It's Wednesday, so we're halfway to the weekend, and unfortunately, unlike last Wednesday is devoid of major recruiting news and big recruiting coups for Coach Mora. This Wednesday, we're just back to our normal routine of getting ready for Howland's Jekyll and Hyde dumpster fire team's pair of games, starting tomorrow against Stanford and wrapping up against Cal on Saturday. So, with that in mind, let's get right to it and discuss the bits and piece of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Speaking of basketball, let's start there. Over at the very good Bruin site, Bruin Ball, they took note that StatSheet is projecting UCLA to not only miss the NCAA tournament, but to miss out on the NIT as well, falling instead to the extremely weak-sauce (I'd call it junior varsity, but that would be insulting to JV teams everywhere) College Basketball Invitational. In other words, the Kraft Who Cares Bowl of college basketball. And yet, people somehow think Howland isn't to blame and that everything is all sunshine-and-rainbows. Time to face reality folks: it isn't looking pretty.
- While we're talking about hoops, following up on DCBruins' post yesterday afternoon on Shabazz, here's another take on the Shabazz situation, this time from Fox Sports' Rahshaun Haylock. Per Haylock, despite UCLA's struggles, Muhammad still has his eye on Howland and UCLA. But the real neat part of this piece is that photo gallery accompanying it, highlighting Shabazz's dominance recently against Whitney Young HS. If we can land him, it'll be a huge coup for UCLA, the biggest since Kevin Love came on down from Oregon.
- Turning to baseball, former UCLA assistant coach Rick Vanderhook is back with his alma mater, Cal State Fullerton, which is huge for the Titans, and a real loss for the Bruins. While Coach Savage is still one of the best in the college game, losing a top assistant like Vanderhook will hurt. But, Rick was a good coach for us and hopefully, he'll get Fullerton back to being a top program (except when they play the Bruins).
- With the Super Bowl behind us, despite the fact Eli "I'm Too Good for San Diego" Manning gets another ring, Coach Tom Coughlin does get to celebrate another off-season at the top of the NFL coaching pyramid, which is aptly fitting, given Coughlin's affinity for our very own beloved Coach John Wooden. In his post-game comments, Coughlin highlighted the role that Wooden and the Pyramid of Success played in his speech to the Giants in their final meeting prior to the Super Bowl. While I'm disappointed my Niners didn't get their shot to take down Tom Brady, I'm glad a classy coach like Coughlin, who lives by Wooden's principles, won it all.
- Finally, Loren Ledin at VCSPreps.com has a really great profile of brand new Bruin Jordan Payton and the recruiting saga he went through. Payton, criticized by media morons (mostly at WWL) for changing his commitment from U$C to Cal to Washington, and finally to UCLA, got support by his high school coach, Oaks Christian's Bill Redell. Redell chalks some of the blame on Payton (which is to be expected of indecisive teenagers) but also on the recruiting process itself, and mainly on the adult coaches who couldn't make up their minds, flipping locations. As Redell pointed out, when Petey fled the sinking ship for Seattle, Lame came in and yanked Jordan's offer; when Payton committed to Cal, shortly after, Cal WR coach Eric Kiesau bolts for Washington. Hard to blame a kid for being indecisive when the alleged grown-ups can't stay in one place. Very good read on a kid who we hope will light it up at the Rose Bowl in the Blue and Gold.
And with that folks, those are your Bruin Bites for the middle of the week. Only a few more days until the weekend, and just one day away from Howland's squad getting back into action against Stanford. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and opinions in the comment thread.