Posted by Connor Pelton on October 19th, 2012
- A judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought forth by current Los Angeles Laker and former UCLA Bruin, Reeves Nelson, on Thursday. Nelson sued Sports Illustrated and writer George Dohrmann after the story, “Not The UCLA Way” ran last March. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy found that the lawsuit infringed on the right to free speech, not to mention Dohrmann had numerous sources to back up the claims made against Nelson. The story cited accounts from Bruins players and staff members who alleged Nelson urinated on players’ clothes and got into numerous fights with teammates, while also mistreating team managers and walk-ons. Nelson was kicked off the UCLA team last December, three months before the story ran.
- With that out of the way, we’re going to designate this “Preview Friday” here at the Pac-12 wing of RTC. We start with a look at the league from CollegeBasketballTalk, who thinks the increased talent brought into the conference this season will lead to a better product and more respect nationally. To narrow down the important stuff, the story gives us 13 impact newcomers to watch, five breakout players, a player of the year, a coach under pressure, and an all-conference team. In the projected standings category, CBT throws us for a loop by slotting UCLA at third behind Arizona and Stanford. Colorado, California, and USC round out the upper half.
- Each preseason there is usually a conference with more coaches on the hot seat than the rest of them, and it comes as no surprise after last year’s awful play that the Pac-12 trumps all of them in 2012-13. Johnny Dawkins. Craig Robinson. Herb Sendek. Even former California head man Ben Braun makes the list. What’s really interesting is that all three coaches have gotten on their hot seats through different circumstances. Not too long ago on The Farm, Stanford was a basketball powerhouse, and the fact that Dawkins hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament in his four seasons there doesn’t sit well with Cardinal fans. That NIT Championship last April? Just means you should take the next step this year. Craig Robinson’s Oregon State Beavers have been somewhat of a bust after winning the CBI in his first season. With four returning starters, Robinson needs to get the Beavs to the NIT this year. And in Tempe, Herb Sendek gave Arizona State fans a taste of victory by winning 20+ games in three consecutive seasons. But just 22 wins over the last two years has his seat scorching going into 2012-13.
- CBSSports national preseason honors list features a pair of UCLA freshmen. Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish named forward Shabazz Muhammad the National Freshman of the Year, a member of the All-First Team roster, and All-Freshman First Team roster. Bruin point guard Kyle Anderson comes in on the fourth team All-American roster and first team All-Freshmen list.
- We end with a terrific Pac-12 Preview, straight from the Jon Rothstein files. Included are five burning questions facing the conference, preseason power rankings, a first team roster, and 10 breakout players, among other things. Be sure to check back throughout the day as we continue Preview Friday with an in-depth Oregon preview and our second burning question of the preseason.