Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel, the former managing editor of PrepStar magazine, is nationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on college football recruiting. The veteran analyst and reporter was key in first making Blue Chip Illustrated and then PrepStar Magazine a recruiting publication standard.

Kimbrel has written for CBS Sportsline, ESPN.com, CNN-SI, The Sporting News, Athlon's, Lindy's, Football News, and numerous other publications. He has also consulted on All-America teams for Parade Magazine and Street and Smith's. Most recently, Rick was the West Coast Recruiting Editor for Rivals.com, national recruiting consultant for Rivals.com and publisher of BruinBlitz.com.

Rick has been a featured guest on many television shows around the nation including Prime Ticket, Fox Sports, Fox Sports West, CNN, CNN-SI and numerous local and regional stations. Kimbrel is also a highly sought after guest on radio broadcasts from coast-to-coast.

Sunday, 26 February 2017 16:27

Bruins Sweep Through the Desert

Ball L UA022517When No. 5 UCLA (26-3, 13-3 Pac 12) and No 4 Arizona (26-4, 15-2 Pac 12) met in Pauley Pavilion last month, the Wildcats came away with a victory because they did a better job on defense and rebounding. It was a wake up call for the Bruins. Since the Arizona loss in Pauley, UCLA has improved on defense. The Bruins used defense and rebounding to overcome a four point deficit at the half to win by five, 77-72.

“If there were any adjustments at halftime it was just challenging our guys on the backboard because I think we were down four at half,” Alford said. “I told them a lot of that had to do with the fact that we did not shoot the ball particularly well and we got into a little bit of a hurry. In the last five minutes of the half we got into too much of a hurry.”

“Halftime was about settling them down and challenging them on the backboard knowing how much of a physical fight this was going to be. I thought our guys showed a lot of toughness.”

In a close game, it always comes down to the details. UCLA didn’t shoot the ball badly, but they were below their season average from the field shooting 45.3 percent from the field, opposed to Arizona’s 51 percent. 

The Bruins made up the difference in heart and hustle. UCLA was ferocious on the offensive glass, out rebounding the Cats 14 to four, which led to second chance points. UCLA outscored Arizona 20 to four, on second chance points. Defense and rebounding were key.

“I thought we’ve been growing defensively,” Alford said. “Everyone wants to keep talking about our defense, but bottom line, we are a really good basketball team.”

“There are teams out there that aren’t close to us offensively, but no one wants talk about their offense. I really honestly believe that our guys have improved the most on that end in the month on February. I’ve said it, Arizona beat us at home, we lost to USC, and we were able to get our guys attention. They’ve been terrific all season long of just getting through things and getting better. We’ve just improved things in the month of February.”

“It’s been a long time since UCLA has had an undefeated February. I’m just proud of our guys. To go through the schedule that we’ve gone through and we are 26 up and three down and this is as good of an environment as there is. We have a win at Kentucky and at Arizona in the same year is pretty special.”

In December, the Bruins beat the No. 1 team at the time, Kentucky Wildcats, to end their home winning streak and now UCLA ended the Arizona Wildcat home winning streak ending it at 25 games.

UCLA’s winning effort put a damper on Wildcat sophomore guard Allonzo Trier’s game high 28 points. He was outstanding hitting on 11-14 from the field.

In total, UCLA had five players who scored in double figures in a really balanced effort on both ends of the court. Bryce Alford led the with 15 points. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Thomas Welsh had 14 points and eight rebounds. TJ Leaf added 12 points, seven boards, two blocked shots and a steal. Aaron Holiday scored 12 points and had two steals. Lonzo Ball scored 11 points, had a game high eight assists, five boards and two steals. Isaac Hamilton chipped in eight points.

It’s hard to believe, but UCLA’s regular season is coming to an end this week against the two Washington schools. The Bruins will play the Huskies in Pauley Pavilion Wednesday Evening March 2 at 8:00PM PST. The game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1.

The regular season concludes Saturday, March 4 against the Washington State Cougars. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15PM PST and will be covered nationally by ESPN.

Saturday, 25 February 2017 15:25

UCLA In Showdown Vs. Arizona

Leaf TJ UKyBoth No. 5 UCLA (25-3, 12-3 Pac 12) and No 4 Arizona (26-3, 15-1 Pac 12) resisted the temptation of looking ahead by taking care of the business at hand. The Bruins beat ASU 87-75 and the Wildcats took care of USC 90-77 in games leading up to the showdown in Tucson.

The Wildcats used an explosive offense and a defense that caused turnovers to beat USC. Though the Trojans shot 51 percent from the field, Arizona put the clamps on USC from beyond the arc, shooting only 5-15 on threes. 

Arizona forced USC into 14 turnovers that turned into 23 Wildcat points, plus Arizona was helped by getting 30 points from their bench.

Arizona’s victory over USC was a lot like their win over the Bruins last month. Strong play from the Wildcats on both ends of the floor and a lot of help from the bench.

When the Wildcats beat the Bruins 96-85, last month, UCLA’s defense was given a wake up call. Bruin head coach Steve Alford wasn’t happy with his team’s defensive play.

“We couldn’t get into a flow and get into a rhythm defensively,” Alford said after the first game with Arizona. “Our defensive efficiency tonight was awful.”

In the first game, UCLA allowed way to many open looks and the Cats made them pay by hitting 50 percent of their shots. Arizona was also were an outstanding 19-21 from the foul line and in total, the Wildcats had six players score in double figures.

Arizona had six players score in double figures led by Kobi Simmons’ team high 20 points. Simmons also had five assists and two steals to pace the Wildcats.

The first time the Bruins played the Wildcats, sophomore guard Allonzo Trier (6-5, 205) made his first appearance of the season. It was a huge lift for the Cats getting back a player in Trier who led Arizona in scoring for as a true freshman in 2015-16. 

Against UCLA last month, Trier played a well-rounded game, playing 27 minutes, scoring 12 points, seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists. Trier is coming of a season high 25 points against USC, including four three-pointers against the Trojans.

Including Trier, the Cats had five players scoring in double figures against USC. Freshman guard, Rawle Alkins (6-5, 220) came off the bench to score 12 points. Freshman forward, Lauri Markkanen (7-0, 230) chipped in 11 points, junior center Susan Ristic (7-0 245) scored 10 points off the bench and junior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (5-11, 170) added 10 points to the cause.

For the Bruins to have a chance beating Arizona in the desert they will have to continue their improved play on defense and shoot the ball better than they did the last time they played the Wildcats.

The Wildcats are on a 25 game winning streak on their home floor, McKale Arena (14,644) and are 14-0 this season. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:15PM PST and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Dan Shulman will be doing play-by-play, Jay Bilas is analyzing the action, and Maria Taylor will be court side.

If you happen to be out and about UCLA’s flagship station AM 570 will broadcast the game with Josh Lewin (play-by-play), and UCLA great Tracy Murray (analyst) in their usual chairs.

Friday, 24 February 2017 16:23

Bruins Exorcise Sun Devils, 87-75

LEAF TJ ASU022317UCLA (25-3, 12-3 Pac 12) was able to extend their winning streak to six games by upending an inspired ASU (13-16, 6-10 Pac 12) team, 87-75, setting up a huge contest with first place Arizona (26-3, 15-1 Pac 12), in a quick turn around, on Saturday Feb. 25.

The Bruins were able to get the job done on a night when their shots that usually drop, weren’t falling. Still, the Bruins had four players reach double figures and had their usual excellent ball movement. As a team, UCLA had 26 assists, against only 13 turnovers.

UCLA was able to use their height edge to out rebound ASU 49 to 30, and 17 to 10 of the offensive glass which led to UCLA scoring 31 second chance points to seven for ASU. The Bruins scored 51 points in the paint opposed to 22 for the Sun Devils.

Freshman forward, TJ Leaf led the Bruins in scoring with 25 points and was just shy of a double-double claiming nine boards. Senior guard, Bryce Alford, shook off a slow start but ended up scoring 15 points and tied for the team lead in assists with six.

UCLA’s bench received their usual lift from sophomore guard, Aaron Holiday, who scored 17 points and tied Alford with team high six assists. Freshman big, Ike Anigbogu had an outstanding game off the bench scoring 12 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Good players do what it takes to help their team win. Freshman sensation point guard Lonzo Ball and junior center Thomas Welsh are good players. Ball didn’t shoot the ball much, but still helped the Bruins win, tying with Welsh for a team high 11 rebounds.

Ball added five assists, two steals and one blocked shot. Welsh had eight points, three assists and one blocked shots.

The Bruins are heading down south on the 10 to Tucson for a gigantic game against No. 4 Arizona, tipoff is scheduled for 5:15PM PST at the McKale Center. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN. Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas calling the action with Maria Taylor serving as the court side reporter.

Thursday, 23 February 2017 15:59

Bruins Heading For the Desert

ball l UUSome may think that No.5 UCLA (24-3, 11-3 Pac 12) could be heading into a trap game when they tipoff against ASU (13-15, 6-9 Pac 12) at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona. The Bruins are looking for the season sweep.

With first-place Arizona (25-3, 14-1 Pac 12) on deck, could the Bruins be looking past the Sun Devils with a huge contest against the Wildcats on the horizon?

UCLA Coach, Steve Alford, in his weekly presser didn’t think that would be a problem. The Bruins have done a very good job focusing on the task at hand and that task is the Sun Devils.

The Bruins took care of business the first time around winning handily 102-80, but there was an eight minute stretch in the second stanza that allowed the Sun Devils back into the game and it was during a part of the season that the UCLA was having lapses, one that cost them their first loss to Oregon on a buzzer beater.

“We didn’t play well during that stretch, but sometimes you have to credit their performance,”Alford said after the previous game with ASU. “They [ASU] made shots during that stretch. They drew fouls during that stretch. I think that stuff is going to happen.”

Alford had reason to be pleased with the first game against the Sun Devils. The Bruins had 30 assists, scored 102 points and had five players scoring in double-figures. 

One that is for sure, the Sun Devils are an explosive offensive team and have players who are among the Pac 12’s top scorers. Senior guard, Torian Graham (6-5, 195) is second in the conference in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per game (ppg). Junior guard, Tra Holder (6-1, 180) is fourth in the Pac 12 scoring 17.2 ppg and junior guard Shannon Evans II (6-1, 160) in tenth in the league averaging 15.8 ppg.

The Sun Devils are averaging 79.3 ppg, their best showing since the 1997-98 season. ASU stands fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring. The Sun Devils do a good job at the foul line shooting 74.2 per cent. This fourth best in the Pac 12. ASU does a great job taking care of the basketball averaging only 10.6 turnovers a game that is best in the Pac 12 Conference.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05PM PST and will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Dave Pasch handling the play-by-play andUCLA great Bill Walton analyzing the action.

UCLA’s backup station, AM 1150 will broadcast the contest if you are stuck in Los Angeles traffic. Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and another all-time Bruin great, Tracy Murray (analyst) will be in their usual chairs.

SIRIUS/XM Radio Channel 134/Ch. 197 and SIRIUS App. Channel: Ch. 959 will broadcast the game on satellite.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 15:55

Steve Alford Weekly Presser

UCLA basketball coach, Steve Alford met the media on hand for his weekly presser. Alford talks about UCLA's improved defense. He is also asked about the current mock NCAA seedings where the Bruins are a four seed, yet they are ranked No. 5 in the nation. ASU and more is also included in this presser. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 15:00

Introducing Bruin Frosh TE Jimmy Jaggers

UCLA early freshman tight end enrollee, Jimmy Jaggers met with the Bruin beat media on signing day earlier in the month. Jaggers talks about the new offensive coaching staff, his decision to sign with UCLA and a whole lot more. Enjoy!

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