UCLA will go a lot further this season if we see this more often.
It's Wednesday, so we're a day away from Ben Howland's squad going back to work against the Oregon schools, starting with the Beavers tomorrow night and the Ducks on Saturday, and we're halfway through the work week on our way to the weekend. Obviously, the big news has been around Jim Mora's program, which has been on fire on the recruiting trail the last few weeks, snapping up Ellis McCarthy, T.J. Millweard, Colby Cyburt, Christian Powell, and Fabian Moreau, all within the last week.
But, let's take a step away from football (which we'll continue to update as things develop) just for a minute and let's take a look at the bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for the middle of the work week:
- Starting with baseball, UCLA commit Luke Persico, an outstanding junior infielder who hit .395 last season, is being moved from the infield to center field for Newhall Hart High. Persico, a versatile multi-tool guy is expected to make a seamless transition to center field, per his current coach.
- Speaking of recruits, super-stud basketball recruit Kyle Anderson was profiled by Erik Gallant at MassLive.com, who recapped Anderson's performance on Monday's game in the Hoophall Classic (18 points, 10 rebounds, having shot 8 for 11 and 1 for 1 from downtown). Of course, Kyle was matched up against UCLA target Tony Parker for most of the game, so hopefully Kyle was putting in some recruiting work for Howland.
- Turning to current UCLA big man Josh Smith, ESPN's Peter Yoon (one of the few good regular writers employed by WWL) took a look at Smith's self-admittedly disappointing start to the season and points out a variety of factors he believes show that Smith is turning around his season, which could produce big results for UCLA, especially down the homestretch. Yoon gathers a handful of quotes from fellow Bruins, including Jerime Anderson and Travis Wear on Smith's turnaround.
- Meanwhile, Jon Gold hit on similar notes, talking about freshman guard Norman Powell high-flying potential and Howland's reluctance to utilize freshmen. Gold has a couple of quotes from Howland on Powell, as well as notes on the Wear twins and Smith's (hopefully) soon-to-come breakout.
- Speaking of Howland, ESPN took quick note of the close relationship that Howland still has with his former assistant and current Pitt head coach, Jamie Dixon. Dixon, currently going through a very disappointing season (nearly as disappointing as UCLA's), apparently has a lot of conversations with Howland about weathering the poor year.
- Finally on Howland, the L.A. Times has a run-down of all the current Howland-coached Bruins in the NBA, with a lot of great quotes from those Bruins about the important lessons they learned from Howland, with quotes from AA, LRMAM, DC, KL all about the toughness and mental discipline they got from Howland's coaching. So, Shabazz, if you're reading this, maybe you should take note: NBA front office guys and scouts are taking note of the kind of player Howland produces: guys who understand the game, who are mentally tough, and who pay attention to detail, and thus, able to earn minutes and playing time as rookies.
- Turning to our men's soccer team, following (sort of) in the footsteps of their teammates Chandler Hoffman and Kelyn Rowe (sort of), four Bruins were drafted in the MLS supplemental draft, with Andy Rose going to Real Salt Lake, followed by Shawn Singh to Sporting Kansas City, Eder Arreola going to the Houston Dynamo, with Brian Rowe going to Chivas USA to close out a busy draft for the Bruins.
- Finally, on the academic side of the university, Mitsue Yokota, a career advisor and program coordinator at the David Geffen School of Medicine earned national recognition from the Associate of American Medical Colleges for her outstanding Career Development Month programs at the medical school. Oh, and not only does she work at UCLA, she's an alum as well (Class of 1998), so congrats to Mitsue!
Alright folks, those are your mid-week edition of Bruin Bites as we count down the days until the weekend. Fire away with your thoughts, additions, and comments in the thread.