It’s the End of the Innocence for Senior Mata-Real, and no one has played more like a Desperado than Lorenzo, refusing to Take It Easy, and soaring like an Eagle to two Final Fours while living Life in the Fast Lane
Today is Seniors Day at Pauley Pavilion, so Lorenzo Mata-Real will be making his final appearance on John and Nell Wooden Court. And John Wooden would probably be the first person to tell you that Mata-Real exemplifies the qualities that Wooden used to look for in his young men: Perseverance, grittiness, unselfishness, enthusiasm, positivity, and a work ethic beyond compare.
All these qualities warrant a celebration — of a College Career complete with a remarkable comeback from devastating injury, and two Final Fours (going on three). And his jovial “Tequila Sunrise” personality refused to be a “Victim of Love” when the Freshman Kevin Love came in as “The New Kid in Town,” and immediately stole Lorenzo’s Starting Center position. Mata-Real kept a completely positive attitude, and continued to contribute for “The Long Run” as a valuable Reserve. And “One of These Nights,” he could be the difference in advancing or going home early.
And on Thursday, when he wasn’t in the game, he was working his ass off as a Cheerleader, pumping up the crowd, which then spurred the Bruins on to their incredible come-from-behind victory over Stanford. And that victory made Mata-Real a 3-Time Pac-10 Champ. It’s no accident that Lorenzo’s teams have exhibited great moxie, chemistry, and GUTS — Lorenzo is the HEART that never stops pumping the blue and gold lifeblood through the Bruins’ veins.
After the game on Thursday, Coach Ben Howland practically DEMANDED that Bruins fans give Mata-Real an emotional send-off that rivals the loudest cheers of the entire year, and we are hoping that you oblige, like fans at another Eagles Farewell Reunion Concert when they go into “Hotel California.”
And speaking of Classics, and Prisoners of our own device, Saturday is also your last chance to meet and greet the UCLA Spirit Squad in person before the game. [“We haven’t had that Spirit here since 19-69.”] If you like these photos, you will be absolutely blown away by how amazing the Squadmembers look in person, and how friendly and down-to-earth they are. With every game and every meeting, we get more and more impressed. If you don’t come to the bookstore today, you’ll never know what you are missing. Even our beloved close-ups just can’t do justice to this group of quality people.
[Note: We ARE aware of the trojan Football Recruit who just got busted. However, we are also aware of the former Bruin Basketball great who just ran into trouble, so the Recruit is going to get a free pass right now, at least until more information is released.
Below are 27 photos from Thursday night. Mouse your cursor over the photos to see the hidden captions, and click on the photos to enlarge them. Please enjoy them responsibly, and look for more photos in the days following the Cal game.