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UCLA

Mar 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) guards UCLA Bruins guard Jonah Bolden (43) in the second half of the game at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon won 76-68. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
Mar 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) guards UCLA Bruins guard Jonah Bolden (43) in the second half of the game at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon won 76-68. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

UCLA is preparing to take a trip to Australia next month, and it is doing so without two key pieces.

The school announced Tuesday that junior wing Jonah Bolden would forego his final two years of eligibility and turn professional and play in Europe. The news of Bolden leaving comes less than two weeks after sophomore guard Prince Ali underwent surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. That injury occurred on July 8 during a pickup game.

Wednesday on the 4 Quarters Podcast, Bruins assistant coach David Grace addressed Bolden, Ali, and several other topics.

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 (John Hefti)
(John Hefti)

UCLA junior guard Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season and will forgo his final two years of eligibility, the school announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-10 Bolden will look to play for one season in Europe and then enter the 2017 NBA Draft, according to Australian reporter Olgun Uluc.

"Jonah came to us and expressed his desire to play professionally, and obviously, there are some other issues that went along with that, but I'm not allowed to talk about that due to the privacy of the young man," UCLA assistant coach David Grace said on The 4 Quarters Podcast, referencing Bolden's well-documented NCAA eligibility issues.

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Dec 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former basketball players Jerry West and Oscar Robertson sit court side during the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Kentucky Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Dec 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former basketball players Jerry West and Oscar Robertson sit court side during the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Kentucky Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

With just under 10 minutes remaining in the Kentucky-UCLA game Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion, Bruins freshman guard Prince Ali drove uncontested through the lane and emphatically dunked on Kentucky's Alex Poythress.

That more than anything symbolized what UCLA did to No. 1 Kentucky en route to an 87-77 victory in front of a crowd that included Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Jessica Alba.

The Bruins (5-3) -- who lost at home to Monmouth and to Kansas and Wake Forest at the Maui Invitational -- became the first team this season to beat the young Wildcats (7-1). It was UCLA's first win over a No. 1-ranked team since they beat Arizona on March 13, 2003.

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T.J. Leaf is moving from one Pac-12 school to another.

The former Arizona commit pledged to UCLA on Thursday on ESPNU, choosing the Bruins over Oregon and San Diego State.

"After this long decision, I have decided that I will be going to UCLA," Leaf said on ESPNU Thursday. "I have a great relationship with Coach [Steve] Alford and all of the other coaches there. Every time I go there, it felt like home. After a lot of thought and prayer, I felt like it was the place to be and I'm really excited about it."

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UCLA on Wednesday landed a pledge from Jaylen Hands, a 6-foot-3 2017 point guard from San Diego (CA) Balboa Prep.

The No. 3 point guard in the Class of 2017 according to 247Sports.com also considered Arizona, USC, Stanford, California and Louisville, among others.

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Jaylen Brown has?cut Kansas from his list, leaving four schools with Michigan the only Adidas school remaining

The news was first reported by Matt Scott of TheShiver.com.

The 6-foot-7 wing from Marietta (GA) Wheeler is now down to Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina and Cal, with the latter three all being Nike schools.?Brown has previously said he would prefer to play for an Adidas school.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAdzJ0J6n_Q

UCLA on Sunday landed a pledge from 6-foot-10?Ikenna?Okwarabizie of Tyler (TX) College, who will have three years of eligibility remaining.

"He is a strong, physical presence," Tyler coach Mike Marquis told SNY.tv. "He rebounds and defends well. On offense, he runs the floor, finishes around the rim and is an above average passer."

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From the moment UCLA was named to the 68-team field of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, talking heads have been ripping their selection.

But confronted by the media in Louisville on Wednesday, Bruins coach Steve Alford defended the Bruins' selection while also making some choice comments on overall No. 1 seed Kentucky.

"It's been kind of funny to us," Alford said. "It's UCLA. The history and tradition of UCLA in this tournament goes way, way back. But there's other teams. When you look at resumes and RPIs that were behind us, it's not like we were the last one in. We didn't get an 8 or 7-seed either. We got an 11-seed, but we weren't the last team in either. I think our guys have done enough."

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Alex Olesinski, a 6-foot-10 2015 power forward from La Porte (IN) La Lumiere School, verbally committed to UCLA on his official visit, associate head coach Brad Johnstin confirmed to SNY.tv.

Olesinski, who averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds and shot 44 percent from beyond the arc, also considered Boston College, Arizona State and Gonzaga, Johnstin said. UCLA assistant David Grace gets the assist on this one.

His older brother, Marek?Olesinski,?is a senior forward at Air Force.

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BY CHIP MILLER

Only one day after watching targets Carlton Bragg and Jayson Tatum, Kentucky head coach John Calipari was in Marietta, Georgia to see?Jaylen Brown, the?No. 2 prospect in the 2015 class according to 247Sports.

With five current Kentucky players on the DraftExpress 2015 Mock Draft and with two more -- Trey Lyles and Devin Booker -- gaining more praise from NBA scouts, Calipari is wasting no time in looking to secure Kentucky's fourth commitment in the 2015 class.

Tags: Articles, Jaylen Brown, Kansas, Kentucky, Recruiting, UCLA, Adam Zagoria
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BY CHIP MILLER

Kentucky head coach John Calipari is on hand Friday to see 2015 Cleveland (OH) Villa Angela-St.Joseph five-star forward Carlton Bragg?at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.V.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and?assistant Norm Roberts and Illinois assistant Dustin Ford are also expected.

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While there has been much chatter about visitors to Kansas and Kentucky for their Midnight Madness events, don't sleep on UCLA.

The Bruins today (Tuesday) will host 6-foot 2017 Mater Dei (CA) point guard Jaylen Hands, a source confirmed to SNY.tv after Andrew Slater of 247Sports reported it.

Hands is also being courted by?California, Memphis, San Diego, San Diego State, and USC, but the 247Sports crystal ball is 100 percent in favor of the Bruins.

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Carlton Bragg is planning an official visit to UCLA for Oct. 31 following a home visit Saturday with head coach Steve Alford and assistant David Grace.

"We're going to try to get down there for an official visit on the 31st," Michael Graves, Bragg's mentor, told SNY.tv. "I think UCLA has a scrimmage then."

Alford and Grace watched the 6-foot-8 Bragg out of Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph work out and then met with Bragg, his mother, his uncle and Graves.

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Highly touted UCLA freshman and native Australian?Jonah Bolden was deemed ineligible by the NCAA for his freshman season, UCLA said Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Bolden can't practice (for now) but?will remain on scholarship all year. He can practice after the first quarter if he maintains a certain GPA, a source close to the situation told SNY.tv.

"The NCAA has ruled that UCLA freshman Jonah Bolden is a partial qualifier, and as such, will not be able to compete for the men's basketball team this season," UCLA said, according to ESPN.com. "The ruling allows for Bolden to continue on athletic scholarship."

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Former UConn commit Prince Ali has committed to UCLA, he told SNY.tv by phone Saturday from the Nike Global Challenge.

"Yes," the Bronx native?said. "It's the perfect fit."

The 6-foot-4 combo?guard from The Sagemont (FL) School is set to visit UCLA Aug. 31 and was set to visit Louisville in early September.

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Following the Adidas Nations event this week in California, UCLA benefitted by hosting a trio of bigtime recruits in Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram and Thon Maker.

"Coach Steve Alford is a real down to Earth," the 6-foot-6 Brown told SNY.tv earlier this summer when he broke down his schools. "Coach [David] Grace is a real cool guy. Everything is great about that program and everything over there."

Actually, a water main recently broke at UCLA, flooding Pauley Pavilion but Brown told NBCSports.com before the visit he wasn't concerned.

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UCLA sophomore guard Kyle Anderson will declare for the NBA Draft, his father has?told SNY.tv.

Following UCLA's 79-68 loss to Florida in the Sweet 16, Kyle Anderson Sr. told SNY.tv he planned to sit down with his son to "figure things out." Anderson?went for 11 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in the game.

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Aaron Holiday, a 6-foot-1 junior point guard from Hollywood (CA) North Campbell, committed to UCLA on Monday, sources confirmed to SNY.tv.

Holiday is the younger brother of former UCLA and current New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.

According to the L.A. Times, Holiday averaged more than 30 points a game this season and has gone for 36, 39 and 42 points in his last three playoff games.

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UCLA landed its point guard of the future on Wednesday when 6-foot-5 Lonzo Ball, a four-star floor general in the Class of 2016 out of Chino Hills (Calif.), verbally committed to the Bruins.

Give assistant coach David Grace the assist on bringing Ball into coach Steve Alford's program.

After attending UCLA's 107-73 win over USC on Jan. 5, Ball called Grace on Wednesday to commit.

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As I previously reported on Twitter, UCLA pledge Jonah Bolden will finish up his high school career at Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

"Happy New Year! Excited to welcome #UCLA commit @Jonahbolden32 to the Brewster fam for '14," head coach Jason Smith Tweeted.

The 6-foot-9 Australian was at Findlay Prep for the fall semester but his high school clock expired and he'll now finish up at perennial national power Brewster.

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NEW YORK -- Much has been made about Kyle Anderson's pro potential, with ESPN's Chad Ford telling SNY.tv that the 6-foot-9 Anderson is "the most confusing player to project."

But count Knicks center Tyson Chandler among those who think Anderson has a place in the NBA.

"He's a big guy and I'm not for sure what position he would be in the league, I'm not sure he could play the point," Chandler told SNY.tv exclusively after Anderson went for 15 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in UCLA's 80-63 loss to Duke at Madison Square Garden.

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdtQLPdbQ64&w=560&h=315]

For all the talk about Jabari Parker's talent?and Kyle Anderson's homecoming entering Thursday's Duke-UCLA game at Madison Square Garden, nobody is flying up NBA Draft boards quite like UCLA freshman Zach LaVine.

The Website NBADraft.net currently has the 6-foot-5, 180-pound Seattle native at No. 5 on its 2014 Mock Draft -- ahead of Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Gary Harris.

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NEW YORK -- Kyle Anderson came into UCLA as a highly touted point guard who might join his teammate Shabazz Muhammad in the one-and-done department.

But something happened on the way to that seemingly inevitable plan.

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Australian small forward?Jonah Bolden?committed to UCLA during an official visit to campus that ended Monday.

The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep forward recently cut his list to six schools --??UCLA, Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, USC and SMU -- but UCLA always appeared to have an inside track after assistant coach David Grace visited the Bolden family in Australia.

"Jonah was impressed with Coach [Steve] Alford and felt he would enjoy playing for him, particularly hearing he?would play a small forward which is his natural position," Bruce Bolden, the player's father who visited UCLA with his son, told SNY.tv.
"He also liked UCLA's playing style and felt it suited his skill set and he could fit in with the players.?Plus, the coaching staff is very experienced in developing players for the pros."

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On a night when UCLA assistant coach David Grace watched Houston wing Justise Winslow play, the Bruins also landed a pledge from 7-footer Thomas Welsh.

Welsh, who averaged?12.6 points and 10.9 rebounds as a junior at Los Angeles Loyola, also reportedly considered Cal and Stanford. He is ranked No. 52 by Rivals in the Class of 2014.

"He felt that UCLA would help him to continue to develop as a player and person," Loyola coach Jamal Adams told SNY.tv.

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**UPDATED 1/5/14 -- The Minnesota Timberwolves today assigned Shabazz Muhammad to the Iowa Energy, the team?s NBA Development League affiliate. At one point, Muhammad was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2012 and was considered a future potential No. 1 draft pick.**

NEW YORK -- Shabazz Muhammad has traded in his Gucci backpack for a Jonas Brothers backpack.

As Kevin Martin and several of Muhammad's Minnesota Timberwolves teammates spoke with reporters Sunday night following the team's 109-100 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Muhammad quietly slipped out of the visitors locker room with a pink Jonas Brothers backpack slung over his shoulder.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvnAieGMxiU&feature=youtu.be

Kevon Looney, the 6-foot-8 power forward from Milwaukee Hamilton, gave UCLA a treat and five other schools a trick on Halloween.

In a press conference delayed two hours by some school bureaucracy, Looney picked UCLA over Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Tennessee and Wisconsin. According to Rob Hernandez, UCLA edged out Tennessee in the final analysis.

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Gyorgy Goloman, a 6-foot-10 center from The Sagemont (FL) School, has committed to UCLA, head coach Adam Ross confirmed to SNY.tv.

A native of Hungary who is the captain of the Hungarian U18 team, Goloman is entering his first season at Sagemont.

Goloman committed Sunday afternoon, and?also had offers from Davidson, New Mexico and Portland, among others.

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Kyle Anderson on Tuesday was named to the 2013-14 Bob Cousy Award Watch List, which is a pretty nice way for the Fairview, N.J., native to begin his sophomore season at UCLA.

"It's pretty cool," Anderson told SNY.tv by phone. "It's a list of a bunch of other good players so to see my name up with them is pretty cool."

The Bob Cousy Award is presented annually to the nation?s top point guard by the Basketball Hall of Fame, yet the 6-foot-9 Anderson spent part of his freshman season playing out of position at the 4 under former coach Ben Howland.

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Trevon Bluiett has decommitted from UCLA, as reported by the Indianapolis Star.

?I think the distance part of it played a factor,? Bluiett?s father,?Reynardo Bluiett, told the paper. ?When he sat down and thought about it, I think the distance from home was hard for him.?

The 6-foot-6 Bluiett is ranked No. 46 nationally by Rivals and committed to UCLA last month over Arizona, Butler, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Xavier.

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Isaac Hamilton?has officially signed with UCLA, but won't play until next season.

A graduate of St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.) in 2013, Hamilton began his fall quarter classes and signed a scholarship offer from UCLA on Thursday. He was admitted to the school earlier this month.

?We are very excited to welcome Isaac to the Bruin family,? head coach Steve Alford said. ?He comes from a great family, a strong high school program here in Los Angeles and he had an exceptional career as a McDonald?s All-American; an honor that encompasses skill, academics and character. Isaac is a big, versatile guard and will fit well with our system of play. We are excited he is a Bruin today.?

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Isaac Hamilton will be a huge addition for coach?Steve Alford and UCLA beginning in 2014, his former high school coach told SNY.tv.

"He has been admitted academically but he has not committed yet.?If (he goes) he will?be a great addition because he can play the one and the two," Los Angeles (CA) St. John Bosco coach Derrick Taylor told SNY.tv. "He's just a scoring machine.

"And he's a crazy good teammate who will never cause a problem. He's the greatest, most versatile person you could imagine."

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After taking a weekend visit to UCLA, Park Tudor (Ind.) wing Trevon Bluiett has committed to the Bruins, according to ESPN.com.

"I loved the campus and Coach [Steve] Alford and his staff made me feel welcome and comfortable as soon as I stepped on campus," Bluiett told ESPN.com.

The 6-foot-5, 185-pound wing who averaged 27.8 points last season also considered Arizona, Butler, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Xavier.

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UCLA released its schedule Tuesday and it is highlighted by a game against Duke on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden.

The matchup will pit two storied programs that have won a total of 15 national championships, 11 for UCLA and four for Duke.

The game will allow New Jersey forward Kyle Anderson to play close to home for a second straight year. Last season, UCLA played in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.

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Wanaah Bail, a 6-foot-9 forward from Houston, Texas, signed a grant-in-aid with UCLA, the school announced.

Bail?s eligibility to compete in the 2013-14 season is undetermined. UCLA will continue to work through the process to determine his status for the upcoming season.

Bail was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 28 player at his position and the No. 115 overall player in the high school class of 2012. He graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School in 2012, where he was a two-year varsity letterwinner playing for head coach Luke Lucky.

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Ron Holmes, the father of one-and-done UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad, was?indicted Thursday on federal bank fraud and conspiracy charges, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The indictment states that Holmes and his partners obtained ?mortgage loans by fraudulent means to buy houses,? from 2006 to 2009.

The U.S. attorney?s office is seeking to recover $2.5 million from Holmes. Shabazz, 20, played one year at UCLA before declaring for the NBA draft. UCLA recruited him while he played for Bishop Gorman High School. Rashad [Muhammad], 18, who also played for Bishop Gorman, will attend San Jose State on a basketball scholarship in the fall.

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Isaiah Briscoe has added two more high-major offers.

The 6-foot-3 2015 St. Benedict's Prep guard picked up offers from UCLA and Florida State, George Briscoe told SNY.tv.

"UCLA, when they come calling you definitely have to listen and weigh your options, absolutely," Isaiah's father told SNY.tv. "We definitely plan on making a visit to the West Coast. We definitely want to visit UCLA."

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ryGDORBXC4&w=560&h=315]

By DAVE SPAHN

Special to ZAGSBLOG

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Former UCLA pledge?Allerik Freeman?has re-opened his recruitment

"Yes," Findlay Prep coach Todd Simon told SNY.tv. "I think Al just wants to exercise all due dilegence in making this major life decision."

Freeman initially pledged to former UCLA coach Ben Howland, who has since been fired and replaced by Steve Alford.

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In news that can't surprise anyone, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad will?enter the 2013 NBA Draft.

Once a Top 5 pick on DraftExpress.com, Muhammad currently sits at No. 9 in its Mock Draft.

Muhammad led the Bruins with 17.9 points per game as a freshman in 2012-13, securing first-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors in addition to being named Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Las Vegas helped lead UCLA to a 25-10 record, the Pac-12 regular-season title, a runner-up finish in the Pac-12 Tournament and an NCAA Tournament berth.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Steve Alford-to-UCLA news was coming fast and furious to UCLA's current players and recruits on Saturday, but Rysheed Jordan is still considering the Bruins after the coaching change.

"Yeah, he's still considering them," Philly Vaux Roberts coach Jamie Ross told SNY.tv, before adding, "I didn't even know that Steve Alford got named."

Ross said he would "talk to 'Sheed about it and we'll let you know. He still is considering them."

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- UCLA freshman Tony Parker is hoping to meet with new Bruins coach Steve Alford and remains uncertain about his future, his father told SNY.tv Saturday.

After UCLA had initially targeted VCU's Shaka Smart and Butler's Brad Stevens, Alford agreed to a seven-year deal worth $2.6 annually, according to CBSSports.com. The former Indiana star signed a 10-year deal with New Mexico on March 20.

"I don't know if we're going to meet with him or he's going to meet with us, or if he would entertain it," Virgil Parker said by phone. "I haven't heard anything from them. I haven't heard from the athletic director, I haven't heard from anyone."

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Kyle Anderson Jr. "does not have plans" to enter the NBA Draft and will return to UCLA for his sophomore season, his father said Friday.

"Kyle does not have plans to declare on April 10 as an underclassmen and at this time is returning to UCLA," Kyle Anderson Sr. told SNY.tv in a text message sent to several outlets.

The former St. Anthony star is not on any NBA Draft boards, and at least one veteran NBA scout believes he is making the right move.

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With Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens apparently out of the mix at UCLA, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told SNY.tv that the school's boosters support the hiring of N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried.

"Mark said he wants it and the boosters want Mark Gottfried," the source told SNY.tv. "He's got the support of the boosters."

Smart has reportedly negotiated an extension at VCU through 2023 that will pay him $1.5 million annually, while Stevens is said to want to avoid the limelight associated with Los Angeles.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Ben Howland will be fired as the head coach of UCLA, with an official announcement coming possibly as early as Sunday, a source with direct knowledge confirmed to SNY.tv.

The news was first reported by Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop. Citing two sources, Yahoo! Sports later reported that Howland had been informed he was being fired.

?Contrary to multiple media reports this evening, UCLA has not fired men?s basketball coach Ben Howland,??UCLA Athletics spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso said in a statement.

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Is UCLA coach Ben Howland a dead man walking?

That is the $64,000 question as the Bruins get set to face Minnesota on Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Some reports out of Los Angeles indicate that Howland's fate has already been sealed, and that the school has already completed his $2.3 million buyout.

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UCLA coach Ben Howland confirmed the seemingly obvious Saturday when he said that Shabazz Muhammad will enter the NBA Draft after his freshman season.

"I knew going into this deal that this was a one-year deal and it should be," Howland told Fox Sports after the 6-foot-6 Muhammad went for 18 points, including two key foul shots with 9 seconds remaining, as UCLA upset No. 11 Arizona,?74-69, at Pauley Pavillion.

"He's a top-five pick. When you have that going for you, it's absolutely the right thing for him. That was absolutely his last game in Pauley Pavilion. I know that, he knows that, we all know that. We want the season to go as long as possible for him."

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Things continue to get wild in Westwood.

No. 24 UCLA, off to a 4-2 start that included Sunday's loss to Cal Poly, announced that junior center Josh Smith has left the team.

"Joshua is a fine young man who has meant a lot to this program," said UCLA head coach?Ben Howland. "I know I speak for myself and my staff when I thank him for his time in Westwood and wish him well in his future endeavors."

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