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Former Bruins shortstop Brandon Crawford agrees to $3.175-million contract

Former UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford and the San Francisco Giants avoided arbitration Tuesday after agreeing to a one-year contract worth more than $3.1 million.

Crawford, who made $560,000 last season, was asking for $3.95 million in his first year of arbitration, but the Giants proposed a $2.4-million counter. The two sides agreed to meet at the midpoint of $3,175,000.

A .242 career hitter with 26 home runs and 178 runs batted in, Crawford had his best offensive season last year. He batted .246 with 20 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs and 69 RBIs and helped the Giants win their second World Series in his three seasons as the starting shortstop.

In the World Series, Crawford hit .304 and drove in four runs, including one in the Giants' title-clinching 3-2 victory in Game 7. He also hit a grand slam in the National League wild-card game to help the Giants defeat the Pirates.

Crawford was drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round of the 2008 amateur draft after being a three-year...

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Ex-Bruin Zach LaVine to compete in NBA slam-dunk event

Former UCLA guard Zach LaVine posted an incredible, though unofficial, 46-inch vertical leap before he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

He'll need every bit of that lift Feb. 14 when he competes in the slam dunk competition during All-Star weekend  at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The 6-foot-5 LaVine will be joined by his Bucks teammate, forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Orlando guard Victor Oladipo and Brooklyn center Mason Plumlee, competing in his home arena.

LaVine is the only rookie of the group, though Antetokounmpo, Oladipo and Plumee all have only one year of NBA of experience.

LaVine is averaging eight points with 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 rebounds in 22.8 minutes for the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo, 6 feet 11,  has improved on his rookie numbers and is averaging 11.4 points with 6.1 rebounds.

Oladipo. 6 feet 4 is the Magic's third-leading scorer with 16.5 points and leads the team with 1.6 steals a  game.

The 6-11 Plumlee has taken over...

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UCLA freshman Jonah Bolden cleared to practice by NCAA

UCLA freshman Jonah Bolden has been cleared by the NCAA to begin practicing with the Bruins, the team announced. Bolden had been ineligible to play or practice with the team after the NCAA ruled him a partial-qualifier before the season. Bolden will still be unable to play this season.

Bolden, who can play guard or forward, was a consensus four-star recruit who could have added needed depth to UCLA’s roster this season. Bolden will be a sophomore next season and will have three more years of eligibility, though he can petition the NCAA for a fourth year.

The eligibility issues stem from Bolden’s senior season in high school. Bolden, who is from Australia, went to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas for his senior year. He stayed at Findlay until December, when he left for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.

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Former UCLA player, coach Ray Nagel dies

Former UCLA player Ray Nagel has died, according to the University of Iowa. He was 87.

Nagel was the head coach at Utah (1958-65) and Iowa (1966-70), but his college career began at UCLA. He played for the Bruins from 1946-49. He threw for 969 yards in 1948 and shifted to tailback in 1949, Red Sanders’ first season as coach. Nagel gained 84 yards rushing and threw for 230 yards that season. He also had a team-high three interceptions as a defensive back.

After finishing his playing career at UCLA, Nagel stayed on as the freshman team’s coach. He was a varsity assistant in 1951 and 1952. He had a 58-71-3 record.

Nagel played for the Chicago Cardinals in 1953. He also served as athletic director at Washington State and Hawaii, as well as being the executive vice president of the Rams and executive director of the Hula Bowl.

He was inducted into the National Assn. of Collegiate Directors of Athletics hall of fame in 2006.

Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes

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Three UCLA players among top 4 picks in women's soccer draft

Three UCLA players were taken in the first four picks of Friday's National Women's Soccer League draft.

University of Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian was the top overall selection, going to the Houston Dash. But Bruin midfielder Sarah Killion went to New Jersey's Sky Blue FC with the No. 2 pick while teammates Abigail Dahlkemper, a defender, and Samantha Mewis, a midfielder, both went to the Western New York Flash with the next two picks.

Brian, a two-time winner of the Hermann Trophy -- college soccer's version of football's Heisman award -- is in camp with the U.S. women's national team as is Mewis, an All-American and winner of the Honda award.

A day earlier UCLA midfielder Leo Stolz, winner of the men's Hermann Trophy, was drafted by the New York Red Bulls with the 18th pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Three other players from Southern California colleges were also selected: UC Riverside defender Otis Earle went to FC Dallas with the 15th pick while Cal State Northridge...

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UCLA defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy bolts to NFL

Ellis McCarthy, a reserve defensive lineman for UCLA, declared for the NFL draft.

McCarthy made the surprising announcement on Twitter on Tuesday evening. He spent three seasons at UCLA, during which he battled weight problems and knee injuries.

He has had arthroscopic surgery on both knees.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound McCarthy was a backup nose tackle who also played defensive end at times. He had 21 tackles and three sacks this season.

Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes

 

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