It's Monday morning, and for UCLA's tennis teams, this past weekend couldn't have gone much better, with both the #1-seeded men's team and the #7-seeded women's team advancing to their respective NCAA tournament semi-finals, with each team just two wins short of bringing another NCAA national championship home to Westwood. We'll have much more on the two tennis squads later this morning as we get ready to track their run for #109 (and maybe #110) in NCAA action later today. For now, let's turn to the other various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with, as usual, football, Rant Sports talked about something all of us die-hard Bruin fans already knew: Eric Kendricks is a defensive beast. While Kendricks led the conference in tackles as a sophomore in 2012, the hard-hitting MLB got overshadowed by the explosion of Anthony Barr to national prominence following his break-out transition from reserve RB/under-utilized F to QB-crushing OLB. Rant Sports concludes that while Barr will get the awards and accolades, Kendricks may actually end up being the most important part of UCLA's defense next season.
- Speaking of football, our very good colleague Tracy Pierson at BruinReportOnline posted the list of MVPs for the NorCal Nike camp in Oakland this past weekend, with a lot of them hailing from prime UCLA recruiting territory. If you haven't had a chance to check out the excellent work Tracy and his crew do, take a glance at this bit of free information, and then get yourself a subscription to BRO.
- In terms of recruiting, Bruin247.com is reporting (free article at time of this writing) that WR Dionte Sykes of Chandler, Arizona committed to UCLA on Friday, with the targetman talking about his relationship with UCLA WR coach Eric Yarber and current UCLA QB Brett Hundley as big factors in making it an "easy choice" for him. Curiously, Sykes is not yet listed as a commit by BRO, and in fact, is listed as not even yet having an offer, so stay tuned.
- Turning to hoops, Gary Washburn at the Boston Globe took a look at UCLA's
Adidas mercenaryone-and-done star small forward Shabazz Muhammad, who is getting ready for the upcoming NBA Draft. After entering the season (albeit delayed due to an NCAA suspension), Muhammad created more questions about his game than he answered, sliding from the consensus #1 pick in this year's draft to a definite lottery pick, although not the for-sure top pick. As Washburn noted, the glimmers of excellence were often off-put by the displays of petulance or selfishness, which of course begs the question of whether he was simply a Bazzhole or that was the product of playing in Howland's joyless program.
- Heading over to our non-revenue sports, the #3-ranked men's golf team made an outstanding showing in the NCAA regional in Tempe, winning the regional to book their place in the NCAA championship tournament for the 11th year in a row. The Bruins put together three solid rounds of golf to walk out of Arizona with a comfortable 17-stroke lead over second place squads Georgia and Central Florida. The men will have some time off before the tournament gets started next week in Georgia.
- Meanwhile, as for the #5-ranked women's golf team, their showing at the NCAA regional in Alabama wasn't as strong, but their 7th place finish was enough to get them into NCAA championship tournament, finishing just ahead of hosts Auburn. The Lady Bruins will head to Georgia to get their tournament started tomorrow, hoping to pick up another NCAA title for Westwood.
- Finally, the #7-ranked women's rowing team finished in the middle of the pack at fourth (out of seven) at the Pac-12 championships in Sacramento this past weekend. UCLA's varsity four made the best showing of the day, coming in second to Cal, while the varsity eight finished third, the second varsity eight picking up fourth, and the novice eight picking up fourth. Not exactly the showing that Bruins fans were hoping for, and UCLA will await its NCAA championship fate when the field is announced tomorrow.
Alright folks, those are your various bits and pieces of news from around the wider UCLA-iverse. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, and various takes on all things UCLA.