Colleges: Top UCI player opts out

Mikah Maly-Karros, the best women's basketball player UC Irvine has had in more than a decade, has quit the team, UCI officials confirmed Monday.

Maly-Karros, a 6-foot-1 forward, led the Big West Conference in scoring as a junior last season at 19.5 per game. She also averaged 9.7 rebounds and shot 51.3% from the field.

Maly-Karros missed the final eight games of last season for unspecified reasons, but had been granted an opportunity to rejoin the program for her senior season.

Instead, she has elected not to resume her playing career.

Maly-Karros earned first-team all-conference recognition as a sophomore, when she averaged 20.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in 22 games. She tied the school single-game record with 41 points in a first-round Big West Tournament loss to Cal State Fullerton in March of 2010.

Maly-Karros transferred to UCI from Loyola Marymount.

UCI Coach Molly Goodenbour did not immediately return a phone message Monday.

Add movie star Brad Pitt to the list of those UCI baseball coach Mike Gillespie has impressed with his wit.

Gillespie, who played then-Oakland A's Coach Ken Macha in "Moneyball," which opened Friday, said Pitt, who plays A's General Manager Billy Beane, credited Gillespie with providing one of his biggest on-set laughs.

It came during filming of a scene with Philip Seymour-Hoffman, who plays then-manager Art Howe.

The scene takes place in the clubhouse (at Blair Field in Long Beach) and involves Seymour Hoffman's character soliciting an opinion from Gillespie's character.

After several takes, and a subsequent break, Seymour-Hoffman decided to try to unnerve Gillespie.

"He completely changed his line and it fully baffled me," Gillespie said. "I didn't know what to say, so I said 'I don't know what the hell you're talking about.' The director yells cut and comes running in and I thought he was really mad because I had screwed the deal up. I was really embarrassed and the other guys on the set were chuckling."

Gillespie said during the next break, Pitt approached him and tried to add to the rouse.

"[Pitt] comes up to me all serious and says 'You really screwed us up in there,' Gillespie said. "Now, I'm really embarrassed and I'm starting to sweat and feeling really stupid. Then, [Pitt] starts laughing and tells me he was only kidding. He also said he had never seen anyone react to a nonsensical improv line that way. He said it was one of the funniest thing he's ever seen in all the movies he had done. He said my reaction was awesome."

Gillespie said Jordan Leyland, a junior designated hitter last season, elected to transfer to Azusa Pacific because he wanted a chance to play first base.

Leyland, drafted in the 44th round by Tampa Bay in June, hit .289 with four home runs and 44 runs batted in last season.

The No. 5-ranked UCI men's soccer team (8-1-0), visits No. 8-ranked UC Santa Barbara (6-1-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. Coach George Kuntz's Anteaters open Big West Conference play at home against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The UC Irvine Invitational men's volleyball exhibition tournament, opened Monday at UCI.

The Anteaters continue pool play Tuesday at 5 p.m. (Japan) and Wednesday at 7 (Argentina).

A collection of American players known as Quiksilver is also in the eight-team field. The Quiksilver roster includes former Anteaters Taylor Wilson, Jon Steller and Paul Spittle, as well as Corona del Mar High product Scott Slaughter (formerly of UCSB) and Newport Harbor graduate Ty Tramblie (formerly of Cal State Northridge).

The playoffs are Friday and Saturday.

Twitter: @barryfaulkner5

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