It's Wednesday, and while it's the middle of the week and the half-way mark to the weekend, it's kind of odd to think we're already half-way there, since well, it feels like the week just started with Monday being a holiday. But hey, being closer to the weekend is never a bad thing, right?
Anyway, it's a bit quiet around the wider Bruin Nation, with Ben Howland's basketball program descending even further into a complete and totally irrelevant joke, a pathetic shell of a formerly great program, and with wider interest not in full gear for our non-revenue sports, which are still relatively early in their seasons (and for most of them, march toward possible NCAA title glory).
So, this mid-week edition of Bruin Bites is going to be quick and dirty (well, not dirty, just quick). So, here's your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football (what else?), the regularly very good Bruce Feldman at CBS Sports put together a list of the top ten intriguing redshirt freshman to keep an eye on this season. Checking in at #6 was none other than our own freshman sensation at QB, Brett Hundley. The talented Arizona product, with a new coaching staff in place, be on a level playing field with not only Prince and Brehaut, but also incoming true freshmen Devin Fuller and T.J. Millweard, in what is widely expected to be a wide-open battle for the starting QB job.
- Speaking of football, former UCLA linebackers coach Clark Lea, has taken the same position at Bowling Green, somewhat closer to his own alma mater, Vanderbilt (Bowling Green is approximately just under an eight hour drive away from Nashville). Coach Lea always handled himself with class during his short stint at UCLA, despite the turmoil and turnover in the coaching staff (both internal turnover within the Neuheisel regime and when the big change happened when Mora took over), so we wish him nothing but luck in Ohio.
- Turning to the academic side of the university, UCLA received two generous donations from some of the most recognized names in television. Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons (yes, that Homer Simpson, which oddly seems to have the same lazy work ethic and penchant for stupid ideas as a certain UCLA athletic director), has generous donated $500,000 to UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television. This, of course, comes in addition to his regular $50,000 gift to the university. Oh, and bear in mind, Matt's not even an alum (having gone to Evergreen State College in Washington), which I think speaks volumes about the man and his generosity. So, much applause and appreciation from the Bruin Nation to Mr. Groening.
- But, not to be out-done, the estate of Peter Falk of Columbo fame donated a cool $3 million to the university for student scholarships. The money will cover four-year scholarships for students studying music, have disabilities, or are military veterans. While it's very sad that the world lost Lt. Columbo, hopefully one of the LAPD's best fictional detectives' legacy will live on in Westwood. Another great gift from a great person, with otherwise no connection to the university (Falk having gone to Syracuse).
- Finally, former UCLA basketball stand-out Natalie Nakase is making headlines on the other side of the Pacific, as the first female coach in Japan's men's professional basketball league. Building on UCLA's "Optimists" campaign, here we have another Bruin great, not settling for what is accepted, not willing to be kept behind, but shattering another barrier, carrying on the legacy of other Bruin greats like Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, and Ralph Bunche. Sports Illustrated, through the AP, has a great profile of Natalie as she gets her feet wet in her first season at the helm of the Saitama Broncos.
Alright folks, those are your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse. Fire away in the comment threads with your thoughts, additions, and other interesting UCLA-related notes.