketball over the years, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to see both West and 2 Chainz want to play with one of the premier college programs in the country. 2 Chainz even played Division I ball at Alabama State during his freshman year during the 1996-97 season before eventually graduating from Virginia State.

The Bruins seemed pretty excited to have the two superstars spend some time with them, and former UCLA guard Bryce Alford also got a funny shot in at his dad, head coach Steve Alford, for his picture with Kanye.

UCLA freshman big man Ike Anigbogu stays in 2017 NBA Draft after signing with agent

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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UCLA freshman big man Ike Anigbogu will stay in the 2017 NBA Draft after signing with agent Jason Glushon.

The 6-foot-10 big man only averaged 13.0 minutes per game in his only season in Westwood but he showed an ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor as he averaged 4.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season.

Anigbogu joins point guard Lonzo Ball and forward T.J. Leaf as a trio of one-and-done freshmen for the Bruins after the team made the Sweet 16 last season.

Anigbogu has a chance to develop into a solid NBA big man because he gets quickly off the floor and can protect the rim and rebound at a high level. If Anigbogu can improve his offensive game and get a go-to move, he could become a solid pro big man.

UCLA nabs four-star Class of 2018 guard David Singleton

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The Pac-12 recruiting arms race escalated again on Thursday night as four-star Class of 2018 guard David Singleton committed to UCLA.

The 6-foot-4 Singleton is regarded as the No. 57 overall prospect in the Rivals.com Class of 2018 national rankings as he gives the Bruins their first commitment for that class.

A native of Torrance, California, Singleton gives the Bruins a proven perimeter scorer and playmaker as he should be able to make an impact on the offensive end in head coach Steve Alford’s uptempo offense.

With schools like Arizona, Oregon and UCLA recruiting at such a high level over the past few classes, it will be intriguing to see how these three schools continue to recruit in the upcoming classes. Both the Bruins and Arizona have picked up important Class of 2018 pledges this week after the Wildcats earned a commitment from Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal, earlier this week.

LaVar Ball claims he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one; reveals son Lonzo faced NCAA investigation

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LaVar Ball is back at it again.

The father of UCLA star freshman Lonzo Ball, and younger brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball of Chino Hills High School, has been known to make some outlandish statements regarding his kids before.

But LaVar’s latest interview with Josh Peter of USA Today Sports might take the cake.

In the profile, Ball states that he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one in his prime with some ridiculous quotes.

“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one,’’ Ball said to Peter in the profile.

“I would just back (Jordan) in and lift him off the ground and call a foul every time he fouls me when I do a jump hook to the right or the left,” Ball said. “He cannot stop me one-on-one. He better make every shot ’cause he can’t go around me. He’s not fast enough. And he can only make so many shots outside before I make every bucket under the rim.”

Maybe the most enlightening bit to come from Ball’s interview is the revelation that the NCAA investigated Lonzo Ball and the Big Baller Brand, the Ball family’s clothing line.

LaVar said that last February, UCLA asked him to take down a photo of Lonzo from the Big Ballers Brand website because he might face eligibility issues. It turns out it was a rival school that called about the potential violation.

“I was going to tell them, Big Ballers style, see if you can go win this (NCAA) tournament without my son,” Ball said to Peter. “I said, ‘Let me tell you guys something right now, If I come down there, it ain’t going to be about no complaints. I’m coming down to get my son.’ And that’s when they was like, ‘LaVar, it wasn’t us. It was USC.’ ”

The Trojans are the ones who notified UCLA of Lonzo’s photo on the website, according to Peter’s report. USC sports information director Tim Tessalone acknowledged that the Trojans were also involved as they notified UCLA of the photo. Lonzo’s photo has since been taken off the website.

The NCAA even released a statement on Saturday saying that Lonzo Ball won’t face any sanctions, which carries some significance since LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are both verbally committed to the Bruins in future years.

Lonzo Ball is an expected top-five pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft as he was the nation’s leader in assists per game this season. UCLA is a No. 3 seed in the South Region as they open with No. 14 Kent State.

UCLA lands four-star Class of 2017 forward Cody Riley

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UCLA continues to stockpile local talented players as the Bruins landed a commitment from four-star power forward Cody Riley on Friday.

The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Riley is considered the No. 34 overall prospect on Rivals in the national Class of 2017 as he’s a productive combo forward who can score or rebound. Bursting on the national recruiting scene early in his high school career, Riley is an undersized four, but he’s a skilled passer who hits the glass hard and can score on putbacks around the basket. Riley should give the Bruins a capable rebounder and frontcourt piece.

Riley joins five-star guard Jaylen Hands, four-star forward Jalen Hill and three-star guard LiAngelo Ball in UCLA’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts. The Bruins under Steve Alford have done a great job of keeping California talent home as all four of those players hail from the Golden State.