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Report: UCLA big man Alex Olesinski out after stress fracture in foot

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UCLA will be without redshirt junior forward Alex Olesinki for the start of the season, as he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot.

According to a report from Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, the 6-foot-10 Olesinski is expected to miss two-to-three months with the injury as the Bruins lose a veteran frontcourt rotation player. Appearing in every game for UCLA as a sophomore last season, Olesinski averaged 17.6 minutes per contest as he averaged 4.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

A floor-spacing big man, Olesinski’s 36 percent three-point shooting makes him a solid rotation member since he can step out and provide additional spacing in the frontcourt. UCLA has a lot of talented freshmen big men on its roster this season, but Olesinski was a veteran who had a known skill the team could use.

The injury is also concerning because it is the second time Olesinski has suffered a stress fracture in his foot during his time at UCLA. Olesinski’s true sophomore season in 2016-17 was wiped out after he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot.

Olesinski should return to play this season, but he could miss a lot of action early in the season.

Former UCLA standout Tyler Honeycutt found dead after standoff with LAPD

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Former UCLA standout and NBA player Tyler Honeycutt was found dead after a standoff with Los Angeles Police Department SWAT members early on Saturday morning.

The 27-year-old Honeycutt was identified by family members. The LAPD tweeted that they had gone into a Sherman Oaks residence after Honeycutt allegedly fired a gun at police and barricaded himself into the residence. When police eventually entered the home at 3:30 a.m., they found Honeycutt unresponsive.

Police initially received a call from Honeycutt’s mother, who said her son was acting erratically. That began everything around 5 p.m. on Friday when police arrived at the home and Honeycutt allegedly shot at them. Officers returned fire, and it appears that nobody was hit.

An investigation is still ongoing.

Honeycutt played for UCLA for two seasons as he was Pac-12 all-freshman team his first season and all-conference his second season. Eventually drafted in the second round to the Sacramento Kings at pick No. 35 in the 2011 NBA Draft, Honeycutt played parts of two seasons with them.

Honeycutt was traded to the Houston Rockets and waived. After spending some time in the D League, Honeycutt eventually made his way overseas for the past few seasons.

USC adds to No. 1 recruiting class with four-star wing Max Agbonkpolo

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USC added to its No. 1 overall recruiting class in 2019 on Friday as four-star wing Max Agbonkpolo pledged to the Trojans on Twitter.

A bit of a late-blooming wing prospect, the 6-foot-7 Agbonkpolo is the fourth top-75 prospect to pledge to USC in the Class of 2019. The Rancho Santa Margarita native joins five-star big man Oneyka Okongwu, four-star big man Isaiah Mobley and four-star guard Drake London to form USC’s class right now.

The frontline of Okongwu and Mobley has a chance to be very good while London will add depth to the roster as he attempts to play both football and basketball for the Trojans. Adding another talented wing like Agbonkpolo is great for the Trojans because he’s an upside wing who is long and athletic enough to grow into an impact Pac-12 player.

Having four commitments already in the fold before the July live evaluation period also means that USC can focus its efforts on closing out the class with another star talent as it’ll be fascinating to see who the Trojans now trail during the month of July. USC could make a move on high-end four-star guard Cassius Stanley, who is from Southern California. Or they could also ramp up efforts on a five-star guard like Josh Green.

Either way, USC is in great position for the future right now as they are landing a lot of high-level talent. The hiring of assistant coach Eric Mobley will likely net them his sons Isaiah, and five-star Class of 2020 big man Evan Mobley. And head coach Andy Enfield and his staff are landing players to compliment the star recruits. There’s still a lot of time left, but this has the makings of a potentially special recruiting class at USC.

Arizona fan pretended to be restaurant employee to upgrade cable to Pac-12 Network

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An Illinois man is facing multiple charges after pretending to be a restaurant employee over the phone to enhance the place’s cable package. The goal: to secure the Pac-12 Network to watch an Arizona basketball game while the man was in the area for the weekend.

Arlington Heights, Illinois native Kevin M. Cayton has been charged by Sauk County prosecutors with felony identity theft for financial gain and unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information, according to a report from KVOA Tucson. The 51-year-old Cayton said he was an employee of Buffalo Phil’s in Lake Delton in order to secure the Pac-12 Network. The business manager for the place eventually noticed a large increase in the restaurant’s cable rates.

Eventually, 11 phone calls were linked to Cayton and the cable provider, Charter Spectrum, in December. Cayton was linked to the trip to the area through social media.

He was booked and released on a $2,000 signature bond. Cayton is due in Sauk County Circuit Court on July 31 as each of his charges carries a maximum six-year prison sentence.

As an Illinois resident who has tried to watch Pac-12 Network games in public, I can relate to this being tough to deal with. Pac-12 Network isn’t available in very many places around the Midwest and it can be tough find a place that will air a west-coast game that you’re looking for. But pretending to work at a restaurant in order to watch a game there is taking things to a ridiculous new level.

(H/t: Sean Mooney with KVOA Tucson

Oregon lands key transfer in guard Ehab Amin

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Oregon pulled in a solid transfer on Friday as guard Ehab Amin pledged to the Ducks on Twitter.

The former Texas A&M CC guard led the nation at 3.4 steals per game during the 2015-16 season as he also put up 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. The 6-foot-4 Amin sat out last season with a hip injury as he’s immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.

Originally committed to Nevada earlier this offseason, Amin found himself the victim of a scholarship crunch when Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins all opted to pull out of the 2018 NBA Draft. Now with the Ducks, Amin should help offset the loss of freshman Troy Brown on the wing. Amin should provide immediate experience on both ends of the ball for Oregon as he gives head coach Dana Altman another talented perimeter threat to work with.

The big question for Amin at Oregon will be his perimeter shooting — which was questionable at times during his three-year career with the Islanders. Shooting 28 percent as a junior, Amin will have to knock down a higher clip in order to be at his best for Oregon next season. After shooting 36 percent in a smaller sample size as a sophomore, there is some hope that Amin can be an effective perimeter option for a more talented offensive team.

USC makes a statement landing Class of 2019 four-star forward Isaiah Mobley

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USC ended a strong week of recruiting with another major statement on Friday afternoon as four-star Class of 2019 forward Isaiah Mobley pledged to the Trojans.

The second major Class of 2019 commitment for USC during the week, the 6-foot-9 power forward joins five-star big man Onyeka Okongwu. The Compton Magic teammates should be able to help replace the loss of Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, with Mobley playing the skilled, floor-spacing Boatwright’s role and Okongwu providing the interior energy of Metu.

Having two highly-touted big men commit in the same week is huge for USC. And it looks like the start of even bigger things in a continually-evolving SoCal recruiting war against Pac-12 rival UCLA.

Landing both Mobley and Okongwu is significant for the Trojans for a number of reasons. As previously mentioned, both come from the famous Compton Magic grassroots program that runs on the adidas Gauntlet. While landing AAU teammates from a regional program is common for high-major programs of USC’s stature, the commitments signify that the Trojans are the ones with the biggest pull with the Magic at the current moment.

And the Magic used to get raided by UCLA.

In the past few years, the Bruins signed T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Jaylen Hands and Jalen Hill from the Compton Magic. Now, it’s USC who looks to be in the driver’s seat recruiting the program.

The Trojans aren’t done, either.

Newly-hired USC assistant coach Eric Mobley is the father Isaiah Mobley, as well as five-star Class of 2020 big man Evan Mobley. As Rivals national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi noted in his story about Isaiah, “Barring something strange happening, look for the younger Mobley to join his brother and father by committing to USC within the next two weeks.”

That would mean the Trojans would have landed three top-30 caliber big men in the span of a few weeks. That allows the USC coaching staff to recruit other positions extremely hard. Outside of Kentucky, USC has arguably the best future recruiting status of any program in the country.

The Trojans have taken full advantage of UCLA letting go popular assistant coach David Grace. The Bruins are still pulling in top-100 prospects, as evidenced by Grant Sherfield and Jaime Jaquez’s commitments in the Class of 2019, but losing two Magic kids in a week to a rival has to sting.

Considering where USC was last fall with the FBI investigation, who saw this type of recruiting swing coming? Other programs involved in the investigation like Arizona, Auburn and Oklahoma State have landed solid recruits. They also haven’t pulled in nearly the high-level talent that the Trojans currently have committed.

Even amidst the uncertainty surrounding the FBI investigation, USC is still pulling in elite talent while beating local rivals. It’ll be fascinating to see if the Trojans can continue to recruit at this level as they try to fill out the rest of an important recruiting class.