Thursday, March 28, 2019

Goodbye, Kris.

Getty Images


UCLA’s Kris Wilkes announces he’s headed to the NBA
UCLA’s new basketball coach will have to find a new leading scorer.
Sophomore forward Kris Wilkes announced Wednesday that he was hiring an agent and declaring for the NBA draft, ending the college career of a prolific scorer on teams that largely struggled to fulfill their promise.
“Ever since I was a little kid,” Wilkes wrote in a tweet declaring his intentions, “my dream has been to play in the NBA.”
Wilkes’ post included pictures of him smiling next to teammate Prince Ali after Wilkes’ game-winning shot against Notre Dame in December as well as pictures next to Bruins coaches Steve Alford and Murry Bartow.
“To everyone at UCLA, especially to my teammates and coaches, I’m incredibly grateful for all your love and support these past two years,” Wilkes wrote. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, and I will forever be a Bruin!”
Wilkes was UCLA’s top scorer last season, averaging 17.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on the way to being selected second-team All-Pac-12. But the Bruins finished 17-16 and did not qualify for the NCAA tournament one season after being one of the last teams selected and losing to St. Bonaventure in a play-in game.
Some mock drafts have projected Wilkes as being selected among the final picks in the first round.
NBA scouts who spoke with The Times recently questioned whether Wilkes improved much during his two college seasons and criticized his ability to impact a game beyond scoring. ESPN has listed him as the No. 73 best player available for the draft, which would put him on the borderline of being taken toward the end of the second round.
A handful of other UCLA players still face questions about their futures.
UCLA sophomore point guard Jaylen Hands, sophomore forward Chris Smith, freshman center Moses Brown and redshirt freshman forward Cody Riley also are believed to be contemplating whether to declare for the NBA draft or return next season.
The Bruins need at least one more player to leave to create an additional opening for their two-man recruiting class. The team did not have a senior this season and had the maximum of 13 scholarship players before Wilkes’ departure.
Wilkes declared for the NBA draft last season but did not hire an agent, preserving his eligibility. He said he was wavering about his decision and returned to UCLA in order to improve all aspects of his game while removing doubt about his status as a first-round draft pick.
“I was right there on the line,” Wilkes said in October. “I was really about to make that decision, but really I thought at the end of the day, if I’m questioning myself now there’s no point of questioning it at all. Why not just wait until I’m 100% sure and come back the next year and be even better?”

UCLA men’s basketball season in review: End of Steve Alford era opens uncertain future

Getty Images
mar-18-2019 | THUC NHI NGUYEN | THE L.A. daily newS | ARTICLE LINK
As time wound down in UCLA’s season-ending loss to Arizona State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, Pac-12 Networks announcer Ted Robinson said he couldn’t imagine a more uncertain time for the prestigious program.
Bill Walton, analyst, UCLA legend and ardent Bruins supporter, agreed as UCLA finished 17-16 overall and 9-9 in Pac-12 play.

A coaching search loomed over UCLA’s Pac-12 season after Athletic Director Dan Guerrero dismissed former head coach Steve Alford on New Year’s Eve. This will be his third hire for a men’s basketball coach since taking over in 2002.
Here’s a look at how the Alford era ended this season and what might be in store for the future.


UCLA failed to find consistency as a team but produced several spectacular individual performances. Sophomore Jaylen Hands led the Pac-12 in assists in his first season as the team’s primary ball-handler, became the first UCLA player to record 10 or more assists in three straight games and delivered a 3-point barrage in the second half against Oregon to lead the Bruins to a comeback victory in their Pauley Pavilion finale this season. Kris Wilkes hit a dramatic buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Notre Dame, falling to the floor with cramps as his team celebrated the nonconference victory. The pair of former McDonald’s All-Americans were expected to star on the young team, and they did at times, but the brief glimpses at their talent were not enough to sustain the Bruins through a tumultuous year.


Few seasons that include a mid-year coaching change typically end well. Back-to-back home losses against Belmont and Liberty bookended a four-game losing streak that ended Alford’s tenure in December. Without their head coach, the team with two oft-injured redshirt juniors who never previously held consistent starting roles and 11 scholarship underclassmen, including six freshmen, had nowhere to turn for consistent leadership. The Bruins were often shell-shocked when one-possession games turned into blowouts in mere minutes. Appropriately, Arizona State ended UCLA’s season with 14 unanswered points at four minutes in the first half that blew-open a two-point game.


The Bruins didn’t have any seniors on the roster, so they aren’t guaranteed to lose any players. The only guaranteed changes are on the coaching staff. Bartow confirmed he will not be retained for the permanent head coaching position. Assistant coaches Kory Barnett, who was promoted to a coaching position from a video coordinator job after the coaching change, and Duane Broussard joined the staff with Alford and might also be caught in the turnover when the new staff takes over.


The complication with having no graduating seniors is that the Bruins need to free at least two scholarships to accommodate Jaime Jaquez and Jake Kyman, who signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period. UCLA will likely depend on transfers or NBA departures to rearrange the roster. Hands, Wilkes and freshman center Moses Brown are the most touted NBA prospects, but none are projected to be lottery picks this year. Wilkes, the highest-rated prospect of the group, is the 24th overall pick in a Bleacher Report mock draft released Sunday.
Wilkes and Hands, both of whom participated in the NBA combine last year before returning to school, told reporters after UCLA’s season-ending loss they had yet to make any decisions about their future plans.


UCLA got a glimpse at promising freshman guards David Singleton and Jules Bernard, who are expected to return next year. Singleton suffered a broken foot in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament after leading the conference in 3-point shooting percentage. Bernard scored 10 or more points in eight of the last nine regular-season games.
The Bruins are also expecting point guard Tyger Campbell and forward Shareef O’Neal to return next year. Campbell’s torn ACL suffered in the preseason was likely one of the largest contributing factors to UCLA’s offensive struggles this season as the team was left with just one true point guard. O’Neal underwent surgery in December to correct a heart condition.


The proud UCLA men’s basketball program waits for its next head coach, but with most candidates still coaching in the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins are left to watch until the end of the season. Then the program’s direction can finally start to take shape.
The school is likely targeting big-named experienced coaches. Virginia’s Tony Bennett is a favorite among some fans. Alumni previously championed former UCLA point guard Earl Watson. The choice will have to revive a program that has averaged less than 8,500 people at home games in four of the past five seasons.
Bartow might have had an outside chance at the spot after winning his first three games, but he couldn’t steady the underachieving team enough throughout Pac-12 play.
“There’s good days ahead for UCLA,” Bartow told reporters last Thursday, “and there’s great days ahead for these guys on this team.”

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Season over? UCLA bows out of Pac-12 tourney losing to ASU 83-72.

Pac-12 Networks

Romello White (19 pts), Rob Edwards (15 pts), Luguentz Dort (13 pts), Zylan Cheatham (13 pts), and Remy Martin (10 pts) all dropped double-digit scoring performances to push Arizona State to an 83-72 Pac-12 Tournament win over UCLA. Cheatham also contributed 13 rebounds for the Sun Devils in a dominating performance Thursday night in Las Vegas, NV. ASU moves on to the tournament semifinals, where they will face the winner Oregon-Utah on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. PT / 9:30 p.m. MT on ESPN.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2019 Pac-12 Tournament - UCLA gets past Stanford 79-72. Plays No. 2 ASU tonight.

UCLA led by as much as 26 points in the 2nd half but allowed Stanford to make a game out of it.

Bruins lose Singleton to foot injury. 

Pac-12 Networks' Mike Yam, Richard Jefferson and Casey Jacobsen analyze how No. 7 seed UCLA was able to top No. 10 Stanford by a 79-72 final on Wednesday during the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA improves to 4-1 all-time vs. the Cardinal. Jaylen Hands (22 points, 11 rebounds) tallied his fifth double-double of the season for the Bruins, who limited Stanford to 28 percent shooting from 3-point range.

ESPN's blow by blow (link).

USC, Colorado and Oregon advance as well. Click on bracket to check out interactive bracket on the Pac12 page.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Last chance to dance. No. 7 UCLA plays No. 10 Stanford in 1st round of the Pac-12 tourney.

Pac-12 Tourney Link 

No. 7 UCLA (16-15, 9-9) vs. No. 10 Stanford (15-15, 8-10)

March 13, 2019 (Wed)
6 pm PT
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Season series, 1-1. 

Game 1 (Jan 3 at UCLA): UCLA 92-70 (link)
Game 2 (Feb 16 at Stanford): Stanford 104-80 (link)

Go, Bruins!!! Win it all!!!

Mar 9 - Not a nice end to season, this: Utah beats UCLA 92-81. Bruins now 16-15, 9-9. Gets the 7th seed in the Pac-12 tourney. Plays Stanford in the first round.

Pac-12 Networks

Pac-12 Networks' Roxy Bernstein and Don MacLean recap Utah's 92-81 victory over UCLA at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday. Utah senior Sedrick Barefield finished with a game-high 29 points and moved into the third spot on Utah's single-season made 3-pointers list. The Runnin' Utes clinched the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament and have finished fourth or better in Pac-12 standings for the fifth-straight season. For UCLA, Jalen Hill grabbed his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

UCLA is off to Vegas as a 7th seed. Will play #10 Stanford The Tree in the first round. Go, Bruins!!! Win it all!!!

Mar 7 - Bruins trampled by Buffs in Boulder 93-68. UCLA falls to 16-14, 9-8.

 Pac-12 Networks

Tyler Bey recorded his fourth straight double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds as Colorado defeated UCLA by a 93-68 final on Thursday night in Boulder. The win gives Colorado back-to-back regular season sweeps of the Bruins. Bey's 27 points tied a career high, and Kris Wilkes had 19 points for UCLA.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Feb 28 - UCLA whack-a-moles USC in OT, 93-88. UCLA on 3-game winning streak. Bruins now 16-13, 9-7.

UCLA wins the battle for LA.

Jaylen Hands on an absolute tear! 21 points with some beyond NBA range 3's.

Bruins on hiatus till Mar 7 when they visit the Buffs in Boulder. Go, Bruins!!!
Pac-12 Networks

UCLA defeated crosstown rival USC 93-88 in overtime Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. Jaylen Hands turned in a 21-point performance including a clutch 3-pointer in OT to secure the win.

Feb 23 - UCLA tops the AFLACs 90-83. Bruins now 15-13, 8-7. Trojans next.

UCLA snuffs a 19-point deficit to beat the Ducks at Pauley P.

We're above 0.500 in the Pac-12. Yipee!!!

Pac-12 Networks

After trailing by as many as 19 points in the second half, UCLA rallied to defeat Oregon, 90-83, at Pauley Pavilion and sweep the season series with the Ducks for the first time since 2010-11. The Bruins outscored the Ducks 62-39 in the second half under the leadership of Jaylen Hands, who scored a game-high 27 points (all of which came in the second half). Hands made a career-high 7 3-pointers and dished nine assists, while Kris Wilkes added 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting and Jules Bernard matched with a career-high 20 points. Oregon's Payton Pritchard finished with 18 points and eight assists, adding to his 429 career assists to surpass Luke Jackson for 6th on Oregon's career assists list.

Feb 21 - UCLA beats the Beavs 68-67. Bruins now 14-13, 7-7.

Pac-12 Networks

UCLA took home a narrow 68-67 win over Oregon State with the help from Moses Brown who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds to secure his eight double-double of the season. Oregon State's Tres Tinkle finished with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for his 59th straight game scoring in double figures. Stephen Thompson Jr. also finished with 21 points on the night.