It's Wednesday, so we're halfway to the weekend, which will fortunately be free of the disaster that is UCLA football. That said, we'll be subjected to some torture with Ben Howland's dumpster fire squad in action against the Arizona schools, starting with the Wildcats on Thursday, followed by the Sun Devils on Saturday. Let's jump right into the Bruin Bites since we have a lot of ground to cover in this mid-week edition.
Here's your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football, obviously the biggest news are the rumors that Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler is working on graduating prior to the next season to take advantage of the NCAA's graduate student transfer rule, allowing him to immediately join his new team immediately. With Osweiler's favored offensive coach set to join the Bruins' staff, the rumors that Osweiler may follow Noel Mazzone to Westwood have picked up. If Osweiler does follow Mezzone to Westwood, it'd be ironic, given that the beat-down he put on the Bruins two years ago led him to committing to football 100% of the time.
- Sticking with football, UCLA lost out on a prized defensive recruit out of Hawaii, four-star DE DeForest Buckner from Punahou, per Greg Biggins at ESPN (portion not behind subscription firewall). After narrowing his choices to Oregon, Cal, and UCLA, the Hawaiian stand-out went with Oregon, which will increase pressure on Mora and his staff to try to reel in Ellis McCarthy, a player UCLA should easily have gotten, had Neuheisel not cratered the program.
- Biggins (also not behind subscription firewall) is also reporting some comments from UCLA defensive back commit Jerico Richardson about greyshirting this upcoming year. From the quotes, it sounds like Mora and his team have already started the conversation and Richardson is receptive to it, and with the glut of prospects UCLA is still in the game for plus the numbers already committed, every available slot helps. Sounds like a great kid and team player to be willing to do it.
- Fox Sports re-printed a L.A. Times piece from Foster that has a handful of Mora quotes, which we've discussed before on BN. ICYMI, you can see a short recap of it here, and suffice to say, Mora is saying the right things and sounds like he plans on setting a new tone and attitude about football at UCLA. Hopefully Chianti Dan, the bumbling buffoon of Morgan Center, doesn't screw this up.
- Last quick note on football: ESPN profiled HS senior QB Tanner Mangum, one of the top QB prospects in the West and a BYU commit. Mangum, however, has deferred his enrollment to BYU to go on his LDS mission, much like Xavier Su'a Filo did after his freshman year. ESPN, of course, made the obvious comparison to UCLA's Ben Olson. If we somehow end up with Mangum in 2 years, two thoughts: (1) I'll begin wondering if this is going to be a trend for us and (2) this kid's last name is awesome.
- Turning to basketball (LOL), ESPN has an updated Pac-12 conference power rankings, and of course, UCLA is disappointingly in the middle of the pack at #8 (sandwiched between WSU at #7 and U$C at #9). On the plus side, we're not Utah. On the negative side, we're John Wooden's school, so total facepalm.
- Speaking of UCLA, the brand, in the world of college hoops, even Calipari understands that UCLA is the name in college basketball, using the Bruins as an example of the kind of big-name team that fans in Kentucky want to see the Wildcats take on in their annual game at Freedom Hall in Louisville. I wonder when Chianti Dan and our athletic department will realize that, since we're stuck with an inadequate renovation and beat-up facilities.
- On the bright side, at least we're getting super-talented prospect Kyle Anderson next season, who is a solid commit to UCLA and who has been actively recruiting other guys to join him in Westwood. ICYMI, here's some highlights of Anderson from the recent Hoophall Classic this past week.
- If you want to rub some salt in the wounds of our basketball team, look no further than Colorado. One of their starting guards is true freshman Spencer Dinwiddie, who was a UCLA prospect to lose last year. Of course, Howland got enamored with big name players, all of whom he struck out on, letting Dinwiddie slip to the Buffaloes. Of course, following in the style of other guys who should be in a UCLA uniform (Mike Moser, Chace Stanback, etc.), Dinwiddie scored 19 points for Colorado in their Pac-12 opening blow-out of Utah (73-33), while chipping in 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals in 26 minutes (oh, and with no turnovers). As the L.A. Times calls it, Howland's failure to get to recruiting Dinwiddle until too late was a big mistake. Kind of like Moser. And Stanback. And so on, and so on...
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.