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What’s Bruin: Lonzo Ball Makes His Case for Player of the Year

News and notes from around the UCLA-iverse.

NCAA Basketball: CSU Northridge at UCLA
Ball leads the nation in assists this season.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

If Gary Parrish at had to vote for Player of the Year in college basketball right now, do you know who he would vote for? One Lonzo Ball, he says.

1. Lonzo Ball (UCLA)

Ball, as noted above, is posting incredible numbers across the board while also shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from 3-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio is better than 3-to-1. He's the main reason why UCLA looks like a legitimate threat to make the Final Four. And, as I detailed last week, he seems to have established himself as a likely top-10 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

His colleague Matt Norlander had even more UCLA love to give, declaring TJ Leaf his Freshman of the Week—a "no-brainer," he says, following Leaf’s dominant performance at Kentucky, and his Pac-12 and National Player of the Week honors. Norlander also ranks his top 10 freshman in college basketball, and while Parrish may have Ball as the Player of the Year, Norlander doesn’t even list him as the top freshman. Of note, four of Norlander’s top five frosh play in the Pac-12, two of his top five wear the Four Letters.

In football news, or rather football seating news, The Den’s student survey of a potential section move at the Rose Bowl has come back, per the Daily Bruin, with students in favor of the move to the end zone.

Moving the UCLA bench to the west side of the Rose Bowl – the shady side – has been a project of football coach Jim Mora’s and UCLA Athletics’ for a while, Kohl said. UCLA cannot move the home sideline without moving the student section due to Pac-12 regulations that prohibit a home student section from sitting behind a visiting sideline.

The Den has passed along the results of its survey to the Athletic Department, who will factor the data into their decision.

The Pac-12 Conference honored UCLA senior water polo player Patrick Woepse with its Pac-12 Leadership Award.

A native of Tustin, Calif., Woepse is a four-time letter winner in water polo for the Bruins and is a two-time national champion. He served on the Bruin Athletic Council for five years, including as its president during the 2015-16 school year. Woepse will graduate later this month and currently holds a 3.41 cumulative GPA in Geography / Environmental Studies. Like Wise, Woepse was a member of the inaugural Pac-12 SALT group that was so pivotal in making the student-athlete voice heard at the highest level.

Congratulations, Patrick!