Congratulations, you're officially at the half-way point of the work week: hold on for a couple more days and you'll get rewarded with a sunny holiday weekend to celebrate the Red, White, and Blue. Getting to the round-up, while we're speaking of the greatest country on Earth, UCLA's own Lauren Cheney fired the Yanks to victory over North Korea (who, of course, had another hilariously lame excuse for their defeat). In other news, DCBruins recapped how our Bruins are doing in the summer Say No League and laid out why Shabazz Muhammad should decide to come to Westwood, Patroclus broke down this off-season's football coaching changes and why the coaching shake-up was necessary, Nestor touched on the Pac-12's innovative exploration of partnering with Google and Apple, and I put tone-deaf Chancellor Gene Block on blast for trying to spin the 2010-11 season as "successful" for UCLA athletics.
With that, let's get to your bits and pieces of Bruin news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with our main image, preferred walk-on redshirt freshman offensive lineman/tight end Luke Gane will head to Denver this week to meet Broncos QB (and internet legend) Tim Tebow, due to the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If you didn't already know, Luke's journey to UCLA is the kind of inspirational stuff that makes you proud to share an alma mater with him. If you have the time, take a chance to peruse his blog here.
- Sticking with football, ESPN's Greg Biggins (portion not behind subscription firewall) is reporting that Neuheisel has been aggressive on the recruiting front, making three more scholarship offers in the last week. Per Biggins, Rick has made offers to offensive linemen David Barajas of Ventura's St. Bonaventure and Isaiah Folasa of Corona's Santiago HS, as well as wide receiver Demorea Stringfellow of Moreno Valley's Rancho Verde HS.
- Despite Rick's recent hot-hand on the recruiting front, he lost out to highly-touted and sought-after two-way lineman Isaac Seumalo to Oregon State. Our fellow SBN site Building the Dam has the story here. No real surprise, given that Isaac's dad is Oregon State's defensive line coach and his older brother is on the Beavers' roster. Still, Seumalo was the kind of recruit you'd want to get to anchor the line on either side of the ball. Good get for the Beavers.
- The Arizona Republic's Doug Haller came up with a list of the best ten basketball teams from the Pac-10 era (which excludes Coach's dominant teams). While Arizona put up four of the ten (which is to be expected when the ranking is done by an Arizona writer), UCLA placed three teams on that list for the Pac-10 era: the national title winners from the 1994-95 season, K-Love's squad from 2007-08, and the Kiki Vandeweghe's 1978-79 team. The other three spots were split by Oregon State (one team) and Stanford (two teams). So, in other words, classless Lorenzo Romar and none of his sleazy teams made the cut.
- Also on the basketball front, as we alluded to a few weeks ago, this week Ben Howland's youth basketball camp kicked off at Palisades High School, during which Ben will give hands-on fundamentals coaching to youth basketball players. Hopefully, somewhere among that group of kids, those defensive lessons will stick and we'll have a future Ben Ball Warrior on our hands.
- In typical tone-deaf Murphy Hall fashion, UCLA has decided to give the student body the shaft: beginning on August 1, students who pay for their housing, parking, tuition, and other UCLA-related expenses with a credit card will be charged an additional 2.75% fee to "process" credit card transactions. So besides raising tuition, now they want to squeeze the students for an extra bit of money when they try to pay their educational bills. As a result, because Visa doesn't allow merchants to charge such a fee, Visa is effectively banned from campus. Another stroke of genius from Gene Block and his Murphy Hall lackeys .
- And now for a bit of self-promotion: NBC Sports' Beyond the Arc featured Bruins Nation in its regular Blogger Spotlight column. My thanks go out to Tyler for fielding all the questions from Mike Miller during the Q&A and, most importantly, my thanks go out to everyone in this community for all your insightful comments, contributions, and observations during our six year run. All the members of this community deserve a pat on the back.
- Finally, if you're just starting to shake off the cobwebs and get back into college football mode, Pre-Snap Read has a pretty thorough primer on UCLA's upcoming football season. Sadly, their outlook for the Bruins' season isn't so rosy, and given the points we've made on BN numerous times, it's hard to disagree with PSR's somber predictions for the season. Still, a good read. And, of course, I liked the tidbit at the end:
Where do U.C.L.A. fans congregate? A handful of solid fan sites: Bruin Report Online, Bruin Blitz, Bruin Gold and The Bruin Zone. For consistently illuminating coverage of U.C.L.A. sports, look no further than Bruins Nation. The passion from those in charge of that site oftentimes leads them to question the direction of U.C.L.A.’s athletic department and director, which makes me respect their editorial decisions all the more. To a lesser degree, check out the Web site of The Los Angeles Times.
That's your round-up from the UCLA-iverse, so get back out there, and truck through these last few days to the holiday weekend.