Monday, May 11, 2015

OT: Recent NBA MVP Acceptance Speeches

Stephen Curry, 2015 NBA MVP Acceptance Speech

Kevin Durant, 2014 NBA MVP Acceptance Speech

Kevin Hart, 2015 NBA Celebrity Game MVP Acceptance Speech

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

UCLA Basketball Announces Year-End Awards at Team Banquet

UCLA hosted its 2014-15 year-end basketball banquet on campus Monday (photo by Don Liebig)
UCLA hosted its 2014-15 year-end basketball banquet on campus Monday (photo by Don Liebig)

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics
Release: Monday 04/27/2015
Article Link
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men's basketball program hosted its annual year-end banquet Monday night on campus at Carnesale Commons, with senior Norman Powell earning the Coach John Wooden Award as the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Powell, a 6-foot-4 guard from San Diego, led UCLA and ranked sixth in the conference with 16.4 points per game, starting all 36 games and securing first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Powell, who registered 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a team-leading 1.8 steals per game, played in all 141 games for UCLA over his four-year career, the fourth-highest career games total in school history.
Kevon Looney, a 6-foot-9 freshman from Milwaukee, Wis., was honored with the Gerald A. Finerman Award as the team’s rebounding leader and the Seymour Armond Memorial Award as the most valuable freshman. Looney averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, starting all 36 contests. He led all freshmen in the country in rebounding average (9.2 rpg) and double-doubles (15).
Bryce Alford, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Albuquerque, N.M., secured the UCLA Alumni Association Award as the team’s leader in assists (4.9 apg). He also was honored with the Bruin Hoopsters J.D. Morgan Memorial Award for outstanding team play. Alford capped his sophomore year having registered 15.4 points, 4.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game.
In addition, Alford earned the Bob “Ace” Calkins Memorial Award as the team’s top free throw shooter. He shot 83.8 percent from the free throw line, making 119 of 142 attempts and recording the fourth-highest percentage of all Pac-12 players.
Tony Parker, a 6-foot-9 forward/center from Atlanta, Ga., was honored with the Player Improvement Award, highlighting the student-athlete who displays the most improvement in all-around play and mental attitude. Parker finished his junior season having averaged 11.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, playing in 34 contests and making 33 starts. He led the team in field goal percentage, shooting 56.4 percent from the field (150 of 276).
Isaac Hamilton, a 6-foot-5 guard from Los Angeles, earned the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Award as the team’s outstanding defensive player. Hamilton averaged 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He totaled 32 steals (0.9 spg) and finished his sophomore season having shot 38.8 percent from 3-point territory (59 of 152).
Thomas Welsh, a 7-foot center from Redondo Beach, Calif., secured the Elvin C. “Ducky” Drake Memorial Award for competitive spirit, inspiration and unselfish contributions. Welsh finished his freshman season having averaged 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and a team-best 1.1 blocks per game. Welsh played in all 36 games, making three starts, and ranked No. 11 in the Pac-12 in blocks per game.
Welsh and senior Kory Alford were honored as recipients of the UCLA Faculty Athletic Representative Award, presented for academic achievement and team contribution. Welsh has maintained over a 3.0 grade point average throughout his freshman year. Kory Alford has fulfilled his graduation requirements and will earn his degree in sociology this June with a cumulative UCLA grade point average above 3.0.
UCLA concluded its 2014-15 campaign with a 22-14 record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. The Bruins went 11-7 in Pac-12 action, finishing fourth in the conference’s regular-season standings before advancing to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA earned back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances for the first time since 2008.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

OT (sorta): LA Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies Apr 11 2015 player intros

Cheerin for Matt Barnes at the 2:20 mark. Staples was rockin!!!

UCLA Basketball Signs Ikenna Okwarabizie to National Letter of Intent

Ikenna Okwarabizie will enroll at UCLA as a sophomore this summer
Ikenna Okwarabizie will enroll at UCLA as a sophomore this summer

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics
Release: Monday 04/20/2015
Article Link
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA basketball program has received a signed National Letter of Intent from Ikenna Okwarabizie during the regular signing period, it was announced today by head coach Steve Alford.
Okwarabizie (pronounced oak-war-uh-BEE-zee-ay), a 6-foot-9, 250-pound center, spent his freshman year (2014-15) at Tyler Junior College (Tyler, Texas). In 34 games (33 starts), Okwarabizie averaged 6.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, finishing second on the team in blocked shots (41) and total rebounds (237).
"Ike brings great size, strength and physicality to the table and will certainly help our play in the post," Alford said. "He comes from a very good program at Tyler Junior College and has been coached well. We needed to add depth to our interior, and we know that Ike will help us fill that need."
During his freshman season at Tyler JC, Okwarabizie helped lead the Apaches to a 25-9 overall record under the direction of head coach Mike Marquis. Tyler JC advanced to the second round of the NJCCA National Basketball Tournament before falling to No. 1-seed Connors State on March 17.
Okwarabizie grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the United States three years ago. He spent his junior year of high school at St. Louis Christian Academy (St. Louis, Mo.) and his senior year at East High School (Sioux City, Iowa) before enrolling at Tyler Junior College.
As a senior at East, Okwarabizie joined the team midway through its season and in 13 games, averaged 13.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while shooting 60 percent from the field. Prior to joining East, Okwarabizie helped St. Louis Christian Academy to a 25-5 record during the 2012-13 season. While in St. Louis, he also competed for the St. Louis Eagles AAU team.
Okwarabizie will enroll in summer school as a sophomore at UCLA beginning this June. He joins an incoming class that already features guards Prince Ali (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Aaron Holiday (North Hollywood, Calif.) and forward Alex Olesinski (Roswell, N.M.). All three are currently seniors in high school with Ali at The Sagemont School (Weston, Fla.), Holiday at Campbell Hall High School (North Hollywood, Calif.) and Olesinski at La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.).   

Monday, April 20, 2015

Update on UCLA Basketball Great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this week
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this week

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics
Release: Friday 04/17/2015
Article Link
UCLA Health is issuing this statement at the request of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this week with cardiovascular disease, and he underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery on April 16. The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA’s chief of cardiac surgery.
Shemin said the surgery was successful and he expects Abdul-Jabbar to make a full recovery.
At this time, Abdul-Jabbar would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received. He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon.
He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest. For those wanting to send well wishes, he thanks you in advance and asks that you support those in your own community who may be suffering from various health issues.
There will be no media interviews or additional information from Abdul-Jabbar, his physician or his spokesperson. However, news media planning stand-ups at the hospital must park news vans in the southbound lane of Westwood Boulevard, south of Westwood Plaza, between Le Conte Avenue and Med Plaza Circle (in the far right lane).
Quote from UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero 
“Kareem is not only a UCLA legend, he is a national treasure. On behalf of Bruins everywhere, I want to wish him a complete and speedy recovery so he can continue to make a positive impact on society by following his passions and serving as an important cultural voice on the issues of the day.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

LA Times: Wanaah Bail to transfer

Best of luck, Wanaah! 

Good luck, Kevon!

Kevon Looney totaled 15 double-doubles in 36 games for the Bruins in 2014-15 (photo by Percy Anderson)
Kevon Looney totaled 15 double-doubles in 36 games for the Bruins in 2014-15 (photo by Percy Anderson)

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics
Release: Monday 04/06/2015
Article Link
LOS ANGELES – UCLA men’s basketball freshman Kevon Looney has elected to forego his remaining collegiate eligibility and will enter the 2015 NBA Draft.
Looney earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2014-15, averaging 11.6 points and a team-leading 9.2 rebounds per game. He led all freshmen in the nation with 15 double-doubles and was second among freshmen with 9.2 rebounds per game. Looney also ranked second among all Pac-12 players in rebounding and double-doubles.
“This was a really tough decision for me because there were so many positives both ways,” Looney said. “My time at UCLA has been unbelievable, and I know I’ll be a Bruin forever. But playing in the NBA is a dream I’ve had for so long, and this feels like the right time to pursue that dream and make the transition to the next level. Coach Alford, our whole staff and all my teammates have been nothing but supportive of me, my family and my decision. I’m especially grateful to Coach Alford for everything he has done for me since I first stepped on campus last June. Without a doubt, coming to UCLA is the best decision I ever made, and I want everyone to understand that. I hope our fans will continue to support me at the next level as I continue my journey.”
A 6-foot-9 forward from Milwaukee, Wis., Looney helped UCLA advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. The Bruins compiled a 22-14 overall record and an 11-7 mark in Pac-12 play. Looney shot 47.0 percent from the field, making 41.5 percent of his three-point attempts. In addition to being earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors and being named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, Looney earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from CBS Sports on Tuesday.
“I know that this was not an easy choice for Kevon, and I completely support the decision to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “It’s difficult because on one hand, I couldn’t be more excited for Kevon while on the other, the realization hits you that we’re losing one of the finest young men that I’ve ever had an opportunity to coach. Kevon is exceptionally hard-working, extraordinarily humble and one of those guys who gives you everything he has on a nightly basis. And as good as Kevon was on the floor, he was an even better person off of it. He is exactly the type of player and person UCLA looks to recruit, and I know our fans really appreciated his effort and demeanor. We are all looking forward to seeing Kevon excel in the NBA, and we could not be prouder of him.”
Looney has the opportunity to add to UCLA’s storied tradition in the NBA. In fact, five players from UCLA’s 2013-14 team have earned playing time in the NBA this year – Zach LaVineJordan AdamsKyle AndersonTravis Wear andDavid Wear. One year ago, UCLA was the only program in the nation to have three first-round draft picks (LaVine, Adams and Anderson).
No college program has produced as many NBA draft selections as has UCLA (112, tied with Kentucky on the all-time list). Overall, the Bruins have had 37 first-round picks, including 15 within the draft’s top 10 overall selections. Since 1989, when the NBA Draft moved to a two-round format, UCLA has produced 34 draft selections.
The 2015 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 25 in New York City.