Sunday, December 27, 2015

How Bob Myers went from UCLA walk-on to architect of Warriors NBA championship

The man forged a path as exciting as the Warriors’ prolific play. His journey became as dizzying as when opposing teams defend Golden State’s 3-point shooting with little success. His fortunes appeared as rich as the Warriors’ likely NBA-record 16-game winning streak to open the season when they host the Lakers (2-11) on Tuesday at the Oracle.
Bob Myers leaped from UCLA walk-on to a scholarship player on the Bruins’ 1995 NCAA championship team. After studying at Loyola Law School, Myers studied under prominent sports agent Arn Tellem well enough to become one of his associates. Three years after becoming the second-youngest general manager in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, Myers oversaw a championship roster that partly reflected his image.
“Cultivating a championship team was not anything I dreamed of doing,” Myers said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “I can only look back and see how it all occurred.”
The commemorative cover of Sports Illustrated focused on Tyus Edney, the UCLA point guard hanging in the air after nailing a game-winner against Missouri in the 1995 NCAA tournament. The man who hoisted Edney was Myers, whose head was visible in the SI photograph to anyone who bothered looking.
Nearly 20 years later, Myers called the cover a “perfect picture” for how it epitomized his life story.
“I’m always behind the scenes and always trying to help something or someone succeed,” Myers said. “But I’m not the focal point.”
But it was not too long ago that Myers was not even in the picture.
His high school basketball career at Monte Vista ended early after San Ramon Valley center and current Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen made a game-winner over Myers in a playoff game. Myers sent out tapes to the University of Washington, UC Santa Barbara and a handful of other schools, though he conceded “there are not a lot of highlights.” Those schools apparently agreed.
So, Myers enrolled at UCLA to become a business and economics major. He also planned to play for the school’s crew team. But then Myers randomly ran into UCLA assistant coach Steve Lavin, who encouraged him to try for the basketball team.
Myers listened to his advice. Former UCLA coach Jim Harrick believed Myers could challenge his scholarship players in practice with his hustle and 6-foot-6 frame. He averaged only 0.3 points per game during the Bruins’ national title season. But in the 1996-97 campaign his junior year, Myers established career highs in points (20) and minutes played (22) in a win over Oregon State. He soon became a part-time starter.
“He really gained the respect of all the players with how he played hard,” Harrick said of Myers. “He helped us in every way.”
Through it all, Lavin affectionately called Myers “Forrest Gump,” with how the seemingly every-day man unexpectedly experienced lavish experiences.
Following the Bruins’ championship run, Myers met with President Clinton, appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and participated in the parade at Disneyland. Myers also enjoyed lunches with the late former ULCA coach John Wooden, who offered infinite wisdom.
“Wooden had always said ‘luck is when preparation meets opportunity,’” Myers recalled. “So maybe my whole life I was preparing to be a hard worker so I could have that opportunity at UCLA.”

Myers may not have enjoyed opportunities for a professional basketball career in Europe as he hoped. But opportunities soon opened elsewhere.
As Myers logged 15-hour workdays as a student at Loyola Law School, Harrick contacted Tellem about interning with his agency. Myers soon shadowed Tellem at players union meetings before quickly becoming one of his associates. Myers then represented a handful of stars, such as Brandon Roy, Brook Lopez and Antawn Jamison, and negotiated more than $575 million in contracts.
“He had impeccable relationships with the clients. More importantly, he became a friend and valuable part of the company,” said Casey Wasserman, of Wasserman Media Group. “His success he’s having now is no surprise to me or to anyone else who have worked with him.”
Hence, Tellem soon introduced Myers to Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge and Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob. Then, Lacob learned about Myers’ affection for the Warriors’ franchise.
In his wallet, Myers has kept the ticket stub of his first Warriors game he attended on Jan. 15, 1982, against the New York Knicks. Myers became attached to the “Run TMC” Warriors that featured Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Myers grew restless over the Warriors not winning an NBA championship since 1975.
Little did he know, Myers set the hook for his next job.

In April 2011, the Warriors hired Myers as their assistant general manager after becoming impressed with his personality, extensive contact list and work ethic.
“It was kind of a gamble because there were no assurances,” Myers said. “This is a very volatile industry being in the front office. I was taking a big risk.”
But it turned into a big reward.
The Warriors promoted Myers to general manager within a year. He then oversaw a significant number of moves that contributed to Golden State’s championship run in 2015, including an NBA-best 67-15 record.
Myers oversaw Golden State’s five-player deal that secured Andrew Bogut while shipping Monta Ellis as the centerpiece. Myers negotiated the four-year, $44 million extension in 2012 for Stephen Curry, who became last year’s regular-season MVP.
Myers was involved in hiring Steve Kerr as head coach after the Warriors fired Mark Jackson following the 2014 offseason. Later that summer, Myers resisted pressure from Minnesota to trade Klay Thompson in a deal that would have landed them Kevin Love. The Warriors also have arranged their cap space to have enough flexibility to secure a max-level free-agent next summer.
“We enjoy the discussion and enjoy debate,” Myers said, crediting Warriors co-owners Lacob and Peter Guber, assistant general managers Travis Schlenk and Kirk Lacob as well as advisor Jerry West. “That’s why we’ve been able to get our decisions more right than wrong. We’re certainly not going to be right all the time. But it’s a process.”
Through that process, Myers has gained respect for his approach.
“He’s not afraid to ask for peoples’ opinions and he’s very open-minded. He just wants what is best for the team,” Thompson said. “I’m grateful they had great faith in me. I wanted to prove them right.”
Thus far, Myers has proven the Warriors right by continuing to navigate a path he would have never envisioned. All of which prompted him to quote former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
“‘You cannot connect the dots looking forward,’” Myers said. “‘You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.’”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

UCLA Downs McNeese State, 67-53

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LOS ANGELES - UCLA closed non-conference play with a 67-53 win over McNeese State on Tuesday evening at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins (9-4) received double-double performances from Isaac Hamilton (18 points, career-high 11 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (16 points, career-high 14 rebounds).
The first half was a game of runs, as UCLA went on an 8-0 run to turn a 9-9 game into a 17-9 advantage. McNeese State (2-8) countered with eight-straight points of its own to tie it up again at 17-17 before the Bruins went on another run, scoring nine straight, to regain the lead at 26-17 on a Hamilton layup. But McNeese State’s hot three-point shooting kept the Cowboys close, as they shot 6-of-14 from beyond the arc to keep UCLA’s advantage to just 30-27 at halftime.
The Cowboys’ hot shooting continued at the start of the second half, as a three-pointer by Jarren Greenwood tied the score at 30-30. UCLA answered, however, with a 13-2 run to take a 43-32 lead, its biggest of the game.
Consecutive baskets by Welsh increased UCLA’s lead to 12, at 56-44, with 9:11 to play, and the Cowboys never got closer than seven after that.
Along with Hamilton and Welsh, two other Bruins scored in double-figures – Bryce Alford with 13 points and eight assists and Aaron Holiday with 12 points. Tony Parker added six points with 11 rebounds. Jamaya Burr led McNeese State with 15 points, and Greenwood added 12.
The Bruins will begin Pac-12 Conference play on January 1 at Washington.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

No. 22 UCLA Falls to No. 11 UNC, 89-76

Tony Parker logged his seventh double-double of the year (photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Getty Images
By: UCLA Athletics
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BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Isaac Hamilton scored a season-high 23 points as No. 22 UCLA lost to No. 11 North Carolina, 89-76, on Saturday afternoon in a CBS Sports Classic game at the Barclays Center.
Hamilton connected on each of his first four 3-point attempts, all in the first 10 minutes, as the Bruins (8-4) saw a season-high five game winning streak end.
Tony Parker logged his Pac-12-leading seventh double-double in 12 games, totaling 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Bryce Alford netted 15 points and Thomas Welsh finished with 10.
Brice Johnson totaled a game-leading 27 points for North Carolina (9-2), making 11 of 12 shots from the field, and added a team-best nine rebounds. Joel Berry (17 points), Isaiah Hicks (12 points) and Marcus Paige (10 points) rounded out the Tar Heels’ list of double-figure scorers.
UCLA led throughout the majority of the game’s first half and entered the locker room at the break tied, 38-38. The Tar Heels opened the second half with an 8-0 scoring run before UCLA closed the margin to 50-47 with 15:47 remaining.
A tip-in by Welsh with 11:18 to play cut North Carolina’s advantage to 58-55. The Tar Heels opened their margin with just over 10 minutes to go, using a 13-0 scoring run to secure a 73-57 lead with 6:26 to play.
While the Tar Heels controlled much of the second half, UCLA raced out to the game’s first double-digit lead. The Bruins led by as many as 11 points (26-15) with 10:04 to play, as an Alford 3-pointer game UCLA its largest advantage of the afternoon.
Much like during UCLA’s win against Gonzaga one week ago, Hamilton was on target early for the Bruins. The junior guard from Los Angeles nailed each of his first four 3-point attempts, including a pair of treys within the game’s first three minutes. By the 14:39 mark, Hamilton’s 12 points had outscored the Tar Heels, as he had help give UCLA an early 16-9 cushion.
Trailing 33-25 with 5:22 to play before halftime, North Carolina reduced UCLA’s margin to 33-30 as Johnson scored eight consecutive points for the Tar Heels. UNC claimed a 38-36 lead with 1:19 to play before halftime, before Alford hit a mid-range jumper with four seconds to play before the halftime buzzer sounded.
The Bruins return to action against McNeese State on Tuesday, Dec. 22, in what will be the team’s final regular-season non-conference game. Game time in Pauley Pavilion is 8 p.m.

Zee Box

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Prince Ali brings his Bronx game to UCLA

Click on photo above or go to the LA Times link

Thanks to UCLA Men's Basketball on Facebook for the link. 

This Life - Tony Parker

Video Link on 

Hella funny, Tony P. Even back in the

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

UCLA Downs Louisiana-Lafayette, 89-80

By: UCLA Athletics
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LOS ANGELES - Bryce Alford scored a season-high 27 points to lead the No. 22 UCLA basketball team past Louisiana-Lafayette, 89-80, in Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday night.
The Bruins (8-3) registered their fifth consecutive win just three days after taking down No. 20 Gonzaga on the road, 71-66. Isaac Hamilton scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Tony Parker finished with 19 points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
“I thought we started really well,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “I think what happened was that we haven’t been up by 20 points in a while, and we got up by 19 or 20 and we relaxed.”
Louisiana-Lafayette (3-5) entered Tuesday night’s non-conference affair ranking third, nationally, in points per game (90.0). The Ragin’ Cajuns were led by Shawn Long’s 26 points and 16 rebounds.
The Bruins opened the game with an 8-0 scoring run, playing without the services of sophomore centerThomas Welsh (stomach virus) and freshman guard Prince Ali (bone bruise, left knee). UCLA pushed its early advantage to as many as 19 points with 6:57 to play before halftime and entered the locker room at the break with a 47-35 cushion.
Bryce Alford scored 17 points in the first half, connecting on 7 of 9 shots and 3 of 4 attempts from 3-point range. He finished with 27 points, making 10 of 15 field goals, and also registered a team-leading seven assists.
Louisiana-Lafayette (3-5) reduced UCLA’s advantage to as few as four points midway through the second half. After a layup by Parker gave the Bruins a 63-56 cushion, Hayward Register nailed a 3-pointer to reduce the margin to 63-59 at the 10:13 mark. UCLA immediately responded with an 11-2 scoring run to push its lead back to 13 points with 7:18 remaining.
Leading 79-73, UCLA received a 3-pointer from Alford to extend its cushion to 82-73 with just 1:55 to play in regulation.
“We got tested, but without Thomas [Welsh] and Prince [Ali], two guys who have been in our rotation, we had some guys step up,” Coach Alford said. “I thought Bryce, Isaac and Tony were really good. Bryce made some huge plays for us and Isaac, before he got in foul trouble, was doing a lot of good things.”
The Bruins will return to action against No. 11 North Carolina (7-2) in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday, Dec. 19. The game will be played at the Barclays Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Game time is 10 a.m. (PT). UCLA’s contest will be nationally televised by CBS.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sweet (16) Revenge!!! UCLA Wins at No. 20 Gonzaga, 71-66

By: UCLA Athletics
Spokane, Wash. - UCLA defeated its second Top 20 opponent in nine days, downing No. 20 Gonzaga, 71-66, on Saturday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Isaac Hamilton led four Bruins in double-figure scoring with 20 points. Tony Parker shot 8-of-9 from the field and scored 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Bryce Alford scored 13 points, breaking the 1,000 point barrier for his career, and Jonah Bolden recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
UCLA (7-3) jumped out to a 10-3 lead thanks to two buckets by Thomas Welsh and a pair of three-pointers by Hamilton. The Bruins extended their lead to as many as eight points, 13-5, after a three-pointer by Alford before Kyle Wiltjer's three-point shooting brought Gonzaga (6-3) to within three, 17-14. After just five minutes of play, the two teams combined to hit 12 of 16 shots, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Gonzaga took a 32-30 halftime lead after outscoring UCLA, 8-2, over the final four minutes of the half, and extended its lead to five points, 37-32, after an and-one from Domatas Sabonis.
Parker took over from there, scoring six of UCLA's eight points in an 8-2 Bruin run that saw UCLA regain the lead, 40-39.
After the lead see-sawed back and forth a few more times, UCLA went on another run midway through the second half to take the lead for good. Down 48-47, the Bruins scored nine-straight points, starting with another three-pointer by Hamilton and ending with a jumper by Alford that gave UCLA a 56-48 lead with 7:44 to play.
An Eric McClellan layup got Gonzaga to within one, 65-64, with 1:29 left to play, but Welsh put in a second-chance basket with 1:09 remaining, and Hamilton followed with a steal and layup to push UCLA's lead back up to five with 53 seconds left. Free throws by Josh Perkins made it a one-possession game, and Gonzaga got the ball back with 13 seconds to play and down three after an Alford three-pointer came off his hand a fraction too late to beat the shot clock. However, Kyle Dranginis' three-point attempt was no good, and Bolden grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Bolden's made free throws sealed the win for the Bruins with two seconds left.
The win was UCLA's second against a ranked team in the last nine days. The Bruins defeated No. 1 Kentucky in Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 3, 87-77.
UCLA will next host Louisiana-Lafayette in Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 6pm.

The Box

UCLA Downs Long Beach State, 83-76

UCLA Athletics
Isaac Hamilton finished with 21 points in UCLA's 83-76 victory (photo by Scott Chandler)
By: UCLA Athletics
Article Link
LOS ANGELES - Bryce Alford scored a season-high 24 points to help the UCLA basketball team defeat Long Beach State, 83-76, in a non-conference game in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday night.
Isaac Hamilton registered a season-best 21 points and registered four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Tony Parker (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (15 points, 10 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles, as UCLA overcame a nine-point deficit in the first half just three days after taking down No. 1-ranked Kentucky in Pauley Pavilion.
“This was going to be a tough game, and we knew it,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “That team [Long Beach State] has played a lot of good teams already. They are used to playing a difficult schedule. We knew it would be hard coming off the Kentucky win. But we can’t be a team of excuses. We need to be one of growth, and we did grow.”
Long Beach State (5-5), playing its third game in the last four days, claimed a narrow 38-37 lead at halftime and led by as many as four points early in the second half. With the 49ers ahead, 32-23, and 6:24 to play before intermission, UCLA chipped away with seven consecutive points scored by Alford.
After Parker stole the ball and hit a jumper with 2:30 remaining, Alford connected on a contested 3-pointer before falling to the ground as the game evened, 35-35.
The visiting 49ers received a team-leading 24 points from Nick Faust, who made 9 of 19 shots and nailed 5 of 11 three-point field goal attempts.
UCLA never trailed past the 18:16 mark in the second half, pushing its margin to as many as 12 points – 60-48 – with 13:20 to play. Long Beach State reduced the gap to three points – 68-65 – after an old-fashioned 3-point play by Roschon Prince with seven minutes remaining.
The 49ers got to within one point twice in the game’s final six minutes but could never take the lead. After Long Beach State’s Justin Bibbins made a pair of free throws to cut the Bruins’ lead to 72-71, Parker made a layup with 4:03 to play. Welsh followed with a jump shot, making the score 76-71 with 3:32 left in the second half.
UCLA helped put the game out of reach in the final minute. Hamilton was fouled while converting a layup under the glass and made the ensuing free throw, pushing the Bruins’ advantage to 81-76 with 50 seconds remaining.
The Bruins will return to action at No. 13 Gonzaga on Saturday, Dec. 12. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. (PT). UCLA’s game at Gonzaga will be nationally televised by ESPN2.

UCLA Defeats No. 1 Kentucky, 87-77

By: UCLA Athletics
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LOS ANGELES - UCLA shot 53 percent from the field and held top-ranked Kentucky to a 38 percent shooting performance in an 87-77 victory in front of 12,202 fans in Pauley Pavilion.
Thomas Welsh led five UCLA players in double figures with game-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton with 15 each, Tony Parker with 11, and Aaron Holiday with 10. Isaiah Briscoe led Kentucky with a career-high 20 points.
"I’m really proud of our guys," said UCLA head coach Steve Alford. "Obviously, we have a few freshmen who weren’t a part of last year’s game, but we have a lot of veterans here who were. When you go through what we had to go through last year playing Kentucky, it would have been real easy to show up and play tentative. We led this game for a lot of the 40 minutes and did it against this Kentucky team. For our guys to fight the way we fought against the number one team in the country was great."
It was a game pitting the two most storied programs in NCAA men’s basketball history – the 11-time NCAA champion Bruins and the eight-time NCAA champion Wildcats in Kentucky’s first-ever appearance at Pauley Pavilion. The gold-clad Bruin fans hardly rolled out the red carpet, providing a raucous home crowd advantage for the Bruins, who took the lead at 4-2 and never looked back.
The Bruins never trailed after the 18:10 mark in the first half. Tony Parker's layup broke a 2-2 tie and UCLA was ahead of Kentucky for the remaining 38 minutes and 10 seconds.
The closest Kentucky got was 22-21 with 7:59 to play in the first half, but the Bruins went on a 12-2 run to extend the lead to 34-23 with 3:25 remaining and went into the locker room at halftime up 37-29.
UCLA kept the pressure going in the second half and held a double-digit lead from the 17 minute mark until the one minute mark, peaking with a monster dunk by Prince Ali and free throw that gave UCLA a 15-point lead with 9:55 to play.
A three-pointer by Jamal Murray with 1:09 to play cut the Bruins’ lead to nine points, but three free throws by Hamilton and four missed three pointers by the Wildcats secured the win for UCLA, who improved to 5-3. Kentucky recorded its first loss of the year and dropped to 7-1.
The victory was the Bruins’ first over a No. 1-ranked team since a 96-89 overtime win over Arizona at the Staples Center on Mar. 13, 2003.
"I couldn’t be more happy and proud of this group of young men," Steve Alford said. "I think we’re going to build a lot of confidence and trust out of this; it was a great night for us."

UCLA Cruises Past CSUN, 77-45

By: UCLA Athletics
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LOS ANGELES - Tony Parker logged his fifth double-double in seven games to lead the UCLA basketball team past CSUN, 77-45, in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday evening.
Parker finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes, connecting on 6 of 11 shots.
Isaac Hamilton tied with Parker for the team lead with 14 points, while Aaron Holiday scored 13 points and connected on all three of his 3-point attempts.
UCLA (4-3) shot 43 percent from the field, totaling 21 assists and just seven turnovers against the visiting Matadors (2-5). The Bruins raced to a 14-0 lead in the game’s first six minutes before CSUN got on the board with a layup at the 13:35 mark in the first half.
The Bruins led by as many as 17 points in the first half and entered the locker room at the break with a 39-22 advantage.
“When you’re 3-3, you have to get a win,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “But we needed to get a win where we played well. This was not a poorly-played game. We out-rebounded them by six and, in a 30-point game, we only turned the ball over seven times. The only thing I don’t think we did a tremendous job of was getting to the free throw line.”
For the Bruins, Sunday night’s contest against CSUN capped a four-game week. UCLA went 1-2 playing on consecutive days in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Nov. 23-25) before returning to Los Angeles on Friday evening.
Bryce Alford finished with a season-high 10 assists, totaling eight points, six rebounds and one steal in a team-leading 31 minutes.
No player from CSUN scored in double figures, as Micheal Warren, Jason Richardson and Landon Drew each finished with nine points. That marked UCLA’s first game since a win over UC Davis on Dec. 17, 2011, at the Honda Center, in which the Bruins did not allow any opposing player to score at least 10 points.
UCLA opened the second half by outscoring CSUN, 7-2, taking a 46-24 lead in the first 2:40 and never saw its advantage diminish to fewer than 20 points after the 15-minute park.
The Bruins will return to action against No. 1-ranked Kentucky on Thursday, Dec. 3. Game time is 6 p.m. (PT). This will mark the first time in which UCLA has hosted the nation’s top-ranked team since Jan. 9, 2014, when the Bruins dropped a 79-75 decision to No. 1-ranked Arizona.