We're starting another work week, albeit it a weird one with a holiday slapped right down in the middle. For our Bruins, they're busy gearing up for one last football game this season, a must-win bowl fight against Virginia Tech. Otherwise, Westwood is quiet with every other team out until the weekend. So, with that said, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this first day of a kind-of-weird Christmas-on-a-Wednesday work week:
- For once, beginning with our hoops program, the Los Angeles Times has a puff-piece for former UCLA coach Ben Howland, talking about how he's enjoying his year away from basketball, fishing, and spending time with family. And of course, Bill Dwyre made sure to point out that Howland is rooting for the Hoosier Loser and the Bruins, even going so far as to say that he is "impressed" with Bryce Alford. Well, I guess he still hasn't figured out how to evaluate talent (read: the Belgrade Bricklayer, the Wear twins, etc.), so no surprise he is "impressed" with Lil' Alfie.
- Speaking of mis-using basketball talent, in case you missed it, Brendan Lane, who did nothing but sit the bench under Ben Howland is actually getting to play at Pepperdine, averaging 28.8 minutes per game(compared to a high of 15.4 minutes during the 2010-2011 season in Westwood). And guess what happened when he got to play? Yeah, as of this writing, he's averaging 14.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. In comparison, Travis Wear (19.5 minutes, 5.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 blocks per game this year) and David Wear (23.7 minutes, 8.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 0.2 blocks per game this year) aren't even close. Thanks Ben for being the gift that keeps on giving!
- Turning to football, the biggest pending story is whether RS sophomore QB Brett Hundley will return to Westwood for his junior season, and it seems that the hints from the NFL is that he should stay.NFL.com's Dan Greenspan reports that at least one NFL scout thinks Hundley would be better served by staying in school for another year to develop experience, improve his accuracy and timing, and learn to make better reads in the passing game.
- And he's not the only one who thinks Hundley should stay in Westwood: WWL's Todd McShay weighed in a few days ago, saying that Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Brett should both stay for one more season in college, acknowledging both are extremely talented, but just not NFL-ready yet, saying "the process would eat them up."
- In evaluating his decision, the Los Angeles Times pointed out that Hundley has two readily-accessible and well-known examples to draw from. There's the cross-town experience of former Southern Cal QB Matt Barkley who went from projected first-round draft pick to having his college career ended by a brutal shoulder-crunching sackand falling down to the fourth round. And then there's the experience of the man who ended Barkley's collegiate career: our very own Anthony Barr, who was widely consideredthe break-out talent in college football last season but stuck around for his senior season and played his way into not being only a projected first round pick, but possibly the top defensive player in the entire NFL draft.
- Speaking of Barr, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press have a really great profile of Barr and the adversity and road he's faced to become a consensus top-ten pick in the upcoming NFL draft. It's a really nice read on a kid who has been an outstanding Bruin.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites as we kick off this Christmas week. Fire away with your additions, opinions, and commentary in the thread as we follow Jim Mora and our football Bruins as they gear up for the Sun Bowl.