The Bruins will rely on the strong arm of new ace pitcher Adam Plutko as they try to make a deep run to Omaha (Photo Credit: Scott Wu).
It's Wednesday, so we're a day away from Ben Howland's total dumpster fire back in action, this time against our new conference foes, the pitiful Utah Utes, a team that guys like AA, JF, DC, RW, KL, LRMAM, AA2, LMR, etc. would have just absolutely dismantled. Instead we'll probably be treated to a half-hearted effort, squeaking by bottom-feeder hoops program in a conference of joke teams.
At this point, we all know what is necessary to restore UCLA to its rightful place in the basketball world, to honor the legacy of excellence that Coach taught, to reject mediocrity and demand Coach's definition of success:
Fire Dan Guerrero and then fire Howland. Replace Chianti Dan with someone who can competently hire an elite basketball coach to take UCLA back to its rightful place at the top of the college basketball world.
With that in mind, 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 football (because, well, everyone is looking for their hit of
crackrecruiting news in the homestretch before national letter-of-intent signing day on Feb. 1), there's a good video snippet of recruiting guru Brandon Huffman breaking down the impact Jim Mora has had on recruiting, the coaching moves he made that have dramatically turned around UCLA's recruiting this off-season. Good stuff from Huffman.
- Sticking with football, Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News rolled out his self-admittedly way-too-early projections for how the Pac-12 will shape up in 2012. Naturally, Wilner went with the Ducks to finish at the top of the Pac-12 North, followed by Cal (in part due to drinking the Maynard-will-improve Kool-Aid), Stanford, Washington, Oregon State, Washington State. His Pac-12 South pick is hated U$C, calling them one of the best teams in the nation, albeit one of the thinnest in terms of depth. Behind Southern Cal, Wilner has Utah, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, with Colorado again pulling up the rear. If forced to make a projection today, I'd go with Oregon at the top of the Pac-12 North, followed by Washington, Stanford, Washington State, Cal, and Oregon State. In our own division, I'd have to go with U$C, followed by us (yes, us), Arizona, Utah, Colorado, with Arizona State at the tail-end. Disagree? Fire away your way-too-early 2012 projection in the comment thread.
- Turning to baseball, Baseball America came out with their preseason rankings, and coming in at the top spot is the Florida Gators, followed by the Pac-12's projected top team, the Stanford Cardinal at #2. UCLA, needing to fill the rotation following the loss of super-stud aces Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole, came in at #14. Joining the Bruins in the initial ranking is Arizona at #5, Arizona State at $17, and Oregon State at #23.
- Flipping back to football, Scott Robinson at BruinsBall.com has a really good write-up on the 3-4 defense and how it would fit into UCLA's defense under Mora. It's a well thought-out piece that really breaks down the 3-4 defense for those unfamiliar with it, and it really gets you fired up to see how the Bruins come out with this new look.
- In just another move that makes Bruins everywhere proud, former UCLA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been named the United States' global cultural ambassador by Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton. The big man will travel throughout the world, talking to youths as part of America's efforts to promote education, tolerance, diplomacy, and justice. Great stuff and not at all surprising to see KAJ, a true Bruin in every sense of the word, taking on this kind of work.
- Speaking of UCLA alums, Bruin alum and actress Gabrielle Union went on a Twitter rampage, but in a good way, taking aim at folks who put fame over education (in other words, 95% of the vapid waste that is Hollywood). Union, the proud owner of a B.A. in sociology from our esteemed alma mater encouraged adults to encourage students to value education, reminding her Twitter followers that looks and money fade, but education lasts a lifetime. Good message.
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.