UCLA Men's Hoops to Open at San Diego State
LOS ANGELES – UCLA is scheduled to open the 2020-21 men's basketball season at San Diego State on Wednesday evening. This will mark the Bruins' first meeting against San Diego State since Dec. 1, 2012, when the two schools faced off in a non-conference tilt at the Honda Center in Anaheim (as part of that season's John R. Wooden Classic). SDSU defeated UCLA that evening, 78-69. UCLA last opened its season with a true road contest on Nov. 24, 1985, losing at No. 2-ranked North Carolina, 107-70.
This will mark the latest start to a UCLA men's basketball season since the 2003-04 campaign. That season, UCLA edged Vermont (68-67) on Nov. 29, 2003, in Pauley Pavilion in the first game with former head coach Ben Howland at the helm.
SERIES AGAINST THE AZTECS
UCLA has compiled a 15-6 all-time record against San Diego State. In the most recent meeting in Anaheim (Dec. 1, 2012), Jamaal Franklin scored a team-leading 28 points for SDSU, while Jordan Adams tallied a team-best 23 points for the Bruins. San Diego State won the game, 78-69. Prior to that contest, UCLA had not faced the Aztecs since Dec. 14, 1991. In that game back in 1991, Tracy Murray tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds in UCLA's 84-64 victory.
Scheduled to face Pepperdine this Friday afternoon, UCLA has recorded a 19-4 all-time record against the Waves. The Bruins last faced Pepperdine on Nov. 19, 2015, securing an 81-67 win over the Waves in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA has won its last five contests against Pepperdine. The Waves last defeated UCLA on Nov. 28, 2001, registering an 85-78 victory against the Bruins in UCLA's home-opening game in Pauley Pavilion (after the Maui Invitational).
WEDNESDAY'S GAME INFORMATION
Venue: Viejas Arena (San Diego)
Tipoff Time: 7:35 p.m. (PT)
Television: CBS Sports Network
TV Talent: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Steve Lappas (analyst)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network): AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS Radio, XM Radio Channels: Ch. 134, Ch. 198
SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 960
WHO'S BACK AT UCLA?
The Bruins have returned eight of their primary 10 contributors from last season's team. All five starters from the second half of last season have returned (Tyger Campbell, David Singleton, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Chris Smith and Jalen Hill). Also returning for the Bruins are Cody Riley, Jules Bernard and Jake Kyman, as well as Kenneth Nwuba, who took a redshirt year in 2019-20. UCLA has added sophomore Johnny Juzang (transfer from the University of Kentucky) and freshmen Jaylen Clark and Logan Cremonesi. In all, UCLA has returned 88.8% of its total scoring output from last season.
ABOUT CHRIS SMITH
Senior guard Chris Smith enters the 2020-21 season as the Bruins' most experienced player. He has played in all 97 games for UCLA the past three seasons, averaging 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Last season, Smith earned first-team All-Pac-12 acclaim, having led the Bruins in scoring (13.1 ppg). He has become the first UCLA player to secure first-team all-league honors in a season (2019-20) and return the next year, since Reeves Nelson in the fall of 2011 (Nelson was a first-team selection in 2010-11, returned in the fall of 2011 and was dismissed from the team in Dec. 2011).
Chris Smith was named a preseason first-team All-Pac-12 selection, as announced by the league office. Bruins' sophomore guard Tyger Campbell was listed as one of five preseason second-team all-league selections. Smith, who turns 21 in December, was the youngest Pac-12 player during his freshman season (2017-18).
NOTES ON THE BRUINS
Last season, UCLA went 18-1 when limited the opposition to 73 points or fewer (the loss was at USC on March 7) … UCLA has returned 86.2% of its total rebounding production and 91.3% of its total assists from last year … the Bruins won 11 of their final 14 games last season, limiting the opposition to 64.7 points per game in that span … last season, UCLA led all Pac-12 teams in road wins (5) in Pac-12 action (Bruins went 5-4 in nine league road games) … including transfer Johnny Juzang, UCLA has nine players who have scored at least 10 points in a college game … the Bruins lead the Pac-12 in most returning 3-point production – 87.6% of the team's 3-point shooting returns … UCLA brings back six players who have logged at least 19 career starts (Jalen Hill leads that group with 40 starts) … nine players on the roster have competed in at least 26 collegiate games (Chris Smith leads that group with 97 games).
BRUINS IN SAN DIEGO
UCLA is scheduled to play its first games in San Diego since 2014. That season, the Bruins secured the NCAA Tournament's No. 4 seed and defeated No. 13-seed Tulsa (76-59) and No. 12-seed Stephen F. Austin (77-60) at SDSU's Viejas Arena. Prior to 2014, the Bruins had not played in San Diego since the first two rounds of the 2006 NCAA Tournament (UCLA defeated Belmont and Alabama in those games). San Diego also marks the city in which legendary head coach John Wooden coached his final game with the Bruins (92-85 victory over Kentucky in the 1975 NCAA Championship game).
CALLING SAN DIEGO HOME
Freshman forward Logan Cremonesi (Mater Dei High School) hails from nearby Oceanside, Calif., just 38 miles north of San Diego. Other recent UCLA players who have called San Diego home have included Jaylen Hands (2018-19), TJ Leaf (2017) and Norman Powell (2012-15).
GLANCING AT THE ROSTER
UCLA's roster features 13 student-athletes, including 10 players who were on the team last season. The Bruins have returned eight of 10 players who competed in the bulk of the team's games last season (plus returning redshirt sophomore Kenneth Nwuba, a 6-foot-9 forward from Lagos, Nigeria). UCLA's incoming players include sophomore Johnny Juzang (transferred from the University of Kentucky) and freshmen Jaylen Clark (Etiwanda High School) and Logan Cremonesi (Mater Dei High School). All eight of those primary contributors, back from last season, played in at least 26 games for UCLA.
Sophomore guard Tyger Campbell led all Pac-12 players in assist-turnover ratio last season (2.79-to-1) and ranked third in the league in assists per game (5.0). He tallied at least 10 assists in two games, including a season-best 14 assists (and three turnovers) in a victory against Arizona State (Feb. 27). In the game prior, Campbell had 11 assists (and just one turnover) in UCLA's 70-63 win at No. 18 Colorado. Campell's season-high 14 assists in the win over ASU marked the most single-game assists by a UCLA freshman, tied with Lonzo Ball's 14-assist effort against Washington State (March 4, 2017).
Senior guard Chris Smith scored a career-high 30 points last season in a 72-68 victory at home against Colorado (Jan. 30, 2020. The 6-foot-9 guard became UCLA's first player with at least 30 points in a game since Kris Wilkes finished with 34 points in a win over Arizona on Jan. 26, 2019. That marked the first game in his career in which he had scored at least 25 points. Smith, who scored in double figures in three games as a freshman and 10 contests as a sophomore, did not score at least 20 points in a game until the fourth game last season (20 points, vs. Southern Utah on Nov. 18, 2019).
The Bruins bring back a pair of redshirt juniors in the frontcourt with Jalen Hill and Cody Riley. As a sophomore last season, Hill averaged 9.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, totaling four double-doubles and securing honorable mention Pac-12 All-Defensive Team accolades. Riley averaged 8.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and scored in double figures in seven of the final nine games. He totaled 19 points in a victory over Washington State (Feb. 13, 2020), scoring 11 points in the overtime sessions. Both Hill (54.4 FG pct.) and Riley (50.1 FG pct.) have shot over 50 percent from the field in their careers.
AN "ALL-GLUE" GUY
Heralded by college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein (CBS Sports) as one of the game's premier "all-glue" guys, sophomore Jaime Jaquez Jr. averaged 8.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in all 31 contests. Jaquez, who did not enter UCLA's starting lineup until the eighth game of the season, scored in double figures in 14 contests as a freshman. He totaled 65 minutes of playing time through UCLA's first six games, but concluded the season having led the team in most minutes per game (30.9) in 18 Pac-12 contests. Jaquez shot 45.4 percent from the field and made 76.1 percent of his free throw attempts (54-of-71).
SINGLETON FROM 3-POINT DISTANCE
Junior guard David Singleton, who starred at nearby Bishop Montgomery High School (Torrance, Calif.), has entered the 2020-21 campaign ranking No. 7 on UCLA's all-time 3-point percentage list. Singleton has made 41.3 percent of his total 3-point attempts (69 of 167). As a freshman in 2018-19, Singleton ranked second in the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting percentage (46.7%, connecting on 35 of 75 attempts). Last season, Singleton averaged 4.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, making 34.5 percent of his total shot attempts and 37.0 percent of his 3-point attempts.
SHOWING OFF SOME RANGE
Sophomore Jake Kyman established himself as one of the Pac-12's most accurate 3-point shooters. A former standout at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Orange County, Kyman shot a team-leading 40.3 percent from 3-point distance. He connected on 31 of his 77 attempts from long range, logging the fifth-best 3-point percentage of any UCLA freshman (that record belongs to former NBA player Jason Kapono, who shot 47.4% as a freshman in 1999-00). Kyman scored at least 20 points in three games last season and made a UCLA-freshman-record seven 3-pointers at Washington (Jan. 2, 2020).
UCLA was selected first in the preseason Pac-12 media poll, announced by the conference office on Thursday, Nov. 12. Arizona State was picked second, while Oregon was selected third in the preseason poll. UCLA earned nine of 23 first-place votes and earned the top spot in the preseason poll for the first time since 2011-12.
Members of the media have correctly picked the regular-season winner of the conference 17 times in 31 tries, while the winner has been accurately chosen in 19 of the 31 all-time preseason votes. UCLA was selected eighth in the 2019-20 preseason poll and compiled a 12-6 record in league games (finishing second in the Pac-12's regular-season standings).
The Bruins last won the Pac-12 regular-season title in 2012-13. Other previous regular-season titles for UCLA took place in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Bruins finished second in the league in 2013-14 and third in 2016-17. UCLA most recently won the Pac-12 Tournament Championship in 2014 (in Las Vegas, Nev.).