Hope everyone is enjoying their long Fourth of July weekend. It is steaming and sweltering out in the Eastern Seaboard. I sure hope our coaches are sending daily weather updates (with testimonies from kids like Aramide Olaniyan) to all the high school kids they are recruiting from the Mid Atlantic or anywhere out in the East. Times like this it will be a slam dunk if kids are made aware of exactly the kind of weather we are used to (or in some of our cases "were" use to) 365 days a year in Westwood.
Anyway, since our last frontpage post was on baseball, we will start there. Kendall Rogers from Rivals.com, wrote a great article about how UCLA has joined the "list of elite programs" in baseball. He has a nice look back at our memorable season:
As South Carolina celebrated, sophomore pitcher Gerrit Cole - who turned down millions to go to college - was covered with tears. Many of his teammates were in the same shape, while others were stunned.
In reality, this UCLA team has nothing to be ashamed of. It fell short of winning a title, but this team changed the national perception of the program.
It did something many thought was impossible. It raised the bar.
"That's something we're really proud of and something came here to do after we signed our letters of intent," pitcher Rob Rasmussen said. "Looking back on it [the season] I think we'll be happy."
You can read rest of the piece by going here. More after the jump.
Speaking of being happy with the effort they put on the field (well in this case the "pitch") former Bruin and starter for Team USA - Jonathan Bornstein - has been savoring his recent experience in the World Cup:
"Easily, it's that moment when Landon scores the goal against Algeria in the last minute of the game," he said. "It was like a roller coaster of emotions prior to that, and that moment just sort of capitalized everything."
That was the first game Bornstein started in the World Cup. It was the first time he kept his game jersey, opting not to swap with a player on the other team. And it was the first time he became nervous in World Cup competition.
"I was extremely happy," Bornstein said of the moment U.S. Coach Bob Bradley told him he would start. "Then it went from happiness to nerves."
I still wonder how we would have done against Uruguay if we our defense held firm in the opening mins against Ghana. BTW note the use of "we." The only time I use the word "we" in sports on anything other than UCLA related matters, is when we are talking about US national teams. Not saying what others should be saying or not saying, but it always came across as weird to me when fans use "we" while following their professional sports teams (especially in today's sports world when teams or players don't care much about old school loyalty to their teams).
Speaking of the topic of professional teams, JF is shopping around for a new team. Thankfully for him, the Lakers are being very cool about the whole process as they are enabling him to test the market as an unrestricted free agent:
But by waiving the right - and surrendering any chance at compensation if he leaves - the Lakers granted Farmar complete freedom to find a job and team that best suits him.
And for that, he is grateful.
"I really appreciate what they did, because they didn't have to. They could have treated me like a piece of real estate and potentially hurt my ability to take a serious look at what might be out there for me," Farmar said. "So for that, I am thankful."
The move didn't officially end Farmar's Lakers career, which began four years ago when they drafted him in the first round out of UCLA and spanned three NBA Finals appearances and two world championships. But with the signing of Blake and the likelihood of Fisher returning, it is very doubtful Farmar will be wearing purple and gold next year.
Now Farmar can focus on finding a team he feels best suits his talents - which sometimes seemed suffocated by the restrictions of the triangle offense.
Good luck to JF. Hope it all works out for him.
4. UCLA: The Bruins' recent struggles tend to obscure the fact they won or shared three Pac-10 titles in the 1990s. UCLA owns a share of the southern California market, plays home games in the Rose Bowl and is on an upswing again. Enhanced recruiting soon should have a big impact.
We should find out about that impact in next two years.