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Men’s basketball holds preseason showcase with scrimmage, layup activities

Junior guard Chris Smith (right) and redshirt senior forward Alex Olesinski (left) were two Bruins participating in the Team Blue and Team Gold scrimmage – as part of the preseason showcase – UCLA basketball held Wednesday. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)

By Sam Connon

Oct. 24, 2019 12:33 a.m.

The Den ran out of free Papa John’s Pizza before the scrimmage even started.

But when coach Mick Cronin took the microphone before tip off at UCLA men’s basketball’s preseason showcase, he promised students there was more pizza on the way.

Pizza, and the chance to see the Bruins take the court for the first time this season.

Cronin split UCLA into two teams for a 20-minute, intersquad scrimmage – Team Blue and Team Gold – in a free event at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday. Team Blue won handily, taking the matchup 47-27.

Heading up Team Gold was redshirt senior guard Prince Ali, freshman guard/forward Jake Kyman, redshirt sophomore forward/center Jalen Hill, redshirt senior forward Alex Olesinski, sophomore forward Kenneth Nwuba, and sophomore guards David Singleton and Russell Stong. Team Blue consisted of junior guard Chris Smith, freshman guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., redshirt freshman guard Tyger Campbell, redshirt sophomore forward Cody Riley, redshirt junior guard Isaac Wulff, sophomore guard Jules Bernard and redshirt freshman forward Shareef O’Neal.

Smith led both teams with 16 points, three of which came on a fast break triple after he blocked Ali at the other end. The junior hit two 3s on the night and swished multiple long jumpers after shooting 28.1% from deep during the 2018-2019 season.

With 5:25 remaining in the game and Team Blue starting to run away with a 33-20 lead, the coaching staff executed a trade that sent O’Neal to Team Gold for Stong. O’Neal dropped five points for Team Blue, while the only scoring he did for Team Gold was two points from the free-throw line.

O’Neal seemed to tweak his ankle going for a rebound after the trade, but he shook it off and stayed in the game. The redshirt freshman did not score for the rest of the night.

Jaquez joined Smith as the only other Bruin in double-digits – notching 10 points of his own – with a strong second-half flush in traffic bringing both the crowd and his teammates to their feet.

Jaquez led the newcomers in scoring, but Kyman beat him in a one-on-one battle after the final buzzer.

The first postgame activity pitted the two freshmen against each other and four UCLA students in a game of musical chairs mixed with layup lines. Both wings made the top three, but after Jaquez accidentally hit Kyman’s ball into Josie Bruin on the baseline and the ball bounced back in bounds, the former failed to make the finals.

Kyman decided to take 30-foot 3-pointers instead of layups in the final round. He made it on his second try, but he still lost to the opposing student.

Smith came back out to the court to try and hit a half-court shot – going 0-of-6 in the process – and Bernard missed his lone attempt as well.

One student was given 30 seconds to one-up the two Bruins, and after his attempt at the buzzer just rimmed out, he was still awarded a flat-screen TV for his efforts.

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Sam Connon | Alumnus
Connon joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2017 and contributed until he graduated in 2021. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2018-2019 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats, while also contributing movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment.
Connon joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2017 and contributed until he graduated in 2021. He was the Sports editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, an assistant Sports editor for the 2018-2019 academic year and spent time on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, cross country, men's golf and women's golf beats, while also contributing movie reviews for Arts & Entertainment.
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