Mata-REAL deserves the Royal Treatment

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.

Lorenzo is always real cordial to the fans, signing more autographs than anyone else (except maybe Aboya).

Forget Global Warming — These Girls could melt the polar ice caps just by walking by.

Let’s make this CRYSTAL clear — Despite rumblings on sc boards, Oregon’s Cheerleaders are NOT the new “Standard” of Excellence, any more than Arizona’s Basketball team is.

Roll up… Roll up…Roll up… See the Shoooooowwwwwwwww!!  Or: Roll up; Roll up for the Mystery Tour.

Hey “Mom” — See what I mean?  Even with bad lighting and bad photography, she still looks great (but this shot isn’t hi-res enough for the album!).

An encore, for one of the most popular fans we’ve ever “accidentally” featured while trying to give Josephine Bruin some love.

“Semi-Pro,” starring Will Ferrell… and Robin Lopez, appHAIRently.

It’s a Lovefest!

Bruins really stuck it out on Thursday night, especially Collison

Darren is AIRIN’

And just to show it wasn’t a fluke, here’s Darren airborne again (Hope he’s wearing a cup)

Does Size Matter?

Once they got out of their own way, the Bruins cut the twins down to size.

Russell’s penetration will be crucial in The Dance.  [BTW - I miss the de facto President of the Russell Westbrook fan club…]

Marco has a pretty good view of this one.

Yup.  We look at him with awe too, Russell.  Now get him to stick around for a while.

NOW — You want to guess again why the Refs gave UCLA the final benefit of the doubt?

And just to show it wasn’t a fluke…  We TOLD you that the Spirit Squad helps the team win!

Our Kristle Ball says that one day we’ll all be saying “I knew her WHEN…”

The “V” on the new uniform psychologically “points” to the belly button (and that pushes OUR buttons)

With THESE Baseline Beauties in front of me, I need to check my baseline heart rate.

These SWEET, SWEET girls are making up for all the Cheerleaders in High School who wouldn’t say hi to me.  [Sidebar:  Vonda Shepherd (from Ally McBeal) was the only Cheerleader (at my Junior High) who WOULD give me the time of day back then, and STILL would]

The best use of a tarp since “Lethal Weapon 2.”  (Okay, that was a plastic “drop cloth” — Remember when the bad guy checks to make sure he isn’t standing on plastic?)

Special thanks to the Triple PhD from Seattle, a nice guy with good bb knowledge, who supplied my vantage point for these shots, and supplied good conversation as well.  Can you believe that these were taken from the TOP Level, hand-held?  One day, I’ll have front row seats, and THOSE photos will be unforgettable.

Not sure if they are clapping or praying, but both were called for on Thursday night.

These new uni’s are already starting to grow on us.

Well, that’s it.  If you didn’t like them, then how could you possibly be reading the hidden caption on the 28th photo?!?  Wouldn’t you have clicked away around #15 or so?



  1. xavier Avatar

    I honestly don’t understand the way the cheerleader thing works. Are the ones in all white dancers and the one being hoisted by the guys more like traditional “cheerleaders”? Is there an A-team and the less prestigious B-team? I’ve wondered the same thing about the Song Girls. How many cheerleaders are there? Just curious.

  2. t-h Avatar

    xavier —

    The Girls in White are the Dance Team, and the Girls in the new, long-sleeved outfits are the Cheerleaders. The Dance Team does choreographed Dance Routines, while the Cheerleaders do acrobatics and pyramids. There is definitely no “A” and “B” distinction. WE show more Dance Team photos, because it’s just harder to catch the acrobatics on camera crisply — The faster tumbles and basket tosses usually lead to blurry results.

    As to how many there are, you can check out their website at, under “Get Involved” and “Spirit.” You can count them for hours.

  3. JP Avatar

    We should definitely have a Senior Day for the Bruin Spirit team also.

    I think this is Kristin’ of the Dance Team’s last home game as well and she has been an excelllent member. I fear this might also be Katie and Elise’s last year, but I’m not positive. I know this is their 2nd year on the squad, but I’m not sure if they are juniors and seniors. But thanks for everything Kristin!!!!!

  4. No Avatar

    Kristin is a Junior. Katie and Elise are Soph