UCLA: One-on-one

In transition with Norman Powell

April, 27, 2011
Caught up with incoming freshman guard Norman Powell (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) over the weekend. Powell is Ben Howland's only high school signee for the class of 2011. He is expected to compete for the void left by Malcolm Lee's departure earlier this month.

How did you fare in the San Diego County All Star Game Dunk Contest on Saturday?

Norman Powell: I won the whole thing. In the second round I dunked over one of my teammates, Kevin Smith, and then I did a between-the-legs at the end.

A good way to cap your high school career, I'm sure. What are your plans moving forward?

My first official day [at UCLA], from talking to the coaches, will be June 19th. I should be on campus earlier to move my stuff in, but I think that will be my first official day. Really, what I've been focusing on since my season ended has been working on my handles, trying to get my dribbling skills right. I'm working on attacking the bucket and getting my shot to go down on a consistent basis, a quicker release.

You won the CIF State title as a junior but couldn't get to Sacramento this year. How disappointing was that?

Really, at first I couldn't believe it. But with my performance [missed nine of 10 attempts from beyond the arc] it just wasn't our night. I was taking shots I usually take in a game, they just weren't falling. When I noticed that I tried to get it going to the bucket. It just wasn't my night.

How tough was it to shoot with that Galen Center backdrop?

It was pretty tough, but it was nothing we hadn't seen before. We won at Galen the year before. I was ready for it, I was just off.

UCLA received some bad news when Malcolm Lee hired an agent earlier this month, but it's a bit of good news for your playing time. What was your reaction when you heard about Lee's decision?

I was happy for him because it's a good time for him and his family. But I was also kind of mad because I wanted to compete with him. I wanted him to show me the ropes of being that guard everyone looks to to be aggressive, to be that defensive stopper.

But with him gone, it does open up a spot maybe for me to start. I'm really excited and hopefully I'll be able to live up to everybody's expectations, maybe exceed those expectations. I can't wait to do my part on that team.

There's some uncertainty with two starters now gone. Where do you want to play? The two? The three?

I really want to start right away and contribute to the team offensively and defensively. I feel like I can go in there as a freshman and be one of the go-to guys. I want to be the guy that gets the big bucket in the game or that big stop. I'm looking forward to making an immediate impact.

I'm focused on any position. Wherever you put me, I'm going to play to the best of my abilities. Whether that's the two, the three or the one -- I'll play any position that will help us win.

I remember seeing you at Pauley Pavilion a few times last season. What was your feeling watching that team?

Being at their games was great. The crowd was chanting my name, which made me feel like they're looking forward to me coming in next year. I picture myself on that court playing with those guys. Heading up there and talking to guys like Lazeric Jones, Joshua Smith -- they're real cool. They're planning on showing me around when I go up there for my official visit in May. They're the two guys I got close to.

Did you have the chance to watch them play in the NCAA Tournament?

Yeah, I watched both games. It was a tough loss for them.

What do you think went wrong?

I feel like (Tyler) Honeycutt didn't perform like he could have. On the defensive end they really needed him on some plays but he seemed lost.

You obviously weren't there but did those losses make you a little angry?

That fired me up. I wanted them to go far. They were underdogs going in there. People were saying, "UCLA is a good team, but they're inconsistent." Looking forward to next year, with me going in there it's like, "OK, we lost in the second round, now let's do better than that, let's push ourselves." Getting to the second round isn't good enough. We have to do better and prove everybody wrong. We have to keep excelling as a team. We're trying to bring back that tradition UCLA once had with John Wooden.

Outside the huddle with Rahim Moore

April, 25, 2011
Caught up with former UCLA safety Rahim Moore over the weekend to talk about the upcoming NFL Draft. Moore is the top-rated safety prospect, according to ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. The first round of the NFL Draft begins Thursday at 5 p.m. PT.

How hectic have the last few months been for you?

Rahim Moore: It's definitely different than how it was coming out of high school. I don't have all of the distractions. I have things in order, man. I have the right people in my life. It hasn't been as stressful as other people think.

Coming out of high school, you were the one that chose where you wanted to go. Now it's not up to you, really. What's the uncertainty been like?

That's probably the coolest part because you don't know where you're going. You have to impress (teams) instead of them impressing you. That phase I leave all to God. I put that in his hands because I can't control any of that. The only thing I can control is my hard work, dedication and off-the-field characteristics. All I can control is my behavior, how hard I work and telling these teams that if they pick me up they'll get the same player that Rick Neuheisel got.

Do you have an expectation or feeling of where you'll get drafted?

I've heard from 18th [overall] to 34th, something along that range. But I think I might end up being a late first-rounder. I believe somebody might pick me up. I highly doubt that I'll be a top-15 pick, but I believe my range can be in the 20's to the late first.

You mentioned a few months back that you were hoping to make the trip to New York. Is that still the plan?

Yeah, I'll be in New York.

Know what you're wearing yet?

Should I tell you or should I make it a surprise?

How about a little glimpse of what we can expect?

One thing about these type of events, the best thing you can do is keep it simple. You don't want to do too much. It's not about what you're wearing but who's wearing it. I'm going out there with a nice, simple black suit. I'm going to have a three-piece on with a black vest, a peach shirt with a Miami orange tie and some nice black shoes. I'm going to keep it simple, you know. I'm going to have my mohawk nice and fresh. All-black would look good on anybody, in my opinion.

I'm sure you've been keeping in touch with Akeem Ayers. What's it been like to experience this process together?

It's funny, man. I met that dude my freshman year [of high school]. He's one of the top prospects in the entire draft. That boy, he's just so happy. Akeem just wants to get picked up and get to work. That's the type of guy he is. I don't think he cares about where he's going or what pick. He just wants to be a first-rounder, which he is. It'd be a blessing if me and him were both first-round draft picks because UCLA hasn't had one since [Jaguars tight end] Marcedes Lewis. I think me and Akeem will set the standard.

A lot of people have you as the top safety in this draft. If I'm an NFL general manager, give me your pitch and tell me why I should make you my first-round pick.

If you make Rahim your first-round pick, you won't have to worry about the safety position for the next 10 years. I'm going to be a guy that you won't have to worry about off the field. I'm going to be a guy that will put in a lot of community service. I'm going to be a guy that not only will better myself, but I'm going to make guys around me better. A football player has to be a great locker room guy. I won't be a cancer to the team. I'm going to be a prime example of what hard work and dedication is. I'm going to be 105 percent committed every day. I've been doing this since Pop Warner. I've done it in high school. I've done it in college. I'm not going to get to the NFL and stop. I'm not going to be another statistic where he gets to the NFL and just loses it. I'm not going to lose it.

I don't think I saw you out one time in the three years we went to UCLA together. Not once outside of Spaulding Field or Bruin Walk.

Yeah, man. I believe in The 48 Laws of Power. The less you're seen, the less they can say about you. The more you're seen, the more they can say about you. It's not that I don't go out, but I'm very selective. I don't like going to places where everybody will be. When you're in the public eye you have to watch what you do. People are always watching. At UCLA there were sometimes when I went out but a lot of times I was at Spaulding or at the track running miles. I was down in the film room until midnight. I was in my room praying or doing push ups. I was putting in that extra work, you know. A lot of my teammates would drag me out of the house just to go to BJ's Restaurant.

Any endorsement talks?

I haven't had any, not that I know of. I don't want to speak too soon, but I don't have a lot of interest from people right now. That's fine. I can't knock them. I figure that once I make plays that those things will come. I'm not really focusing on that much because I know I can be a good brand for whatever. I'm just trying to get drafted. I know once that happens, things might start coming my way.

Which team or teams would you love to play for? You must have had a favorite growing up...

Man, I love every team in the NFL. (Laughs) Any team that picks me up will be my favorite team of all time. But, really, I grew up being a Buccaneers fans. I loved Warren Sapp, Shawn Lynch, Simeon Rice, Ronde Barber. Man, those were my favorite players growing up. They were the reason why I wanted to play defense. Derrick Brooks is one of my favorite linebackers. I always watched the Cowboys. Who's not a Cowboys fan? They had some great players -- Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin. Those guys were the show. I grew up watching the Steelers and Rod Woodson. Lots of teams. But whoever takes me will be my favorite, no doubt.

Your name gets called on Thursday. How will you express your joy?

Honestly, no lie, I might fall out. No lie, someone better have a stretcher right by my table. I'm going to think back on everything growing up, people that told me I wouldn't be anything in life. Some of my teachers would tell me I would be another statistic coming out of Los Angeles. Some said I was too small or too skinny to play this game. I'm going to think back on those times and how bad those words hurt me. I'm also going to think about the things I've seen growing up. It's always been a dream. Dreams are for real. I'll be speechless, man. I'll be speechless.

Video: In the huddle with Courtney Viney

April, 18, 2011
Caught up with senior cornerback Courtney Viney following UCLA's scrimmage Sunday. He talked about his new self-given nickname, his role in the secondary and his expectations for next season:

Video: In the huddle with Ricky Marvray

April, 11, 2011
Caught up with redshirt sophomore Ricky Marvray following UCLA's scrimmage on Saturday. He talked about his touchdown reception, his comfort with quarterback Richard Brehaut and the strides the receivers have made since last season:

Malcolm Lee reflects on Pauley memories

February, 26, 2011

Video: Smith talks after beating St. John's

February, 8, 2011
Caught up with UCLA freshman center Joshua Smith following the Bruins' win against St. John's on Saturday. He talks dunking, coming off the bench and UCLA's maturation in this brief one-on-one:

Video: Richard Brehaut, the baseball player

February, 6, 2011

The next Russell Westbrook?

January, 25, 2011
That's what UCLA signee Norman Powell (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) wants to become -- and something coach Ben Howland wouldn't have an issue with.

Hear what the guard had to say following the California Elite Showcase in this video:

Outside the huddle with Rahim Moore

January, 7, 2011
Caught up with two-time All-American safety Rahim Moore, who declared for the NFL Draft today. He leaves Westwood at No. 4 on the school's all-time list for interceptions with 14. Here's what he had to say:

Obviously today is a memorable day for you. But how disappointing is it to leave UCLA without having the success you had hoped for?

[+] EnlargeRahim Moore
AP Photo/Chris CarlsonConsidered one of the best safeties in the country, Rahim Moore declared for early entry into the NFL draft.
Moore: Yeah, it's disappointing in a way because I love to win and we all do at UCLA. When you lose you feel so bad. And especially for me when I lose I can't sleep for nothing. When we did come up with a win I ended up having the best sleep ever. But I love UCLA no matter the conditions. I went through it all here but embraced it, came to work hard each and every day and love my teammates from the bottom of my heart.

How difficult is it grasp that you won't be coming out of the Rose Bowl tunnel anymore? You probably would have received the loudest ovation at next year's Senior Day...

Moore: After the last game of the season [against USC], man, I walked off the field differently than I normally do. I was mad that we lost, but as I was walking I told myself, "Rahim, this is your decision to make. This might be the last time you're walking on these grounds as a player."

I didn't know what to do, man, because I was shocked to be in this situation. I never planned on this type of life. I prayed and put this in God's hands and talked to my family. I told myself, "You have a chance to fulfill your dreams of 20 years. Why not go ahead and do it?" I'm not going to the NFL for the money or the fame, I'm going for a career. That's something I've been dying for since I've been living, since I first saw a football. I felt like it was time for me to go.

You were one of the most passionate collegiate players I've had a chance to talk to. Are you comfortable knowing you've played your last collegiate game?

Moore: I'm never comfortable. I don't believe in getting too comfortable with stuff like that. The only thing I can think of is that I wanted to win more games for UCLA. We were up and down sometimes and I welcomed all that. I never pointed the finger at anybody, I'm a team player. Right when I was getting dressed for the USC game, I was looking at everybody else like, "Man, this might be my last time. I might be putting on a different uniform next year." It was kind of scary. I was crying before the game like I always do; they were happy tears. As I was leaving the field I was doing the same thing.

What information did you gather when you were asking others about your draft stock?

Moore: I listened to what people said but I went on my heart and what I felt. I felt that it was time for me to move on.

What are your immediate plans going forward?

Moore: I want to be at the combine [starting Feb. 23] so I can go out there and show the scouts what I can do. I'll definitely have a Pro Day once all that stuff is worked out.

Special plans for draft day?

Moore: I would love to be in New York. That's always been something I've wanted to do, so hopefully I'll get a chance to do that. That would be a blessing.

Dietrich Riley lowers the boom

November, 9, 2010

And if you haven't seen what Dietrich Riley is talking about, do yourself a favor and click here.

QB Richard Brehaut takes off ...

November, 8, 2010

Who says Richard Brehaut can't tuck the ball and run?

The sophomore used UCLA's first offensive drive Saturday to show he's more than just a passer, amassing 45 rushing yards on four carries -- the last seven yards resulting in a touchdown.

He finished with a net of 61 yards -- or 86 if we eliminate the 25 he lost on three sacks.

Kevin Prince, who is out for the season, has always been pegged as the superior runner. But maybe the gap isn't as wide as many thought. Could Brehaut use his legs to dethrone Prince as starter?

In the huddle with Jordan Zumwalt

November, 3, 2010

One-on-one with Lazeric Jones

October, 25, 2010
Junior transfer Lazeric Jones spoke about coming from John A. Logan College (Illinois), his summer workouts and competing for the starting point guard spot.

One-on-one with Tyler Honeycutt

October, 15, 2010
Tyler Honeycutt spoke at UCLA's Media Day about being named to the preseason John R. Wooden Award watch list, how the team's youth might be a good thing and the improvements he's made.

Reeves Nelson adds jumper, new ink

October, 14, 2010
Reeves Nelson spent a lot of time in the paint last season, drawing a bruise here, a black eye there.

But with the arrival of highly touted freshman center Joshua Smith, Nelson's role figures to change this year. He expects to play on the wings, a spot he spent his entire high school career at.

"Last year I just kind of did what I had to do to help the team out," Nelson said Wednesday during UCLA's media day inside Pauley Pavilion. "This year I'll be going back to my natural position."

As a result, he has worked extensively on his perimeter shooting.

Take a look below, as Nelson talks more about his work, his thoughts on the 2010 season and some new tattoos.



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