Friday, October 20, 2017

Toby Bailey: UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame Class Inducted Oct. 20






oct 16, 2017 | UCLA MEN'S BASKETBALL PAGE | POST LINK

The Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be honored at halftime of Saturday's Homecoming football game.

Story Links

Nine new members will be inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 20. The group will be honored at halftime of the UCLA-Oregon football game on Oct. 21. The members of the Class of 2017 are: Toby Bailey (men's basketball), Robin Beauregard (women's water polo), Monique Henderson (track & field), Maurice Jones-Drew (football), Bob Larsen (track & field/cross country coach), Kristen Maloney (gymnastics), Brandon Taliaferro (men's volleyball),and Gina Vecchione (softball). Additionally, Bobby Field will be inducted for his extraordinary service to the athletic department.

The Hall of Fame class includes seven Bruins who have totaled 17 national championships between them as either a player or coach (Bailey, Beauregard, Henderson, Larsen, Maloney, Taliaferro and Vecchione); three Olympians who combined for five medals (Beauregard, Henderson, Maloney); and a three-time Pro-Bowler (Jones-Drew).

Following are biographies on the 2017 UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame inductees:

Toby Bailey (Men's Basketball, 1995-98)
As a freshman in 1995, Toby Bailey led UCLA to its 11th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship with a 26-point, nine-rebound performance in the title game. A four-year letterman, he finished his career as the No. 5 all-time scorer at UCLA with 1,846 points, averaging 14.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 129 career games. He ranks ninth at UCLA with 458 career assists and eighth with 171 three-point field goals made. Bailey earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors from 1996-98 and was UCLA's Co-MVP in 1996 and 1998. He was a second-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Lakers and played for two seasons with the Phoenix Suns before completing his career in Europe.

Robin Beauregard (Women's Water Polo, 1998-03)
Robin Beauregard won three national championships as a Bruin; in 1998 as a true freshman, in 2001 after redshirting two seasons to train for the Olympics, and again as a senior in 2003. A four-time All-American, Beauregard was a two-time nominee for the Peter J. Cutino Award, honoring the top collegiate player, and in 2003, she was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2003 NCAA Championship. She competed for Team USA at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, winning silver in 2000 and bronze in 2004, and she also captured gold at the 2003 World Championships. Beauregard was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2011.

Monique Henderson (Women's Track & Field, 2002-05)
Monique Henderson had a storied career at UCLA, winning three NCAA titles (2004 outdoor team and 400m, 2002 indoor DMR), seven Pac-12 titles and 10 All-America awards, not to mention an Olympic gold medal in the 4x400m relay following her junior season. Henderson went on to capture Olympic gold again in 2008. In 2004, she scored 11.25 of UCLA's 69 points to help the Bruins capture the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Still UCLA's record-holder in five events (400m outdoor, 4x400m relay indoor and outdoor, 200m indoor, DMR), Henderson is also the Pac-12 record-holder in the 400m, clocking in a time of 49.96 in 2005. She was the Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Year in 2005 and Newcomer of the Year in 2002 and was named to the elite Pac-12 All-Century Team.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Football, 2003-05)
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew electrified Bruin fans with record-breaking performances on the gridiron. By the end of his playing career at UCLA, he had set school records in career and single-season all-purpose yards, touchdowns in a game, single-game rushing yards, and single-season punt returns for touchdowns. He also set a NCAA record that still stands with a punt return average of 28.5 yards in 2005 and went on to earn first-team All-America honors as an all-purpose back/kick returner. Jones-Drew was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and was a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time 1,000-yard rusher (2009-11), leading the league in rushing in 2011 with 1,606 yards. After retiring from the NFL in 2015, he became an analyst with the NFL Network and is currently on the radio broadcast team for the L.A. Rams.

Bob Larsen (Men's Track & Field Coach, 1985-99/Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach, 1980-99)
Distance guru Bob Larsen led the UCLA men's track and field teams to two NCAA Championships, nine Pac-12 titles and four national dual meet titles during his nearly 20 years as head coach. He had an incredible dual meet record of 118-3-1 that included an unbeaten 15-year dual mark versus rival USC. In cross country, he led UCLA to two conference crowns and six NCAA appearances. The four-time NCAA Coach of the Year guided 13 athletes to a total of 25 national championships and was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2013. Larsen's star runner Meb Keflezighi, also a UCLA Athletic Hall of Famer, became the first Marathon runner in history win an Olympic medal and the Boston and New York City Marathons.

Kristen Maloney, Women's Gymnastics (2001-05)
Kristen Maloney's legacy with UCLA Gymnastics can be summed up in the team award that was named after her – the Kristen Maloney Heart of a Champion Award. The 2000 Olympic bronze medalist fought through multiple surgeries and a nearly career-ending bone infection to become a five-time NCAA champion and nine-time All-American. Maloney helped lead UCLA to the 2001 NCAA title as a freshman but was forced to sit out both the 2002 and 2003 seasons due to complications from the surgeries. She returned in 2004 to help the Bruins win another NCAA team title in record-breaking fashion, and in 2005 she was the Honda Award winner, as well as the National, West Region and Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year. She won three events and the all-around at the 2005 Pac-12 Championships and finished her career by winning the vault and beam titles at the NCAA Championships.

Brandon Taliaferro, Men's Volleyball (1997-2000)
One of the best setters in collegiate volleyball history, Brandon Taliaferro led UCLA to NCAA Championships in 1998 and 2000 and finished his career as the Bruins' all-time leader in set assists with 6,840. Taliaferro also owns school records for single-season (1,848 in 1998) and single-match (110 in 1998) set assists and ranks No. 3 in career aces (176), No. 3 in career digs (831) and No. 10 in total blocks (396). He began his Bruin career by winning MPSF Freshman of the Year honors in 1997 and finished it as a three-time first-team All-American and All-MPSF honoree and the 2000 NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player. Taliaferro went on to play for the U.S. National Team from 2000-03 and 2006-08 and was named to the Pac-12 Men's Volleyball All-Century Team.

Gina Vecchione, Softball (1980-82)
A member of UCLA's first NCAA Softball Championship team, Gina Vecchione excelled at UCLA as a player and assistant coach. During her playing career, she earned All-Pacific Region honors three times and was a second-team All-American in 1982, as well as a member of the 1982 All-Women's College World Series team. Vecchione, who had her #2 jersey retired in 2007, led UCLA in doubles and tied for the team lead in triples and RBI in 1981. She was later named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team. Vecchione went on to play 12 years professionally with the Raybestos Brakettes, winning eight ASA titles and three World titles. She was a seven-time ASA All-American and became the first UCLA player ever to be inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame in 1997. Vecchione coached at UCLA from 2000-12, helping guide the Bruins to three additional NCAA titles (2003, 2004, 2010). She is currently an associate head coach at Cal Poly.

Bobby Field, Extraordinary Service (Football Coach, 1978-79, 1981-2000; Administrator, 2001-13)
Bobby Field spent 35 years impacting UCLA student-athlete lives as either a coach or administrator. He coached football for 22 years from 1978-79 and 1981-2000, serving as defensive coordinator for 16 years and assistant head coach for five years. He helped coach UCLA to seven conference championships (the most all-time for a UCLA coach) and five Rose Bowl appearances. He was also part of an NCAA-record eight consecutive bowl wins and helped coach UCLA to 15 bowl games and a winning record against every conference opponent. He moved into an administrative role in 2001 and served as the sport supervisor for football, rowing, track and field and golf, in addition to overseeing housing, parking, training table and video services for all sports. He also oversaw the transition of women's rowing from a club sport to a varsity sport. Field and his wife, UCLA Gymnastics head coach Valorie Kondos Field (2010 inductee), become the first-ever married couple to be inducted into UCLA's Athletic Hall of Fame.

MBB Info Guide 2017-18

Click on cover to peruse

Monday, October 16, 2017

2018 Verbal Commit 4-STAR Jules Bernard 6-5 170 SG (Winward HS, Los Angeles, CA)


Windward's Jules Bernard commits to UCLA

oct 10, 2017 | eric sondheimer | THE L.A. TIMES | ARTICLE LINK

"This journey started when I was 4 years old," Windward's Jules Bernard said on a video released Tuesday as he announced a commitment to UCLA.
He ended it with, "This is where I'm from and this is where I'm going to stay."
You certainly have to say Bernard is pretty loyal. He has stayed at Windward for six years and didn't leave when the Wildcats had coaching issues and others did leave.
Now he's staying close to home by picking the Bruins. He's the latest from the Compton Magic AAU program to land at UCLA.
He's a wing player who averaged 25.3 points as a junior for Windward. He also averaged 13.7 rebounds. He's 6 feet 7, athletic and versatile.
He's the second player from the class of 2018 to commit to UCLA, joining guard David Singleton of Bishop Montgomery.


oct 11, 2017 | cam smith | usa today | ARTICLE LINK
It’s still early, but UCLA’s recruiting class for the Class of 2018 is officially heating up after the commitment of four-star shooting guard Jules Bernard.
For Bernard, the decision was easy. The Bruins represent a hometown option for one of the nation’s top-50 overall recruits. They also represent an opportunity to team up with four-star guard David Singleton III. Like Bernard, Singleton III hails from Southern California and was drawn to UCLA by its prestige and coach Steve Alford  willingness to play a talented freshman.
Of course, given the ongoing investigations into college basketball recruiting and improper benefits for players, it’s also at least possible that Los Angeles Windward School star Bernard’s decision was driven by a deep desire to avoid any program that could be implicated in the ever-expanded probe.
Here are the other schools Bernard listed as finalists: Kansas, Miami, Oregon and USC. We already know that both Miami and USC are under investigation for their own actions related to recruiting and athlete benefits. It’s unknown if Kansas or Oregon could face similar charges and penalties in the months ahead, or UCLA for that matter.
UCLA has thus far skated free from any significant connection with scandal, and to be fair the school’s new uniform contract could not have come any sooner (or better). The team’s first season as an Under Armour school is apparently coinciding with the brand’s skating outside the blast radius of the ongoing scandal.
Whatever the reason, Bernard is in the fold for UCLA, and that’s very good news for Alford and UCLA fans everywhere.

4-Star SG Prospect Jules Bernard Commits to UCLA over Kansas, Miami, More


oct 10, 2017 | rob goldberg | bleacher report | post LINK
Jules Bernard is headed to UCLA after the shooting guard announced his commitment Tuesday.
Bernard told Evan Daniels of Scout.com about his decision to play for the Bruins starting in 2018. 
"I chose to commit to UCLA because I think it's a perfect fit for me," Bernard said. "I think the coaching staff is one that I've created a great relationship with. They've put so much time and effort into recruiting me and believing in my game."
247Sports lists the 4-star prospect as the No. 46 overall player in the 2018 class, including the sixth-best shooting guard. He is also the No. 6 player from California.
Bernard succeeds offensively thanks to his athleticism and size at 6'6". He has good enough handles to penetrate into the lane, and he gets high enough to finish over most defenders.
His creativity is also useful once he gets near the basket. 
While his slashing ability is his best attribute, the wing can also fill up the box score with his passing, rebounding and defense. 
He could still improve his outside shot to make him a more dangerous scorer, but he already has the skill set to make him a quality contributor.
Bernard also knows what he needs to do physically to reach his lofty goal.
"I still have room to grow—strength-wise—and it shows me more I have to grow to be an NBA-caliber player," he said after spending time with Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, per Drew Ruiz of Slam.
If he develops like he should, he has a chance to play in the NBA.
UCLA has shown it can produce NBA talent over the years, most recently with Lonzo Ball, and the Los Angeles native will try to be the next in line.
In the meantime, Bernard will be a quality two-way player who can provide a big help to the Bruins over the next few seasons. 

UCLA adds a second wing scorer in Jules Bernard

Top 50 ranked prospect Jules Bernard joins four-star David Singleton in the UCLA 2018 recruiting class, giving the Bruins a formidable wing scoring duo.

oct 10, 2017 | jerry meyer | 247sports.com | post LINK
Top 50 ranked prospect Jules Bernard joins four-star David Singleton in the UCLA 2018 recruiting class, giving the Bruins a formidable wing scoring duo.
Ranked No. 46 in the 247Sports Composite, Bernard is a 6-6 wing out of Los Angeles (Calif.) Windward School. He is a natural scorer with a solid all around game and a great feel for the game.
At 6-4 and ranked No. 58 in the 247Sports Composite, Singleton is a top wing scorer as well.
The pair give UCLA the No. 25 ranked class in the 247Sports Composite Recruiting Rankings.
The Bruins are also targeting power forward Jordan Brown, Kevin ZhangZion Williamson and others.

UCLA lands 4-star SG Jules Bernard

oct 10, 2017 | raphielle johnson | NBCsports.com | ARTICLE LINK
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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

UCLA basketball’s youth shines at Venice Beach kickoff event



oct 7, 2017 | THUC NHI NGUYEN | o.c. register | ARTICLE LINK

VENICE — With both hands on Steve Alford’s arms, Jaylen Hands carefully positioned the UCLA men’s basketball head coach under the basket. The freshman from San Diego wiped his shoes, squeaking his sneakers on the hardwood court that was starting to gather condensation as the sun set over Venice Beach.
The approach was slow. A two long steps and a dribble. Then Hands exploded over Alford’s head, slamming a one-handed dunk through the net. The crowd roared at the McDonald’s All-American who made quite an impression during his first public appearance in a UCLA jersey.
From Hands’ 360-dunks during warm-ups to an impromptu dance party at center court, UCLA’s vivacious six-man freshman class stole the show during UCLA basketball’s kickoff event at Venice Beach on Saturday that featured both men’s and women’s teams. After losing three NBA draft picks, including star point guard Lonzo Ball, from last year’s Sweet 16 team, the Bruins will need contributions from their freshmen on and off the court to have a chance at contending for titles this season.
“I love their personality,” Alford said of UCLA’s freshman class that is ranked fifth in the country by ESPN. “It’s personality, it’s swag, it’s whatever you want to call it. … Most freshmen, they’re not going to try to do all that, they just kind of fit in, and these six have really stepped in right away.”
Hands faced off with fellow freshman Kris Wilkes in the dunk contest finals. Hands won it with a perfect 50-point score and a fan vote. Wilkes enlisted another freshman, 6-foot-10 forward Cody Riley, to toss the ball off the side of the backboard, but Riley was eventually replaced by junior Aaron Holiday on the final attempt. Holiday delivered a dime for Wilkes’ reverse dunk.
Guards LiAngelo Ball and Chris Smith and forward Jalen Hill round out UCLA’s highly touted freshmen.
“From the get-go, from the summer time, we all started bonding well, we got to know each other and know each other’s backgrounds,” Wilkes said of the freshman class. “The older guys, we got to talk to them more and we’re all one cohesive unit so we should all shine together.”
Alford, entering his fifth season in Westwood, said the team is likely the deepest, tallest and most athletic group he’s had during his UCLA tenure. With Smith and Wilkes, the Bruins have 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-8 guards. Hands is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound athletic dynamo. Ball showed a slimmed-down figure Saturday that Alford said has helped his overall game improve.
Veterans Thomas Welsh and Holiday offer necessary balance to the young roster.
“They’re a goofy group,” said Welsh, a senior center who is UCLA’s only returning starter from last year. “But they’re fun. They’re great people to have in the locker room but they work hard too and that’s what you really care about.”
The women’s team that is coming off back-to-back Sweet 16 runs also showed off its young talent in the joint showcase. Freshman guard Chantel Horvat won the knockout challenge that featured players from both teams and UCLA students. Senior guard Kelli Hayes won the skills challenge for the women’s team, besting Holiday in the final. Holiday won the 3-point contest by one point over junior guard Kennedy Burke.
The women’s team has four freshmen and return All-Pac-12 honorees Jordin Canada and Monique Billings. Billings, a 6-foot-4 forward, even advanced to the finals of the dunk contest.
“We got a lot of really great returning players but with an influx of really exciting freshmen. Both programs sort of mirror that, which is really fun,” women’s basketball head coach Cori Close said. “I fully expect both programs will be playing in regionals, or regional finals or Final Fours.”

Monday, October 9, 2017

UCLA awards basketball coach Steve Alford a one-year contract extension

oct 6, 2017 | BEN BOLCH | THE L.A. TIMES | ARTICLE LINK
Steve Alford got his year back.
UCLA announced Friday that it had awarded its men’s basketball coach a one-year contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season, more than a year after Alford had returned a previous one-year extension in the wake of a losing season.
The Bruins went 31-5 last season and reached an NCAA tournament regional semifinal for the third time in Alford’s four seasons at the school. UCLA tied a school record with 28 regular-season wins while going 15-3 in the Pac-12 Conference.
“Steve did an outstanding job, helping produce one of the nation’s most exciting offensive teams in recent memory,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement announcing the contract extension. “There was a significant buzz about UCLA basketball around town and among the sellout crowds at Pauley Pavilion. As such, he certainly earned back the one-year extension that he had voluntarily returned prior to the season. We are looking forward to seeing what 2017-18 brings.”

UCLA’s seven-man freshman class features McDonald’s All-Americans Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes and has been widely ranked among the best in the country. The freshmen will join senior center Thomas Welsh and junior guard Aaron Holiday, who will return after initially declaring for the NBA draft to receive evaluations about their professional prospects and areas to target for improvement.
Alford returned a one-year extension in March 2016 after the Bruins completed a 15-17 season. They more than doubled that victory total last season while finishing second in the nation in points per game (89.9) and leading all Division I teams in assists per game, (21.4), field-goal accuracy (52.2%) and assist-to-turnover ration (1.91).
Alford has compiled a 96-45 record in four seasons at UCLA, producing nine NBA draft selections, including Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, the second overall pick in the most recent draft.
UCLA also announced that Duane Broussard, a longtime assistant under Alford going back to his tenure at New Mexico, had been elevated to the position of associate head coach.

The Bruins will play Cal State Los Angeles in their exhibition opener on Nov. 1 at Pauley Pavilion.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

UCLA's Bruins at the Beach Set for Oct. 7


sep 27, 2017 | UCLA MEN'S BASKETBALL PAGE | POST LINK

Free, day-long event to take place at world-famous Venice Beach Courts.

LOS ANGELES – UCLA and Under Armour will take over the world-famous Venice Beach Courts on Saturday, Oct. 7, for Bruins at the Beach, celebrating the UCLA/Under Armour partnership, and all that's iconic about both Los Angeles and UCLA Athletics.

The free, day-long event will begin at 10:00 a.m. It is open to the public, and will be highlighted by a special two-hour showcase featuring the UCLA men's and women's basketball teams in the late afternoon (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.). This event will be the first opportunity to see the teams' new blue Under Armour uniforms. General admission seating at the Courts is limited, and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Home to some of the most legendary 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments in the country, the Venice Beach Courts will see UCLA replicate that format during the first Saturday in October. Alumni teams from both the UCLA men's and women's basketball programs, in addition to various local Los Angeles influencers, will take part in Battle of the Boardwalk, an elimination-style 3-on-3 tournament beginning at noon.

The events lineup for the day begins at 10:00 a.m. with a free Yoga on the Hardwood class led by UCLA alumna and former women's basketball player Lindsey Pluimer. Members of the UCLA Gymnastics team and UCLA Gymnastics alumna Samantha Peszek will participate in Yoga on the Hardwood. UCLA students and fans are invited to bring their yoga mats for a practice unlike any other.

Throughout the day, Bruins at the Beach also will feature musical entertainment provided by student DJs, performances by the UCLA Spirit Squad, live street art in conjunction with the Venice Public Art Walls, food trucks, apparel pop-up shops, and more.

Under Armour ICON Stations will be on site, allowing fans to customize Under Armour footwear and incorporate the local works of Venice Beach artists. Designed shoes from the ICON Stations will be made available for immediate purchase with free shipping for any deliveries to UCLA student residences.

Bruins at the Beach on Oct. 7 takes place just a few weeks before the men's and women's basketball teams return to the court in Pauley Pavilion.

The men's basketball team will return to Pauley Pavilion against Cal State Los Angeles for an exhibition game on Wednesday, Nov. 1, three days before the Bruins will depart for Shanghai, China, for their season opener against Georgia Tech (Nov. 10).

The women's basketball team will face Vanguard University in an exhibition game in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 5, before opening the regular season at home against San Jose State on Friday, Nov. 10.

Season ticket packages for 2017-18 men's basketball campaign are on sale for less than $19 per game. To secure seats for all the home games in 2017-18, call (310) 206-5991 or visit uclabruins.com/tickets. Fans can click here to download the men's basketball schedule directly to their calendar.

Women's basketball season ticket packages are on sale, starting as low as $99. To secure seats in Pauley Pavilion for the upcoming season, call (310) 206-5991 or click here. Fans can click here to download the women's basketball schedule directly to their calendar.

Bruins at the Beach event lineup (Venice Beach Courts):
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Yoga on the Hardwood
12:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Battle of the Boardwalk (3-on-3 tournament)
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – UCLA men's and women's basketball showcase

Friday, September 29, 2017

Street & Smith 2017-18 UCLA Preview

formerly "Sporting News," S&S has UCLA ranked #16. 




 





































Incoming UCLA Bruins: #23 Wilkes, #24 Hands, #48 Riley, #63 Hill.



Monday, September 25, 2017

Whole New Ball Game


Love ’em or hate ’em, this much is fact: The Ball family has bum-rushed the world of basketball with such force that they’ve become impossible to ignore. Here, LaVar Ball, the captain of the ship, writes about how their independent brand came together and the motivation behind the movement.


July 06, 2017 | Article Link


Ownership and independence is everything.
Our family’s movement is about letting other parents and prospects know, “Hey, you don’t have to feel pressured into thinking that there aren’t many options. There’s a different route that you can take in this.”
All we want to do is plant the seed and watch it grow. Show people that it can be done. Show parents that it’s possible: We don’t need the big companies. They need us. And so we should work together.
Big Baller Brand wants to show the next generation that there’s a difference between building wealth and just being rich. This isn’t about getting that early money—just another athlete signing a regular endorsement deal. That would have been the easier route. But we’ve embarked on a mission. We want to go beyond just inspiring athletes. It’s about those small business owners that stay up at night plotting their next move and figuring out how to stay afloat.
We know of the impact that this is having on the industry because we’ve already witnessed a larger conversation rise as a result of Lonzo announcing his ZO2 signature shoe. The dialogue that it has started is a step in the right direction. It shows that we’ve already made progress.
One of the most important things that a parent can do for their kid is to stay involved. In the sports world, many parents have let so many people into their kids’ inner circle that there are meetings happening and yet they’re not even invited to any of them. Your son is the endorser but gets no say in it—yet he’s doing all the work. As parents, we have to understand our value, and the value of our children.
When Zo was a freshman in high school, my wife Tina and I were looking at how these endorsement deals work and we said, “We gotta do our own thing.” We had already been doing our thing with the Big Ballers AAU program. As time went on, we just kept the plan on the back burner until it was time—which was when Zo, LiAngelo and LaMelo were on the same team at the same time. That was the magical season we had in 2015-16, when Chino Hills HS went 35-0.
In April of 2016 our conversations turned into action. We said, “We gotta do something on our own, to represent this brand by ourselves.” By the end of the month, we had our first batch of Big Baller Brand merchandise, all stacked up on the pool table at the house. Then it just grew bigger and bigger. Now we’re stacking them up at the factory.
This movement isn’t about throwing away a bunch of money. When I said, “You’re not a big baller if you don’t buy these shoes,” it was about dedication, discipline and following your goals to earn enough to purchase something you want to own. Not just a dream, but a goal—you can dream all day, but when you have goals, you have a timeline.
When something new comes up, you’re going to get some other people to try it. Some will be successful and some won’t. All I want is for everybody who thinks about doing something similar to what our family is doing to at least have faith in it. Blockbuster used to be the thing every weekend, but then came Netflix. You gotta change with the times. And once the athletes say, “Hey, you know what? I don’t have to do it this way. I am the brand,” then that’s when the game changes.
Let’s say the top five picks in each of the next five drafts say they don’t want an endorsement deal. Or, if they do decide they want to sign an endorsement deal, they immediately ask, “Where’s my signature shoe? Can I get it by next month?” Then what?
I hope prospects and their parents start to visualize this. If you don’t invest in your own, who will?
Ten years from now, people will look back and understand what I was saying.
There’s a difference between being famous, rich and wealthy. Anybody can become famous and get rich. But can you stay rich? That’s the hard part and that’s where wealth comes in.
I’m proud of how my boys have handled it all. Earlier this year the mother of one of Melo’s friends took him to the same mall they’ve been going to since they were kids. Melo walked in and word got out that he was there. Next thing you know, kids are rushing toward him and security was like, “We can’t have this.” They had to step in, back everyone away and Melo had to be escorted out the side of the mall. And that’s when we saw that this movement is going to a whole different level.
The countless hours that Zo, Gelo and Melo have put in to get to this point—no one can ever take that away from them. They’ve invested so much time and effort into their craft. Zo turned the UCLA program around this year, Gelo led the state of California in scoring, and Melo is now under a microscope in ways that no other high school player has ever been before.
Our family has put a lot of work into this movement. We’re happy with the quality of the ZO2s. I would never put my own son in a shoe that’s going to put him at risk of getting hurt.
We just want to inspire people and show them that there’s a different lane you can travel in. It’s OK to step out and do it another way. Only a select few will do it, but folks will start creating their own brands, like we’ve done with BBB, and more and more families will begin feeling comfortable with betting on themselves.
You just gotta have the vision. Without the vision, you have no precision.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lindy's Sports 2017-18 UCLA Preview

Lindy's Sports has UCLA at #24. Go, Bruins!!!

I tried to re-scan sections that were hard to read on the full page layout.





































Top 100 Freshmen for 2017

This is prior to Bagley III reclassifying, who most likely would have been #1 and would have bumped everyone on this list down a notch. 

#13 Hands, #36 Wilkes, #43 Riley, #82 LiAngelo Ball, and #84 Jalen Hill.  




Saturday, September 9, 2017

Athlon Sports 2017-18 UCLA preview

Even with Aaron Holiday (12.3 pts, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rbds) and Thomas Welsh (10.8 pts, 8.7 rbds) returning, a loaded freshman class, UCLA does not crack the Top 25. Athlon predicts the Bruins to be two-and-out in the tournament. SC predicted to be a Sweet 16 team. 





UCLA not projected Top 25







Aaron (#41) and Thomas (#54) got in the Top 100 players for next 
season. 







































Recruiting 2017
Prior to Bagley III reclassifying, #21 Wilkes, #22 Hands, #46 Riley, #61 Hill.