Friday, 10 November 2017 18:14

UCLA Opens Hoops Against Georgia Tech

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Holiday A UMUCLA basketball opens the season ranked 18th nationally but will play their opening game across the waves in Shanghai, China, against the Rambling Wreck of Georgia Tech. One could only wish that the game would be the biggest story, but unfortunately, it is not.

The Bruins will be without three of their prized freshmen recruits, LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, who are being detained in the lakeside city of Hangzhou. The three are under investigation for shoplifting sunglasses from a Luis Vuitton store.

The rest of the UCLA basketball team headed 100 miles away from where the Yellow Jackets wait controversy-free. How will this Bruin team, a mix of veterans and youth respond? That will be decided at 8:30 PM PST tipoff when the 2017-18 Bruin basketball season begins.

The Bruins return junior point guard, Aaron Holiday, senior big man Thomas Welsh and senior forward Gyorgy G.G. Golomon, all who made contributions to UCLA’s Sweet 16 and 31-5 season in 2016-17.

Also returning after redshirting due injuries last season will be the athletic guard, Prince Ali and forward Alec Olesinski.

Sans the three missing freshmen, who were going to be counted on this game, the Bruins have two other freshmen available for action. Look for freshmen guards Jaylen Hands and Chris Wilkes to contribute. The sixth freshman forward Chris Smith will also be available if needed.

The Yellow Jackets are coached by Josh Pastner, who is in his second season at the helm. One may ask what Pastner has planned for an encore after being selected 2017 ACC Coach of the Year after leading Tech to a 21-16 record and reaching the NIT final.

GT has played two exhibition games in preparation for its season opener, a 65-58 loss to crosstown foe Georgia State and a 78-60 win over NAIA member Faulkner.

Though Georgia Tech lost six seniors from the 2016-17 squad, they return their top three scorers and two of its top three rebounders from that team in sophomore guard Josh Okogie (6-4, 213) who averaged16.1 points per game (ppg) and 5.4 rebounds per game (rpg). Senior center Ben Lammers  (6-10, 234) who averaged 14.2 ppg and 9.2 rpg and senior guard Tadric Jackson (6-2, 203) who averaged 12.1 ppg.

The game will be nationally televised by ESPN starting at 8:30 PM PST with Roxy Bernstein doing the play-by-play and Hall of Fame Bruin Bill Walton analyzing the action.

The contest will be broadcast on the UCLA Sports Network from IMG and will be aired onAM 1150 with Josh Lewin handling play-by-play and another Bruin all-time great Tracy Murray in the analyst chair.

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