Cool, a coup —  UCLA Basketball goes to school on the Spirit Squad’s success, adding another phenom to the next class

The UCLA Spirit Squad has perennially been the Nation’s Best for a long time now, because they never have to rebuild — they just reLOAD every year, with top-caliber ammunition.  Meanwhile, the UCLA Basketball team has had to rebuild a little recently, after a heralded recruiting class failed to pan out.  But yesterday, Head Coach Ben Howland took an architectural step forward, getting a verbal commitment from one of the Nation’s top recruits for 2012, Kyle Anderson.

Anderson is from back East, so getting him helps dispel rumors that Howland can’t recruit Nationally.  To make matters better, Howland beat out Steve Lavin, amongst others, in luring Anderson to Westwood.  Anderson is 6′ 8″, but so versaltile and athletic that he may play some Point Guard for the Bruins.  That is significant because Howland also gets a lot of grief for not having signed a top Point Guard in several years.  With the verbal of Anderson, Howland and his new staff won’t be hearing any complaints about recruiting for a while… especially if Anderson is joined at UCLA by one of his best friends, Shabazz Muhammad.  Muhammad is the reason why Anderson isn’t the unanimous #1 recruit of his class, as Muhammad gets a lot of those votes.  They have been quoted repeatedly saying that they would love to play together in college, so Muhammad is expected to verbal to UCLA as well, but not until the Spring.

Apparently, Muhammad is waiting for the NBA to finish negotiating an end to the lockout.  The final agreement might allow high school players to skip college and go directly into the Pro Draft, so Muhammad may not go to ANY school.  However, there is also a chance that the new contract may stipulate that players have to spend TWO years in college before joining the NBA — and THAT is what Bruin fans would kill for right now.

Kyle Anderson’s verbal is not the only news about Bruin Basketball Guards named Anderson.  It was announced yesterday that Jerime Anderson has rejoined the team and will be suspended for only two games, the first of which is an exhibition.  Reportedly, Anderson’s theft of a laptop computer is now just a misdemeanor of appropriating LOST property, and trespass.  Anderson gets 300 hours of Community Service, and then the whole charge will be erased.

The only way I can possibly condone this unbelievably lenient treatment of the situation by Howland is if someone else took the computer, and dumped it on Anderson, who just accepted it without verifying the legality of the acquisition.  But it sounds to me like he went into someone else’s place, and snatched the thing.  And if that is the case, I am opposed to Anderson’s acceptance back onto the team.  I think anyone who steals another student’s laptop should be permanently kicked off the team, and thrown out of school.  People who rip off other Bruins should be exiled to U$C where they belong.  It will be VERY difficult for me to support Jerime this season, as a representative of my school.  I hope that Lazeric Jones is an iron man at the Point Guard position, and that Norman Powell, Tyler Lamb, and De’End Parker gobble up all the minutes at the off-Guard position, so that I don’t have to be faced with the moral dilemma of rooting for a trojan in Bruin clothing.  I wish I could hear EXONERATING details that would allow me to FORGIVE his transgression, but until I do, I will be reluctant to cheer him, and I will be looking forward to the day he graduates and leaves the team.

If I found out that a member of the Spirit Squad broke the law and victimized a fellow Bruin student, I would stop glorifying her with flattering photos on the website, and I don’t care HOW good-looking she was.  Luckily, JA’s past performance doesn’t qualify as good-looking, so selectively supporting the other Bruin Guards over him won’t be that much of a problem.

Now, getting back to reloading, the Spirit Squad has relaoded again this year, incorporating several new members into both the Dance Team and the Cheer Squad.  I’ve met only one of them (Kirsten of the Cheer Squad) so far, but she was everything that you’d want a Bruin Cheerleader to be:  Beautiful, intelligent, enthusiastic, and down-to-earth.  Based on Mollie’s track record of selection savvy, I can only assume that the rest of the new girls are equally deserving of their new positions on the Squad.

Below are 22 brand new photos from Saturday, featuring brand new members of the Spirit Squad exclusively.  I hope I got all their names right, but if I made a mistake, I hope one of the Moms will correct me right away so I can fix it.