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.

Thursday, 04 January 2018 15:36

Bruins Heading To the Farm

Holiday A UO12316UCLA (11-3, 2-0) is heading to the bay area to take on Stanford (6-8, 0-1) at Maples Pavilion, a venue that holds 7,392 fans. The Bruins are currently on a roll that has seen them win four straight games.

The Bruins recently swept the two Washington schools last weekend at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA trailed Washington by eight points at the half but battled back to win going away, 74-53.

UCLA is improving as the season is progressing. In their victory over Washington, the Bruins held the Huskies to only 17 points in the second-half while UCLA scored 46

It was a great win where the Bruins will be able to learn and continue to improve as the season goes forward.

UCLA had three players who scored in double-figures against the Huskies, led by Kris Wilkes, who had a career-high and game-high 21 points. Wilkes has shown marked improvement at the free throw line of late.

Aaron Holiday accounted for 14 points and had a game-high five assists. Prince Ali added 12 points and Thomas Welsh came down with a game-high 12 rebounds.

This Thursday's game will be the first of two regular-season meetings between UCLA and Stanford this month — the Cardinal will face the Bruins in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 27.

The Cardinal is coached by Jerod Haase, who is his second season at the helm. He guided Stanford to 14 wins his first season while playing against one of the toughest schedules in college basketball.

Stanford is coming off a very tough loss against archrival Cal after the Cardinal blew a 17-point lead, but in a positive light for Stanford, they are finally getting all their pieces back for conference play.

Freshman forward Kezie Okpala (6-8, 195) will be playing in his third game the Cardinal welcomes the Bruins. He’s an athletic big.

Also returning is senior swingman, Dorian Pickens (6-5, 215) who be playing his second game after suffering a foot injury early in the season. In minimum action, Pickens is averaging 11.3 points per game (ppg).

Okpala and Pickens will take some pressure off of junior forward, Reid Travis (6-8, 245) who leads the team in scoring averaging 20.9 ppg.

Senior forward Michael Humphrey (6-9, 245) averages 11.7 ppg and freshman guard Isaac White (6-1, 185) is averaging 9.7 ppg.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM PST and the contest will be televised by FS1 with Aaron Goldsmith doing the play-by-play and Casey Jacobsen analyzing the action.

UCLA Sports Network from IMG will broadcast the game on AM 1150 Josh Lewin and UCLA great Tracy Murray performing their usual duties.

Monday, 01 January 2018 16:15

Bruins Roar Back and Win Going Away

Wilkes K UWIf you tuned out at halftime you probably thought that the Bruins were about to go down to a crumbling home-court defeat to the Huskies. In the first-half UDub’s zone defense was wreaking havoc and UCLA’s offense was out of rhythm. The Bruins trailed by eight at the half and didn’t look like the Bruins had an answer for what the Huskies were doing on the defensive end.

The Bruins became defensive as well and started to run the floor getting easier shots on offense before the Huskies could set up their squelching defense. The Bruins took total command in the second-half. The discipline that the Huskies displayed in the first-stanza was dismantled and fell into disarray.

UCLA (11-3, 2-0) took an eight-point deficit and ended defeating Washington (11-4, 1-1) in crushing fashion, 74-53. How dominating were the Bruins in the second-half? UCLA scored 46 second-half points, Washington was held to only 17.

“Super proud of our guys,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “This is obviously a night that for 22-23 minutes not a lot was going right. We didn’t rebound the ball well, we didn’t defend, we turned the ball over and we weren’t making shots.

“We really challenged the guys at halftime about having a little bit more effort. Our effort, when you play a Pac-12 game and you finish on a 45-10 run, when you go on a run like that your effort is on another level. We grew up tonight and did a lot of good things.

“In the second half, we held them to 17 percent shooting and 17 points and outrebounded them on a night that we didn’t click. We didn’t have a lot of guys shoot the ball well and had more turnovers than assists and to come out with a 21-point win against a team that’s very good and having a good year, I’m really happy.”

The Bruins had three players who scored in double-figures, led by Kris Wilkes, who had a career-high and game-high 21 points. Aaron Holiday accounted for 14 points and had a game-high five assists. Prince Ali added 12 points and Thomas Welsh came down with a game-high 12 rebounds.

It was a great win where the Bruins will be able to learn and grow from. It’s never easy to overcome an eight-point lead at the half, but the Bruins did just that.

“I thought we showed some maturity,” Alford said. “When you are down 14, with 17 minutes to go and win by 21, you’ve done some really good things. I told the locker room I was really proud of them because there are a lot of teams that wouldn’t have been able to come back from that.”

UCLA will take its act on the road and hit the bay area. The first stop will be at Stanford on Thursday, Jan. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM PST at Maples Pavilion. The contest will be televised by FS1. After the Stanford game, the Bruins will head to the East Bay to play Cal on Saturday, Jan. 6.

Sunday, 31 December 2017 16:05

Bruins To Host Huskies

Welsh T USC030917UCLA (10-3, 1-0) wants to bring the New Year in right, but to do so they must beat visiting Washington (11-3, 1-0), both the Bruins and the Huskies are coming off conference wins.

The Bruins had a solid victory over Washington State, 96-82, while the Huskies beat USC at the Galen Center for a rare Pac-12 Conference road win, 88-81.

UCLA’s win was led by a spectacular performance by junior point-guard, Aaron Holiday, who had a career-best in points with 33 and rebounds with 11 while registering his first double-double of the season. On the night, Holiday joined the exclusive UCLA 1,000 career point club.

Thomas Welsh also joined the career 1,000 point club and notched another double-double on his resume, his ninth this season, scoring 12 points and coming down with a game-high 14 boards against the Cougars.

Jaylen Hands scored 19 points and had four assists off the bench while Kris Wilkes added 14 points and five rebounds in the victory.

The Huskies had five players score in double-figures against the Trojans while shooting 67.3 percent from the field (37-of-55), it’s the second time UDub has shot over 62 percent from the field this season (62.7 percent vs. BCU) and the second time in the last three games.

It is obvious that the Huskies are coming into Pauley on a roll. Washington had success pounding the paint against USC, over half UW’s 88 points, 52 to be exact, came from inside the key.

The Huskies have four players who are averaging in double-figures. Freshman guard, Jaylen Nowell (6-4, 200) leads the team in scoring averaging 16.9 points per game (ppg).

Junior forward, Noah Dickerson (6-8, 245) is next chipping in 15.5 points per game and leads the team in rebounding averaging 7.9 boards a game. Junior guard, David Crisp (6-0, 195) adds 12.2 ppg.

Junior guard, Matisse Thybulle (6-5, 195) is a force to be reckoned with. He averages 11.1 points per game, and he’s a defensive stopper, too.

Thybulle is the only player this season to have season highs of 19 points, seven steals, five blocks, seven assists, six rebounds and five made threes. The last a Pac-12 player accomplished that feat was during the 1996-97 season. Thybulle currently has 77 career blocks, which is seven shy of cracking UDub’s top five all-time career blocks list.

Washington is coached by Mike Hopkins, who is in his first-year on the job. The Huskies gave Hopkins his first opportunity as a head coach and so far they have been pleased with the results turning the program around thus far this season.

Hopkins spent the last 22 years as an assistant coach at Syracuse where he was part of a program that reached the NCAA Tournament, 16 times, including winning a National Championship in 2003.

Tipoff is scheduled for 5:06 PM PST and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Jim Watson handling the play-by-play and UCLA all-time great Don MacLean analyzing the action.

UCLA Sports Network from IMG will broadcast the game on AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and another UCLA all-time great Tracy Murray in their usual chairs.

Saturday, 30 December 2017 15:47

Bruins Open Pac-12 Play With Win

Holiday A WSUUCLA (10-3, 1-0) was able to carry the momentum garnered with their victory over Kentucky with another impressive win over an upset motivated Washington State (8-5, 0-1) outlasting the Cougars, 96-82.

The Bruins and Cougars were playing a hard-fought game with UCLA only leading by five points at the half. UCLA came out with a 6-0 run to start the second stanza, but Washington State roared and was able to get the game as close as 64-62 with less than 10 minutes to play, but that’s when the Bruins took over and went on a 13-2 run and kept the Cougars at bay.

“Really proud of the guys,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “To get a big win like we did against Kentucky and then to come back and to open up the conference season at home after a break, I thought the guys played well. I thought we really competed and played hard.

“If there was a negative I thought they made too many 3-pointers, but that’s what they do, we just didn’t get them off the line as much as we wanted to. We dominated the free throw line. I thought we scored at a very high level and valued the basketball with only seven turnovers in our conference opener at home.

“We had some good growth tonight. We had some guys, Prince [Ali], I told him afterward that I don’t think he had a very good shooting night but he guarded well and there’s growth in that. When your shots not going in you have to do some other things and I think he did some really good things. Jaylen [Hands] got hot in the second half which is good to see. Aaron [Holiday] was spectacular. “

Yes, Holiday was spectacular. The junior point guard notched his first double-double of the season scoring a game and career-high 33 points. A career high in rebounds with 11. Holiday also tied two other players for a game four assists and had one steal and one blocked shot. He also joined the exclusive 1,000 career point club with his performance.

Thomas Welsh also joined the career point club and added another double-double to his resume scoring 12 points and coming down with a game-high 14 boards.

“That was a special night for him [Holiday] and I’m really happy with him and Thomas [Welsh] for both of them going over 1,000 career points,” Alford said. “That’s something special, when you’re playing in a place like UCLA, to go over 1,000 points, it tells you what you’ve done in your career, and both of those guys did some really good things.”

Jaylen Hands had an outstanding night coming off the bench scoring 19 points and had four assists. Kris Wilkes added 14 points and five rebounds. What was notable about Wilkes performance was he was 7-9 from the free-throw line and that is a marked improvement.

All in all the Bruins shot 78.8 percent [26-33] from the line and that will make it tough on the opposition.

It appears that the Bruins are improving as the season progresses. UCLA’s next test is Sunday Evening, which happens to be New Year’s Eve. Tipoff at Pauley Pavilion is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network and AM1150 will broadcast the game on local radio.

Friday, 29 December 2017 14:50

Bruins Open Pac-12 Play Against Cougars

Hands J SCSUUCLA (9-3, 0-0) is entering Pac-12 play coming off their biggest victory of the season by beating highly ranked Kentucky, 83-75. The Bruins hope the momentum will continue when they welcome Washington State (8-4, 0-0) to Pauley Pavilion. This will be the first time UCLA has opened conference play since Steve Alford’s first-year on the job during the 2013-14 season.

The Bruins showcased solid defensive play against Kentucky and rebounded well. On offense, UCLA shared the basketball. That is the main reason five Bruins ended up scoring in double-figures.

Aaron Holiday and Kris Wilkes tied for a game-high in points with 20. For Wilkes, his scoring output tied his career-high. Holiday also a game-high eight assists. Thomas Welsh notched his ninth double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and coming down with a game-high 11 boards. He also had three steals. Jaylen Hands added 14 points off the bench and Prince Ali chipped in 12 points.

Both Welsh and Holiday are nearing 1,000 point mark for their careers. Welsh currently has 989 points and Holiday 983. There is a very good chance that both players will reach that 1,000 point milestone during this homestand.

The Cougars also will enter Pauley with momentum. Last time out, the Wazzu beat Bethune-Cookman, 86-58. Washington State took control of the game in the second-half outscoring Bethune-Cookman 48-16.

Washington State were victors of the Wooden Legacy earlier in the season with consecutive victories against Saint Joseph's (75-71), Saint Mary's (84-79) and San Diego State (93-86).

The Cougars are led by junior forward Robert Franks who averages a team-leading 18.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Malachi Flynn has registered 15.8 points a team-best 4.4 assists per game.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:00 PM PST and will be televised on ESPN2 with Roxy Bernstein handling the play-by-play, and Bruin great Bill Walton analyzing the action.

UCLA Sports Network from IMG broadcast the contest locally on AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and another UCLA great, Tracy Murray performing their usual roles.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017 15:51

Bruins Get Dropped In the Desert

Lasley J KSUUCLA (6-7) saw their Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde season come to an end with a loss to Kansas State (8-5), 35-17. It looked for a moment that the Bruins would for the first time away from the Rose Bowl since September 17, 2016, leading 17-7 at the half, but the deficiencies that haunted the Bruins all season long would soon doom the effort.

The game seemed to turn when the Wildcats replaced redshirt freshman quarterback, Skylar Thompson, with sophomore signal caller Alex Delton. It didn’t take Delton long to make his presence known. Delton ran for a 68-yard touchdown moments after he entered the game making the score 7-3 Wildcats.

UCLA was able to take a 10-point halftime lead because of the play of redshirt quarterback Devon Modster, sophomore receiver Theo Howard and junior receiver Jordan Lasley.

Modster would go on to throw for a career-best 295 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown was an outstanding call. Modster hit Lasley on a screen and with one timely blocked, the speedy Lasley sprinted 52 yards for the score.

UCLA’s defense for the moment tightened up and quickly returned the ball to the Bruin offense which promptly scored again. This time Modster hit Howard on a beautifully thrown ball that went 70 yards for another touchdown.

Unfortunately for the Bruins that would be the end of their scoring, but the Wildcats were just warming up.

You would think that the Bruins had the momentum getting the ball to open the third quarter, but the Wildcat defense ended up pitching a shutout while Delton was leading a dominant rushing attack

The Wildcats scored four second-half touchdowns, two of which were on a short field. K-State’s first drive to pay dirt was a 78-yard drive that took eight plays to get closer but still trailing 17-14.

This is where it all started to unravel for the Bruins. A fumble by Bolu Olorunfunmi at the UCLA 24 was cashed in four plays later to take the lead 21-17. K-State would never relinquish the lead.

UCLA saw their drive stall near midfield and instead of punting decided to go for it and the Wildcats took over on downs. It the Cats four more plays to 50 yards, capped by a 41-yard touchdown run by Alex Barnes. K-State now led by a 28-17 score.

Another UCLA drive hit a dead end, but this time the Bruins punted and had the Wildcats pinned on their own two-yard line. Kansas State went on a gut-wrenching 15 play, 98-yard drive that took over eight minutes of clock to put the Bruins away 35-17 and that was how the scoring ended.

Once again the Bruin run defense gave up a huge amount of yardage, 344 yards on the ground to be exact.

Now the Bruin football program will pin their hopes on a new era led by Chip Kelly who dominated the Pac-12 Conference when he was with Oregon getting the Ducks to the NC game twice. Will long-suffering Bruin fans finally get their wish of football excellence and play in the big games?

For most Bruin fans, spring football can’t come quick enough and September of 2018, too. An anxious, but hopeful fan base awaits future glories. Only time will tell if their hopes will come true.

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