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What’s Bruin: Don’t Sleep on UCLA Basketball's T.J. Leaf

News and notes from around the UCLA-iverse.

NCAA Basketball: UC Santa Barbara at UCLA
Everyone in the country knows about Lonzo Ball—but they need to learn about this guy, too.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf wrote a column about college basketball’s "must-watch players who get overlooked," and el numero uno on his list wears #22 for the UCLA Bruins.

I consider this more of a flaw of the national media, who can only seem to focus on one star per team, but if non-Bruin fans are only talking about Lonzo Ball, they need to start paying attention to T.J. Leaf, too.

He has made 48.8 percent of his jump shots, per The Bruins have made 45.6 percent of their shots inside the arc with Leaf on the floor, compared with 37.5 percent when he's on the bench, according to He's ranked 41st with a 134.2 offensive rating on And Leaf was two assists shy of a triple-double in a win over UC Santa Barbara (25 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) last week, a good day for the freshman.

He's certainly on the NBA's radar.

"He's skilled, knows how to play and has a feel for the game," said one NBA scout. "Plays with urgency. Limited athletic ability but good enough to rebound and finish. ... His stock is on the rise because of his overall production."

Added another NBA scout: "I think he's good. Should be a solid NBA player."

That means you too, Taylor Swift.

2016-17 is the season of the blue blood in college basketball. Does that mean it’s going to be the most fun college basketball season in 20+ years? Matt Norlander at has a take: Yes, it does.

So in the wake of Kentucky's awesome win over North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classis on Saturday, I couldn't help but think how this could become the greatest season of college basketball, start to finish, that we've seen in more than a decade. Last week, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, UNC and UCLA were all ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll for the second consecutive week. It was the first time in 22 years this had happened.

I’m told there is another college basketball team in Los Angeles currently undefeated in non-conference play. Ben Bolch of the L.A. Times has a piece on the 1970-71 NCAA basketball season when both UCLA and whatever team that is were undefeated heading into a showdown in the Sports Arena on national television.

(Spoiler alert: The UCLA Bruins won the game and then the national championship.)

Kennedy Polamalu, in a letter published on Bruin Report Online (not behind paywall), made his first public comments in the wake of being fired as the offensive coordinator for the UCLA football team.

I do not believe that going to a pro-style offense was a mistake, but obviously you need the right personnel, and the injuries to Josh and our linemen did not help. It’s no secret that there are certain coaching staffs that do an excellent job of identifying and exploiting mismatches. But those advantages are all rooted in their ability to dominate their opponents both physically and mentally, and that was something we were simply unable to do this past season.

From ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, it’s back to the drawing board for UCLA head coach Jim Mora.

Whoever Mora hires as his next offensive coordinator will come into a situation with a quarterback and head coach as closely tied to the other as any tandem in college football -- and they both have a lot to prove.

All right, enough about football...

Let’s end this with a nice little dunk from Norman Powell: