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Compiling five off-the-beaten-path storylines of Arizona’s game at UCLA while wondering if Lee Corso will don the Wilbur the Wildcat mascot hat or pull a fast one and put on the Bruin one instead. Either way, a comedic bit that never loses its appeal …
JIM MORA DOESN’T SEEK YOUR FRIENDSHIP
UCLA coach Jim Mora does not care if you like him or not, unless you are a recruit’s parent.
That’s the gist of what you get from those who cover the team and are close to the fourth-year Bruins coach.
When UCLA recently kept passing the ball in the last minute of a rout over UNLV, a reporter questioned Mora’s motives.
A host of a sports talk show at the ESPN radio affiliate in Las Vegas said he saw how upset UNLV coach Tony Sanchez was about Mora’s late-game decision despite the Bruins leading 37-3. He said he read Sanchez’s lips and caught him saying that Mora is a “a-hole”.
Tevita Halalilo, a freshman offensive lineman, suffered a significant ankle injury with less than a minute while UCLA kept running its uptempo offense. Halalilo was carted off the field with his right leg in a splint.
“I can’t believe you’re being critical of it. If you’re being critical of it, you need to readjust your thinking,” Mora told the reporter. “What do you want us to do, take a knee and not run plays? Get penalized?”
Mora talked about Nick Pasquale, a walk-on receiver who died tragically two years ago when struck by a car. He appeared in his only game as a UCLA player the previous night.
“I learned a valuable lesson two years ago when Nick Pasquale died,” Mora said. “The lesson is everybody deserves a chance to go out there and play. Nick’s dream was to play in a UCLA game. We got in a position where we put some guys in who hadn’t played a lot and we got Nick in for a game. That is something his family going to cherish forever.”
Is it going too far to bring up Pasquale’s name in this situation? That’s a point to argue. When Pasquale played, the Bruins ran out the clock. It’s admirable to have walk-ons get minutes, but to equate the situation at UNLV with Pasquale’s opportunity is over the top.
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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo: