LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA has its tallest team under coach Steve Alford, and it added another inch after the summer thanks to the continued growth of Moses Brown.
Brown, a 7-foot-2 center from New York, said he grew an inch since his arrival on the UCLA campus. People have noticed, and he’ll be a star attraction in Westwood this season.
“A lot of people want to take pictures of me,” Brown said. “Every time I walk in class, the first person they see is me. The teacher always wants to pick on me, ‘Hey, how tall are you?’ So then I introduce myself in front of the class. It’s pretty cool. You meet a lot of new people.”
And then, of course, there are the people who just take selfies with Brown in the background. He sees them as he’s walking by.
“I pose a lot,” Brown said while flashing a peace sign.
Freshman guard David Singleton made it his personal mission to show Brown the beaches on the West Coast are better than those on the East Coast. Singleton, a 6-foot-4 guard who played at Bishop Montgomery High School in Los Angeles, said they went to the Santa Monica Pier, Huntington Beach, Venice and more in the summer.
“We went to Huntington Beach for Fourth of July and everyone was coming up to us and everyone was breaking their necks,” Singleton said.
Brown, who is wearing No. 1, said the biggest change for him has been his offseason weightlifting program. He’s ready to get his college career started and to try to help UCLA improve from its 21-12 season a year ago.
“I just want to get with all my guys. I want to build a relationship with my teammates,” Brown said. “We have a lot of chemistry.”
Brown weighs 250 pounds and said he’s excited that in college, he gets fed after practice. UCLA will be feeding him the ball when he’s on the court as he will present constant mismatches.
“Moses at 7-2 presents a lot of good problems,” Alford said. “Being 7-2 and length, really runs the floor well and for a guy that big, how he handles the ball and those types of things inside has been very impressive. He gives us a shot-blocker, which, to be honest with you we really haven’t had an elite shot-blocker since we’ve been here. I think he is that.”
His stature is even an eye-opener for his frontcourt teammates.
“I have to break my neck to see Moses, which usually does not happen to me,” said sophomore guard Chris Smith, who is 6-9. “When I stand next to him, to look in his eyes, I have to look up. I’ve never had to do that before.”