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.

Friday, 17 March 2017 17:12

Bruins Ready For Tournament Play

Ball L SUA year ago, the UCLA basketball team was sitting at home. They didn’t make the NCAA Tournament and Bruin fans were upset. If there was one thing UCLA hoops fans could depend on, were the Bruins making the tournament. They didn’t. Mutiny was in the air.

Just a short 12 months ago, some Bruin fans were clamoring for Steve Alford to be dismissed as UCLA’s basketball coach. There were planes flying over Westwood with signs for all to see, displaying a “Fire Alford” banner.

UCLA (29-4) is back where they belong, in the tournament. Alford’s coaching stock is on an uptick. There are already rumors circulating that Indiana, who fired their coach Tom Crean, is interested in Alford, which would make sense, the Bruins coach won a national championship while playing for Hoosiers and is an Indiana legend.

There is always noise, when playing in March Madness. Now, the Bruins will have added noise, to go with all the other stuff, that goes with playing in the tournament.

What a difference a year makes.

UCLA will open tournament ranked No. 6 [USA Today Coaches Poll] and No. 8 [AP Poll]. The Bruins are coming off their worst shooting performance of the season, in the semi-final game of the Pac 12 Conference Tourney, losing to eventual champ, Arizona.

The Bruins shot 40 percent from the field and a dismal 16 percent from beyond the arc. It is worth reminding that Bryce Alford was 1-10 from the three-point line, Lonzo Ball 1-6, Aaron Holiday 1-5 and Isaac Hamilton 1-4. It will be difficult for the Bruins to win games when the team goes cold from beyond the arc. In total, the UCLA was 4-25 from the arc.

The loss to Arizona, was UCLA’s first in over a month. No time like the present to get back on track and play the kind of basketball that the Bruins did in March when they beat everyone on their schedule including three teams that made the NCAA Tournament [Arizona, Oregon and USC].

UCLA will play in their 48th tournament and enters the competition as the college basketball’s leading scoring team averaging 90.4 pig, assists per game [21.5], total assists [709] and turnover-to-assist ratio [1.86].

play against Kent State (22-13) and

Like the Bruins, heir opponent in the first round, Kent State (22-13) finished  the regular season strong going 9-1 after shaking off a slow start. The Golden Flashes started league play 1-4.  

Kent State was 5-7 in league play and didn’t look like they were going anywhere let alone make the tourney. Then the Golden Flashes really took off and earned a tournament bid for the sixth time in the program’s history. The last time Kent State made the competition was in 2008 and they reached the Elite 8 in 2002.

The Golden Flashes had a non conference season that included a win at Texas, but losses to Oregon State and Wright State. 

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00PM PST and will be televised on truTV with Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, and Len Elmore behind the mics, with Ros Gold-Onwude covering court side.

If you are out and about you can hear the broadcast in the Los Angeles area on UCLA’s flagship station AM 570 or its backup AM1150 with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Bruin great Tracy Murray (analyst) in their usual roles.

Sirius/XM Radio Channels 145/206 and Sirius App, Channel 964 will also air the contest.

Friday, 17 March 2017 12:47

Lonzo Ball Wins Tisdale Award

News Release from the USBWA:  http://bit.ly/2mxm8ks


Bruins’ guard honored as the nation’s top freshman player

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – UCLA’s Lonzo Ball has selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to receive the Wayman Tisdale Award as the National Freshman Player of the Year, as announced Thursday by the USBWA.

Ball, a 6-foot-6 guard from Chino Hills, Calif., leads the nation in assists per game (7.7) and total assists (254), having averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Ball has already established the Pac-12 freshman assists record (254) and is just two assists shy of tying the UCLA single-season record of 256 set by Larry Drew II in 2012-13.

Ball is on pace to become the first Pac-12 player to average at least 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds in one season since California’s Jason Kidd in 1993-94.

One of six Bruins currently averaging in double-figure scoring, Ball has helped lead the Bruins to a 29-4 record and the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s South Regional.

Ball has already been named a first-team All-America selection by the USBWA, becoming the first UCLA freshman to secure first-team recognition since Kevin Love accomplished that feat in 2007-08. In addition, Ball was also selected the Pac-12 Conference’s Freshman of the Year and the USBWA’s District IX Player of the Year.

“What we enjoy most about Lonzo is how consistent he’s been with our team,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “Nothing fazes this young man. He’s the same guy each and every day and has done a great job at keeping his focus on our next game. He has helped prepare this team the best that he can, and he does so many things to make everybody else better.”

“He can beat you with his passing, his shooting, his defense, his ability to create for himself, and how he’s able to create for others. Above being an outstanding basketball player, I’m most appreciative of the strong character that Lonzo demonstrates every day. We’re fortunate to have him on our team. He’s a major part of what we’re doing, and I know that he’s looking forward to this NCAA Tournament.”

The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year award since the 1988-89 season, an award that was named in honor of the late Wayman Tisdale in 2011. Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-America selection at Oklahoma and the first fresh­man ever to receive first-team All-America honors from the USBWA.

Notable winners of the USBWA’s national freshman of the year award have included Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber. LSU’s Ben Simmons won the award last season.

UCLA (29-4) takes on Kent State (22-13) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 17. Game time at the Golden 1 Center (Sacramento, Calif.) is slated for 7 p.m. (PT). UCLA’s game will be nationally televised on truTV.

Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:02

UCLA Competes in Pac-12 Gym Championships

Pac-12 Championships - Session 2 

Saturday, Mar. 18 - 6 pm PT (Maples Pavilion)

TV: Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson, Amanda Borden, Samantha Peszek) 

Online: pac-12.com/now

Tickets: gostanford.com

Live Stats: gostanford.com

Twitter: @uclagymnastics

UCLA Competes in Pac-12 Championships

No. 3 UCLA (9-2) will defend its Pac-12 title this weekend at the Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships in Stanford. The Bruins, who are seeking their 18th Pac-12 team title, are the top seed and will compete in the evening session at 6pm along with No. 2 seed Utah, No. 3 seed Oregon State and No. 4 seed Washington. Competing in the afternoon session at 1pm are No. 5 seed California, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 seed Stanford and No. 8 Arizona State. Seeding is determined by national rankings, which are based on Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). The Pac-12 champion will be the team with the highest score from the two sessions. Individual champions will also be determined via combined sessions.

Follow Live

Both sessions at the Pac-12 Championships will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks, with Jim Watson and Amanda Borden on the call and UCLA alumna Samantha Peszek serving as a sideline reporter. Live stats will be available at gostanford.com, and live updates can be found on Twitter by following @UCLAGymnastics.        

Rotation Order

As the top seed, UCLA has chosen to start the meet on vault and end on floor exercise, giving the Bruins Olympic order, which they also had last season en route to winning the Pac-12 title. Utah chose to start on uneven bars, Oregon State chose to begin on floor exercise, and Washington will start on balance beam. In Session 1, California starts on vault, Arizona on beam, Stanford on bars and Arizona State on floor. 

Conference Championship History

UCLA has won the most conference championships among the eight member schools with 17 Pac-12 titles (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2016) and 1 WCAA title (1981) in 30 years. Oregon State (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2011, 2013), Stanford (1998, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008) and Utah (2014, 2015) are the only other teams to win Pac-12 titles.

UCLA has dominated individually at the Pac-12 Championships, winning a conference-best 88 individual titles. The Bruins have been especially dominant in the all-around, winning 18 titles, including 12 in the last 21 years (includes ties). UCLA gymnasts have won 21 titles on bars, 17 on floor, and 16 on vault and beam.  There are six reigning Pac-12 individual champions in the field: reigning champions JaNay Honest (UCLA), Elizabeth Price (Stanford) and Kaitlin Duranczyk (Washington) on bars; Baely Rowe (Utah) and Madeline Gardiner (Oregon State) on beam; and Tiffani Lewis (Utah) on floor. Cal’s Toni-Ann Williams is also a reigning Pac-12 floor co-champion but is out for the season due to a torn Achilles. 

Last Year at Pac-12 Championships

Ninth-ranked UCLA won the 2016 Pac-12 Gymnastics Championship, scoring 197.250 to record its 17th Pac-12 title in school history. The outcome of the meet came down to senior Sadiqua Bynum, who scored 9.9 to clinch the victory on the last floor routine of the meet. The meet was truly won by UCLA on the balance beam in the third rotation, however, as the Bruins delivered the sixth-highest beam score in school history – 49.575 – to pull away. All six Bruin gymnasts scored 9.9 or higher, with Danusia Francis leading the way with a meet-high-tying 9.95 that gave the senior star her first career Pac-12 event title. Freshman Nicki Shapiro delivered a career-high 9.925, and the other four competitors – Mikaela Gerber, Sonya Meraz, Katelyn Ohashi and Sophina DeJesus – each scored 9.9. UCLA’s uneven bars set, which scored a meet-high 49.300, also helped the Bruins move into the lead. Sophomore JaNay Honest won a share of the uneven bars title with a 9.9.                    

Pride of the Pac

The Pac-12 Conference has seven teams ranked in the Top 36. UCLA ranks 3rd, Utah is 5th, Oregon State 10th, Washington 15th, California 16th, Arizona 30th and Stanford 31st. Arizona State ranks 45th.   

Attendance Records Set

Fans came out to see the Bruins in record numbers this season. UCLA set a new record for average attendance with 7,568 and a new record for single-meet attendance with 12,576 fans in attendance to see UCLA vs. California on March 5.     

Bruins Close Regular Season with Bang 

UCLA closed its regular season campaign with a bang, scoring 197.8, its second-highest mark of the season, in an over two-point win over North Carolina. The Bruins scored a season-high 49.65 on floor exercise, posting five scores of 9.9 or higher. Two Bruins earned perfect 10s during the meet - Christine Peng-Peng Lee on bars and Katelyn Ohashi on beam - while two others received a perfect 10 from one of the two judges on floor - Macy Toronjo, who finished with a career-high 9.95, and Hallie Mossett, who finished with a 9.975. The Bruins’ high marks were especially encouraging considering that its top all-around competitor, Madison Kocian, was resting on all four events.      

Hall, Kramer Hit 10.0-Start Value Vaults

In the win over North Carolina, the Bruins competed and hit two 10.0-start value vaults. Junior Napualani Hall brought back her Yurchenko 1.5 and scored 9.85, and freshman Gracie Kramer hit her second-highest vault score of the year on her Yurchenko 1.5, scoring 9.875. Kramer has competed the 1.5 four times and has a high of 9.925, set Feb. 11. She has two second-place finishes on vault this year. Kramer became the first Bruin to hit a 10.0-start value vault - a Yurchenko 1.5. Kramer scored a career-best 9.925 on the vault to place second. Kramer has vaulted in eight of nine meets this season but had been throwing the 9.95-start value Yurchenko full in the first four meets, with a high mark of 9.8. She has thrown the 1.5 in her last three competitions.       

Lee Named Pac-12 Specialist of Week

Christine Peng-Peng Lee earned her third Pac-12 Specialist of the Week award this season after scoring her second perfect 10 on uneven bars during UCLA’s win over North Carolina. Lee also placed second on balance beam with a 9.925. In addition to winning Specialist of the Week honors, Lee was voted the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week. 

Ohashi Scores Second-Straight 10

Sophomore Katelyn Ohashi became the first Bruin ever to score perfect 10s on beam in consecutive meets when she accomplished the feat Mar. 5 and Mar. 12. Ohashi is also just the second Bruin ever to score multiple 10s on beam in the same year, joining Kate Richardson who did it in 2003 and 2004.    

10.0 Club

Four Bruins have joined the 10.0 club this season, as Kyla Ross (Jan. 28, Feb. 18, Feb. 20), Madison Kocian (Feb. 11), Christine Peng-Peng Lee (Feb. 11, Mar. 12) and Katelyn Ohashi (Mar. 5, Mar. 12) have all scored perfect 10s. The four perfect 10 scorers this season are the most by a Bruin team since 2004, when five different gymnasts scored 10s (Jeanette Antolin, Jamie Dantzscher, Kristen Maloney, Kate Richardson and Yvonne Tousek). The eight perfect 10 routines are tied with Oklahoma for the most in the nation this year, and they are the most by a Bruin squad since the 2004 team scored a school-record 20, including 11 alone by Jeanette Antolin.

Twenty-nine different UCLA gymnasts have scored a total of 112 perfect 10s over the years. Twelve have totaled 25 perfect 10s on uneven bars, and seven have scored 12 perfect 10s on balance beam. Ross, Kocian and Lee are the first Bruin trio to score perfect 10s on the same event in one year since Richardson, Antolin and Maloney all did so on vault in 2004. Ross and Ohashi are the first pair of Bruins to score perfect 10s on beam in the same season since Maloney and Mohini Bhardwaj in 2001.

Perfect Scores Abound for Ross

Freshman Kyla Ross, a member of the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. Olympic team and a five-time World medalist, has performed eight routines in her last eight meets that have earned at least one perfect score. Ross has scored two perfect 10s on bars, both on the road, and scored her first perfect 10 on beam at home on Feb. 20. Ross, along with Florida’s Alex McMurtry, have the second-most 10.0s in the nation this season, behind only Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols, who has five. 

Ross’ first perfect 10 came on Jan. 28 at Oregon State on uneven bars, and her second was earned on bars again at Utah on Feb. 18. She nabbed her first 10 on beam in the Bruins’ tri-meet on Feb. 20, giving her two 10s in less than 48 hours. Ross also has two 9.975s - one on beam on Feb. 4 and another on bars on Feb. 11 - and has also scored 9.925 on her 9.95 start-valued vault in two meets, receiving the maximum 9.95 score from one of the two judges. Ross is the first Bruin gymnast to score three 10s in a season since Tasha Schwikert in 2005.     

Perfect Pair

Madison Kocian and Christine Peng-Peng Lee made history on Feb. 11 when they became the first UCLA duo to score perfect 10s on uneven bars in the same meet. The perfect 10s were the first of their careers, and the second and third by a Bruin gymnast on bars this season. Kyla Ross scored the first 10.0 on Jan. 28. Kocian and Lee are the first Bruins to score perfect 10s on the same event in the same meet since Kristen Maloney and Jeanette Antolin scored a pair of perfect 10s on vault at the NCAA Regionals on Apr. 3, 2004.     

Preston Hits Perfect 9.95 Vault

Sophomore Madison Preston was the third Bruin to receive a perfect score on one of her routines against Stanford Feb. 11, scoring 9.95 on her 9.95-start value vault. Preston stuck a perfect Yurchenko layout full to score a career-high and win the event. Preston has three vault wins in seven meets this season and is averaging 9.85 on the year, with three scores of 9.9 or better.       

Mossett Becomes Latest Bruin to Go Viral

For the second year in a row, a UCLA floor exercise routine has gone viral. This year’s viral sensation is Hallie Mossett, whose floor routine set to Beyoncé music (Formation, Partition and Single Ladies) has been posted all over social media (4 million views on Facebook) and in the mainstream media by Entertainment Weekly, Cosmo, Time, People and the Daily Mail. Mossett scored a 9.975 on that routine against Arizona on Feb. 25 and matched the score against North Carolina on Mar. 12.        

UCLA Captures Program’s 700th Victory

UCLA’s Feb. 25 dual meet win over Arizona marked the 700th all-time victory for the Bruins. Since 1977, the Bruins have posted an overall record of 702-206-3. Head coach Valorie Kondos Field has 490 of those victories in her 27 years as head coach.   

Ross, Lee Ranked No. 1, 2 on Bars

Freshman Kyla Ross remains ranked No. 1 in the nation on uneven bars for the third-straight week, while redshirt senior Christine Peng-Peng Lee moves up a spot to No. 2. Ross, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2013 World silver medalist, has a RQS of 9.965 and is averaging 9.963 in her last six meets. She is also ranked in the Top 20 on beam (No. 10) and vault (No. 16). Lee, who has won NCAA Regional bars titles in each of the last two years, owns a RQS of 9.955 and is averaging 9.938 in her last four meets. Lee also ranks 11th in the nation on beam.             

Macy Makes Mighty Comeback 

After sitting out over a year with a torn rotator cuff and having her comeback delayed this year due to a rare eye condition (VKH syndrome) that caused temporary blindness, redshirt freshman Macy Toronjo completed her comeback on Feb. 20. Toronjo made the competition lineup for the first time in her career and scored 9.9 on floor exercise to tie for first place. She improved her score a few days later on Feb. 25, earning a 9.925 to place third. She came close to perfection on Mar. 12, earning a 10 from one judge and a 9.9 from the other for a final score of 9.95. Toronjo has three 9.9+ scores in her four meets.    

In the Rankings

UCLA has moved up to No. 3 in the nation with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 197.500. UCLA is second on bars, third on beam, sixth on floor and seventh on vault. Kyla Ross is ranked No. 1 on bars for the third-straight week and is also Top 20 on her other two events, ranking 10th on beam and tied for 16th on vault.  Madison Kocian ranks fifth in the all-around, tied for ninth on floor, and tied for 20th on beam. UCLA is 1-2 on bars - No. 1 Ross and No. 2 (tied) Christine Peng-Peng Lee. On beam, four Bruins are in the Top 20 - No. 3 Katelyn Ohashi, No. 10 Ross, No. 11 Lee, No. 20 Kocian. Hallie Mossett moved into the Top 20 on floor, checking in at No. 18. National rankings are based on Regional Qualifying Score, which takes the team’s Top 3 away scores plus three other scores, drops the high and averages the remaining five scores.  


UCLA has scored 49+ on vault and bars in every meet this season. Dating back to last year, the Bruins have gone 49+ on vault in 11 straight meets and on bars in 12 straight meets … UCLA has scored 49+ on beam in its last nine meets … Mikaela Gerber has a streak of 33 consecutive hit routines dating back to 2015. She hit all 19 of her routines last year, including 14 as the leadoff on beam … Sonya Meraz has competed in 34-straight meets, and JaNay Honest has competed in 24-straight … Madison Kocian competed on 24 consecutive events, going all-around in the first six meets before being held to just bars and beam at the Bruins’ tri-meet on Feb. 20.  

Lee Nominated for AAI Award

Christine Peng-Peng Lee has been selected as a nominee for the AAI Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top senior gymnast. Lee ranks No. 2 in the nation on the uneven bars and has a team-high seven uneven bars wins this year, along with two perfect 10s. On balance beam, she ranks 11th in the nation and owns a season and career-high of 9.975.              

Looking Ahead

UCLA will compete at the NCAA Regionals on Apr. 1. Regional assignments will be announced on Monday.       

No. 1 in Social Media Followers

UCLA Gymnastics has the largest social media followings in all of women’s collegiate sports, ranking No. 1 across all women’s sports in combined likes/followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a total that surpasses 285,000. The Bruins rank first among all NCAA gymnastics teams on both Instagram (130k) and Facebook (137k) and third on Twitter (17.9k). Among all UCLA teams, gymnastics ranks first on Instagram and Facebook, and UCLA Gymnastics is the most followed Instagram team account in any sport in the Pac-12 and the most followed collegiate women’s team in the nation. Follow the Bruins at @UCLAGymnastics on Instagram and Twitter and on Facebook at facebook.com/uclagymnastics. The team’s Snapchat name is also uclagymnastics.    

Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:18

Aaron Holiday Ready To Go

UCLA sophomore guard, Aaron Holiday, also known as, the best sixth man in college basketball, met with a mass of media to talk about the coming NCAA Tournament and more. Enjoy!

This is available only for our subscribers. Please click here to become a Premium Bruin Bru Member and get full access to all of our EXCLUSIVE content including the Bru Room Live Sports Chat.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:01

Steve Alford Weekly Presser

UCLA hoops coach, Steve Alford met with a packed house of media for his weekly presser. Of course the coming tournament was a main topic. Alford also talked what a difference a year makes. Last year the Bruins missed the tournament and now they are included with the teams that can win it all. Enjoy!

This is available only for our subscribers. Please click here to become a Premium Bruin Bru Member and get full access to all of our EXCLUSIVE content including the Bru Room Live Sports Chat.

UCLA senior guard, Isaac Hamilton met with the Bruin beat media prior to the Pac 12 Conference. Hamilton talks about how quickly the time as gone, missing a season because he wanted to play for UCLA and more. Enjoy!

This is available only for our subscribers. Please click here to become a Premium Bruin Bru Member and get full access to all of our EXCLUSIVE content including the Bru Room Live Sports Chat.