It's Friday. One more week down till the start of the football season. I actually have a lot of UCLA related news/notes to pass on before starting the weekend. I will start once again with DC who continues to show all other college student athletes how to talk up their respective alma maters. From a recent Q&A DC did with the Sporting News here is what he said in response to a question asking him why he kept returning to Howlandwood:
Every year, I had the opportunity not to go back. But I was addicted to winning more than the fame or the NBA lifestyle. We went to the Final Four three out of the last four years. I loved that. No one can take that from me, no matter what happens in the NBA. I would not trade that memory for anything. So, every time the temptation to go to the NBA came up, I thought that maybe we’d get back to the Final Four, and that was it. That was what I wanted.
And once again DC couldn't stop talking about his ex-teammates in the NBA:
I talk to Kevin (Love) and Russ (Westbrook) all the time, and Luc (Mbah a Moute), too. They give me advice, tell me what it’s like as far as this process. Especially Luc. I talk to Luc a lot. But all of those guys are doing really well at the next level. I think a lot of teams didn’t think they’d be as good as they were. But Russell, he’s been great. Kevin Love is going to be one of the top players at his position, and Luc, he was actually starting in Milwaukee.
I don't know if the contrast with a certain other "UCLA" guard in also partaking in the NBA draft could be more clear I know if I were doing the job interview (and I interview lot of kids) I know who I would go with if I had to make a decision which player is going to be the best fit chemistry wise for the entire team and would remain loyal till the very end.
Anyway, let's move on to the next topic. It's not a secret that Chris Forcier has been looking to transfer this off season. FWIW he made it official yesterday by sending a very unique press release (with a set of "Facts") to Brian Dohn. Here are some of those "Facts" in Dohn's blog:
Fact: New QB Coach Norm Chow and New Head Coach Rick Neuheisel have brought in and played since day (1) their own guys (Quarterbacks)
i.e. Kevin Craft.
Fact: In late February New QB Coach Norm Chow told me that the younger guys would get most of the QB reps in Spring Ball.
Fact: This is a pattern nationally. When New Coaches come in, they recruit their own guys, especially at the quarterback position. It's just like the corporate world, New Owners bring in New Management. With that being said, I do not fault them.
Fact: In early March 2009, after seeing the writing on the wall, I reluctantly requested a meeting with Coach Neuheisel. In our meeting, I respectfully requested a "Permission to Contact Letter" NCCA bylaws 18.104.22.168 Personal request attached, not to be confused with a 'Release" as it was inaccurately reported by Brian Dohn of Inside UCLA, the Bruin Report and a few others.
Fact: My heart is at the Quarterback position. I have several solid options around the country to play. My quandary is and always has been that I also love UCLA.
Well it turns out that one of thos "solid options" turn out to be Furman University in South Carolina. That is where Forcier will be starting next season. Forcier did include the following in his press release:
Fact: I'm a life long UCLA Fan. I love UCLA Football. Most Bruin fans have been very supportive/good people.
Again, I wish the kid luck. I will be rooting for him. However, everyone needs to recognize what happened with Forcier is nothing unique. We have all seen this before. Folks can just google names like Ryan Fien. To his credit Forcier although is leaving with a unique press release, is leaving with lot more class than a spoiled brat like Brett Johnson.
Speaking of posterboy of spoiled brats, apparently Matt Leinart was hanging around UCLA:
Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart sought help from an unlikely source in an even more unlikely place this off-season.
The Southern California graduate worked out a few times with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at UCLA. The location made sense because Brady has a home near the campus, and Norm Chow, the former offensive coordinator at USC, is now an assistant at UCLA.
Leinart said he also knows UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, but just being with Brady was like hanging out with Ferris Bueller.
"I figured if I'm running with him (Brady), he can do whatever," Leinart said, laughing. "It was funny, we were out there one day, just me and him, and their whole team comes out. They were in off-season conditioning.
"I almost wanted to wear my 'SC jacket, but that would have been real disrespectful."
Matty is so smart. Isn't he? Part of me really wants him to end up with the Pats so that he gets to go through the microscope of the Boston sports scene (which has its own impression of Pom Pom's ability as a "head football coach" when he has to operate within a level playing field).
Lastly, we will end with a graduation note. Apparently UCLA's graduation speaker James Franco has pulled out. From NewsBriefs.com:
A minor campus controversy ensued several months ago when Franco—who earned an English degree from UCLA in 2008—was announced as a keynoter. An editorial in the student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, questioned the decision ("...we don’t feel he is as esteemed as a commencement speaker of UCLA’s caliber should be"), while a student created a Facebook page in protest, calling him an "average student." The university is currently seeking an alternate speaker.
The Daily Bruin had a problem with James Franco? Really? The same paper that had no problem licking Karl Dorrell and Steve Lavin boots (just go through BN archives) was expressing reservation about someone like Franco who has proven to be successful as a professional. Nice work there geniuses.
FWIW a group of UCLA students have already launched a grassroots campaign to get Conan O'Brien for UCLA graduation: Here are their five reasons posted in a facebook group with already over 1,000 members:
1. He is ridiculously smart graduating magna cum laude from Harvard.
2.Very funny having been president of National Lampoon and a writer for the Simpsons, back when it was funny.
3. He lives right there in Brentwood.
4. What better way to welcome the latest host of The Tonight Show than to have him speak for the greatest school in Los Angeles.
5. He is a real person and has worked his way up, not taking the usual path expected.
Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. Plus Conan can get plenty of materials from Bruin Nation to make fun of those clowns across town. Forget a speech, he has enough content to do a whole show on it.